Helping a Horse Deal with his Fears
Fear is a common factor which is present in the interaction between humans and horses. You can quickly identify fear in the horse who has an instinct for survival and surprisingly this fear is present in the humans who interact with these horses as well. In horsemanship training, is important to be aware that in fact the things that makes a horse scared are the not the same things that makes humans scared. The things that cause fear among humans on the other hand, are usually not the things that cause fear among horses. These two species therefore have different sources of fear. Why are we stating this? Because humans often do not have a clue why horses are so scared. It’s a big puzzle to them why horses seem so fearful without any clear reason to them.
If you want to be successful in your relationship with your horse, you need to have a clear understanding of what makes you fearful in dealing with horses and what makes your horse fearful in dealing with you.
Understanding the Fear of Horses
During horse training, an understanding of the fear of horses must be achieved first and foremost. You need to be aware that horses are prey to many predators such as to lions and other wild animals. Therefore, they have an instinct to flight and survive. During their lifetime, they do nothing else but to secure their lives by running away from things that they think might be harmful to them. Thus, every day, they assess the objects and situations that come to them and label them whether they’re safe or not. Horses are known to have strong memory. This means that they are able to recall well the things that they see, interact with, smell, hear, feel or taste. They use their strong memory faculty to protect their lives from things which have proven to be harmful to them. They then ran away or avoid those situations or things.
When these horses live in the wild, it can only take about a year or a couple of years for them to be able to strongly identify those objects that may cause harm to him. However, when put in an environment with other humans, the process can take longer than usual. So, you need to be extremely patient in helping a horse deal with his fears in their horse training. It can take time for him to get accustomed to the things that trigger his fears. You basically need to earn his trust first.
Without this understanding of what triggers their fears and without building a solid foundation of trust and security, it will be impossible to make these horses follow orders from you. The horse needs to feel completely safe around you. He needs to know that you are his leader and you will not let him get hurt. He needs to know that you will be there to back him up when danger comes and he needs to know that he can trust you when it comes to keeping his life safe. That is good horsemanship program is needed.
Learning to Deal With the Fear of Your Horse
Learning to deal with the fear of your horse works the same way as handling the fear of a child who happens to be fearful of a certain object or situation. If your child expresses fear over a situation for example and you simply dismiss it without acknowledging her feelings and telling her it’s stupid to be scared, your child will continue to have her fear. She will not believe what you tell her.
However, if you deal with your child in an understanding and gentle manner, carefully acknowledging her fear and telling her that it’s okay to be afraid and then letting her know that you are there to look after her, your child will eventually learn how to cope and deal with her fear. Not only that, but she will come to have a deep respect and trust on you as well. She will look up to you as someone who cares for her welfare and someone who makes her feel secure and safe against her fears. This is how you should deal with your fearful horses as well. This is how you can become acknowledged by your horse or group of horses as the leader whom they can trust and look up to.
The fear of horses is something that is not to be taken lightly in horse training. You need to take it seriously because this kind of fear is the only fear from horses that can become dangerous to your life. If you fail to acknowledge and deal with this properly, your own life or the life of your family can be put at risk and this is something that you wouldn’t want to happen. You need to be extremely observant and mindful of the things that trigger his fear and help him cope with that fear. If you carefully observe, almost anything unfamiliar to your horse can trigger his fear. Another horse, an animal like a cat or dog, a loud sound, children, adults and many others are only some of the things that can stimulate his fear. Exposing him to these things as often as possible is the key to breaking his fear. It can become difficult in the beginning but as he gets used to these things, he becomes less fearful and more confident. With your help and guidance through horse training, this process can become much quicker.
Fear is evident among horses through their body language. When they are fearful, their heads are up, their neck are stiff, their feet seems like they’re so ready to run away, muscles are tight and eyes are gazed on a certain direction. It’s almost the very same reactions you see from a human who is afraid.
In conclusion, you should not underestimate the fear of horses. You need to properly handle horses so you can help your horse become more confident and calm in the midst of other objects, humans or animals. If you are able to successfully do this, you should be able to build a harmonious relationship with your horse just as you wished.