Elizabeth and Emily were talking about a documentary they watched on television recently about Icelandic horses in Iceland. There, the horses are turned out onto open pasture for most of the summer months. It would seem they get to live a very natural life, for a few months at least.
I am a Haflinger, and I can remember something similar happening to me when I was very young. I was turned out on the alpine pastures here in Austria too. It is called the Alm auftrieb. Bringing the animals down from the alpine pastures is still celebrated in many parts of Austria
Fortunately for me, I am still able to live outside with my friends and I am still very much in touch with my natural instincts. However, it is a fact that a domesticated horse has no control over its life. Indeed, the modern, stabled horse has no power or choice over its life at all. It is totally dependent on the humans in its life for its survival. This is one of the reasons it is so important for humans to understand our needs. This way many behavioural problems and welfare issues can be avoided.
I have had chance to observe many behavioural problems in humans. Being a horse, I of course live in the moment, but I can see that some humans have real issues with forgiving others, or suffering about some perceived affront. This usually has something to do with not having enough self-confidence or self-esteem in their relationships with others, and that even includes their horses!
It seems to me that humans have a predominant emotion, be it anger, fear or sadness. Some of them are very aggressive, depressed or are worrying all the time. I guess it started with them when they were young and incidents occurring during their lives have multiplied and compounded this predominant emotion many times. Just like a domesticated horse, they seem powerless against these emotions which kick them into survival mode when faced with adversity of any kind.
Unlike the domesticated horse, you as a human can take control of your life. You do have a choice. You can learn to manage your emotional response to the triggers which make you feel angry, sad or fearful. Learning to manage the predominant emotional response and becoming pro-actively in control of how you respond and how you think supports your relationships and helps you control your reactions to what other people say or do. It gives you enormous personal power.
It can also help improve your relationship with your horse. And that is a good thing.
Enjoy your ride.
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