To understand a horses natural instincts for survival, we have to take a more detailed look into their nervous system and brain function:
Lets look at the hierarchy of a horses nervous system responding to a potential threat from THEIR perspective:
Horses are having this response as part of their instinct for survival, not because they want to annoy us or are naughty horses!!!because
More insights about processing and responding from a horses perspective:
In terms of training:
If a horse gets confused or tired (mentally) within training and can't find the answer to what we want him to do, this can activate parts in the brain that activates a stress response ( threat) and the horses nervous system responds with a fight/flight reaction ( bucking, bolting...)
What to do:
We can avoid a stress response if we just PAUSE and reset as soon as we notice the horse starts to tense up or shows resistance and think about OUR communication and about what we are asking the horse to do.
Taking a step back in the difficulty of the task can be helpful too.( training scale)
Maybe our communication/aids were not quite accurate, maybe the horse is not ready for that next step in training etc etc.).
Its on US to help our horses within this world by understanding their perspective, their language. And their responses to a potential stress or stress as a prey animal.
Just like Ray Hunt said:
"People have to learn that whatever the horse does is right. You're the one who got into his life.......he didn't get into yours. It's amazing what the horse will go through to satisfy a human being." - Ray Hunt.
Stay curious and keep learning! Its worth it!
For the love of horses,
I find my inspiration in learning from the work and discoveries from Warwick Schiller, Mark Rashid, Jim Masterson, Dr. Steve Peters, Sarah Schlote and more.
Thanks to them for continuously sharing their insights and studies with us who want to learn more!
Britta Bruns, Invercargill