Horses are just that, horses. they think like horses, they behave like horses, and they react like horses. People try to put human emotions into a horse, it just doesn't work like that,horses behave like they have evolved to be. Nor are they like dogs, in their behaviour. They are a different creature entirely. We know this, yet so many people carry on treating them as anything but horses.
Take a dog, they seem to have an instinctive grasp of our emotions, most dogs, will know when we are angry, when we are happy and seem to go to great lengths to please their human. dogs bond with their masters very closely, a study i read somewhere, said that in most cases a dog will bond more strongly with a human than with other dogs. dogs want to work for us, whether on a farm with livestock, going for walks, guarding or my dog will go to the ends of the earth to retrieve any stick thrown for it. Dogs know when they have done something wrong, i.e get caught sneaking food, nipping at an animal or caught somewhere they shouldn't be. Dogs know guilt. You don't usually have to say anything if you catch them at bad behaviour, they give u that guilty look, that shows they know they done wrong and off they slink. This i think is a crucial difference, between two of mans best companions.
A horse has no concept of guilt or remorse. This is important. They don't get a fright and knock you over and then feel remorseful about it. Or turn around to see if your OK after you've fallen off and they have trodden on you. A horse doesnt spook at some insignificant object, then feel bad for upsetting there rider.If you catch a horse in the feed bin does it look up guiltily and try to slink off? No, they usually just carry on gobbling food.They don't have that cognitive ability for guilt or remorse. They live only in the present. there reactions effect them and they give precious little thought to how they effect the rider. You can train them so they learn not to trample their rider when scared, or to stop once their rider parts company, you can condition them to overcome spookiness and you can lock the feed bin. But they are never going to learn guilt or remorse for their actions. Its why when people get pissed off or something goes wrong and they beat the horse up, it doesn't work, the horse doesn't get the message.
If they don't have guilt for past actions then there is no point punishing a horse after an event has occurred. They have already forgotten their actions. THEY CANNOT ASSOCIATE PUNISHMENT after the event has taken place. If a horse bites, you have a little cry and then beat him up, hes not going to get the message. if You stuff things up in front of a judge at a show, take the horse out of the ring and beat it up at the end, it is not going to makes sense to the horse. Giving it a whack on the nose as it goes to bite, it will understand. But if you take your temper out after the horses bad behaviour has happened, your only convincing your horse that your a nut job who wants to eat it.
Stop and think for a second about how you see the world. What range of emotions do you feel? i and most dog owners would say, there dog feels and expresses a similar range. What about your horse? how much do we understand about their emotions? It drives me crazy when people put their feelings on a horse. Its not that horses don't have emotions and feelings, just that they don't plan how they react, nor associate past reactions to our emotions. Don't get me wrong they drive me mad at times,sometimes i would really love to just whack some sense into them but...... Horses are horses, they don't know how much money you spend on them, how much it hurts to be stood on, or how pissed off you are because they recked you show routine. they just react to whatever is happening, be from the rider or from the surroundings. So stop, breathe and think its only a horse.....
Oh and short update on wild ponies. Today they had their first loading and floating lesson. It took a total of ten minutes each to get them on and off the trailer a couple of times. First just leading them up and then backing them off again. Then closing the divider and door behind them. I think this one of the easier things to teach them to be honest. They were both quiet and sensible about the whole thing. The boy checked out everything, sniffing and pawing, then marched straight on. The girl took everything slowly, no sniffing at or pawing but slowly one step at a time until she was standing inside the trailer.
Last week i wormed them again. this time no worms in the end product! ya! Oh and they were both angels to worm again, so no bad memories there. they are both fatter and healthier by the day. They boy is starting to develop and fill out more. all good things. Now if the girl would just have her baby.....