Learning How to Handle Human Fear of Horses in Horsemanship
In horsemanship, if you want to have a successful relationship with a horse, you need not only to understand and learn how to deal with the fear that comes from horses but most importantly, you need to deal with your own fear as well. Horsemen who have been dealing with horses for years have already conquered this fear and thus, they are no longer afraid of horses for they already have knowledge on how to deal with horses well. Newbies on the other hand, are usually scared to death.
There is valid reason for this fear. If you think about it, you could die from a dangerous action of an angry or scared horse. You can fall from horse riding lessons or perhaps be seriously hurt by a horse who initiates physical contact with you thinking that you are just another animal or horse like him. Physical contact is a part of life of horses and they do it among each other. Since they are about of the same sizes, there is no harm involved but when a horse does these physical contacts to you, you can get serious injury and this is what we are trying to avoid.
Where does the fear of humans come from? Humans fear of being hurt by a horse which obviously has an extremely huge size compared to him, either when he is on the ground or when he is in horse riding lessons. Newbies often wonder how experienced horsemen are able to show no fear when being around horses. The good thing is that you can actually learn how not to be afraid of horses. You just need to handle and deal with your emotions and gain a better understanding of what motivates horse behavior.
Horsemanship: Remember that Horses can Mirror your Behavior
In horse training, you certainly need to get rid of your fear because the horse can feel your fear and won’t feel confident or secured being around you if you are too fearful and unsure. Remember that horses can mirror your behavior. You definitely would want to have a confident and calm horse but how can you achieve that if you are too scared yourself?
If some of your horse’s behavior frightens you, you need to identify whether it’s a behavior that is acceptable or unacceptable. Is it something that you can tolerate or not? If it’s not and you deem that its particular behavior is harmful and dangerous to your safety and to your life, in horse training, you need to do something to change the behavior. You need to teach the horse to modify that certain behavior. You must be thinking of inflicting pain and punishment on your horse to make him do it but you certainly need to avoid it as it won’t help and will only do harm instead of aid you. You can do it without the need for punishment.
You just need first to identify what’s causing his behavior. Is he motivated by fear as well? Is he just plainly being disrespectful? Is he under pain and wants your attention or help? Maybe, he is just plainly being playful. Whatever it is, you need to know what the reason behind his behavior is so you can help him change his behavior which is not acceptable to you.
In horse training, to eliminate your fear around horses you need to understand that horses are highly physical animals. They interact with each other through physical contact. It’s their way of living as animals and their way of connecting with others. As long as these physical activities are not directed to you and are not threatening, there is no reason for you to be scared. You just have to let your horses act naturally as they are. Let them move and act the way they normally would. As long as they are not hurting you and you are in a safe physical boundary, then you shouldn’t be scared of them.
If a horse for example attempts to kick or bite you, you need to be alert but at the same time careful not to react aggressively. The horse is most likely acting this way because he thinks you are another being of his kind. He thinks you are a horse just like him. So, you need to establish boundaries in a clear way and establish proper communication with your horse, without hurting him. The best way to react is to stay calm, relaxed and under control. You need to be able to tell your horse that you are his leader and you are not scared of him.
Horsemanship: Avoid Showing Your Fear to Your Horse
To redirect his desire to establish physical contact, you need to redirect his attention to you towards other activities. Give him something else to get busy with. And avoid showing your fear to your horse. Fake your feelings as much as possible. Even when you feel scared inside, you need to show him that you are brave and confident and aren’t scared of anything.
You need to keep in mind that between the two of you, you are not the only one who is scared. Your horse is probably more scared than you are. So, you need to keep your fear under control and not let it get the best out of you. Getting accustomed to being around with your horse is important. Practicing and mastering your groundwork with your horse before you attempt to ride on him is a must.
In horsemanship, you just need to learn how to think like a horse. You need to put yourself in your horse shoes so you will have a better understanding of him. When you have a clear knowledge of what motivates the behavior of horses, it will be easier for you to not be scared of them. More importantly, it will be easier for you to build a healthy relationship with your horse.