Does anyone else dislike the word "disrespect" for horses?
   

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Does anyone else dislike the word "disrespect" for horses?

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        05-09-2014, 10:15 AM
      #1
    Foal
    Does anyone else dislike the word "disrespect" for horses?

    All the time I see posts talking about whether horses "respect" or "disrespect" you. I really dislike this terminology--especially "disrespect," because it invokes such a negative feeling.

    When we, as humans, disrespect people, it is usually a true act of disdain or degradation. It means that we do not consider someone our equal in an emotional, personal sense. After all, I am not equal to my local police (as they are allowed to stop my car when I am speeding) or my boss (who can assign me work I must complete), but I do not call this inequality "disrespect." They respect me, they are simply my superiors. And if my student tells me I need to write him a paper, I don't do it--not because I disrespect him, but because I am his superior. In the human world, "disrespect" is directly connected to putting people down.

    Horses, on the other hand, do what we teach them. If we show ourselves to be total pushovers, then they consider themselves to be our superiors since we have never proven that they are not. My boy doesn't "disrespect me" when I try to get him to move and he refuses. I have simply taught him that I will allow him to get away with this which, in his head, makes him the superior horse--my boss.

    I feel that when we say horses "disrespect us," it makes us feel negatively toward these animals, as if they are purposefully being derisive toward us when, really, they are simply following animal instincts and combining them with the way we've trained them--whether that is us as the boss or them. It's been my experience that this can lead many people to villify their horses, thinking that they must "hate them" or that they are somehow out to get them. This leads to frustration and even subconscious anger toward the animal.

    I myself always try to remind myself that when my horse acts like a jerkwad, it's because I've let him act like a jerkwad before. Or sometimes he's just in a bad mood, but the really bad behavior is because I have LET him think he's my boss and he really believes he's just doing his job as the boss--and now it's MY job to show him that I am the boss. I avoid talking about him being "disrespectful" because this word reminds me of students who tell me to "drop and die" or bosses that talk about me behind my back or the man who I had to turn in for sexual harassment after he wouldn't stop asking to photographs me in my underwear. I don't want that negative association to leak over onto my horse.

    Is anyone else bothered by this or am I just nuts?
    Saranda, stevenson and SueC like this.
         
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        05-09-2014, 10:27 AM
      #2
    Foal
    I've always thought of disrespect, as in 'how dare he/she dis respect me' ....'I am a human therefore always your superior'
    I think it's just the wrong word saying that I've not found a word to describe the right relationship with horse and owner.
    I feel it needs to be a mutual thing, of 'respect ' for each other. And trust, I've found this is more fitting for the horses I've encountered. If they trust you, you're the heard leader, the one they look to when scared and need you. This for me feels better.

    I feel like when I say a horse 'disrespects' me, that I am putting myself above him without proving myself to be a worthy and save heard leader. Humans have a funny way of presuming they're in charge.
    I think the negative feeling you mention, for me, comes from this presumption. And like you say, people should ask themselves why horses are treating them like this.
    And most of the time it's because they haven't asserted themselves as trustworthy
    SueC likes this.
         
        05-09-2014, 10:55 AM
      #3
    Trained
    I presume I am in charge. I presume I get to tell the horse what to do, and that I need to train the horse to agree with my point of view. I see the horse as below me in the decision-making process. Mia sees the geldings in her corral - and she believes it is HER corral - the same way. She will not tolerate their 'disrespect'. I will not tolerate hers. When I set foot in the corral, it becomes MY corral.

    Do I use the term 'disrespect' very often? No. Nor do I use it with humans very often. But Mia takes personal offense when the geldings don't listen to her, and I take it personally when she does not listen to me. However, I prefer to talk of "training" and "obedience" rather than "bond", "trust", "respect", and "disrespect".

    Yesterday, Mia did something she had never done in the 5 1/2 years I've owned her: she flattened the farrier. I was holding her, the farrier & I were talking, and she gave him a shove with her hind leg that sent him sprawling. She then decided maybe she should make a run for it, and nearly knocked me down as she leaped forward. I kept one hand on the lead, managed to spin her around, and then charged into her face. She backed double-time across the corral, turn, and across it again. All the while, I was chewing her out. When I thought she understood my displeasure, we went over to the farrier, who wasn't hurt, and I held her as he guided her leg back on the hoof stand and finished the job.

    I had not failed Mia. In 5.5 years, I had never seen her try to remove her foot from a farrier. Nor was I interested in what Mia thought of the farrier's qualifications. She doesn't get a vote. If I want her to stand still and get a shot or get a foot rasped, that is MY business, not hers. And yes, I was offended that she rejected MY will and decided to knock the farrier over...and nearly knock me over. And I can promise you, if one of the geldings acted that way toward her, she would respond with GREAT offense! If a gelding tried to run her over, she'd make him fear death.

    The geldings are expected to respect Princess Mia. I expect Mia to respect King Bob...and the King's Farrier!
         
        05-09-2014, 11:19 AM
      #4
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DressageCowgirl    
    All the time I see posts talking about whether horses "respect" or "disrespect" you. I really dislike this terminology--especially "disrespect," because it invokes such a negative feeling.

    When we, as humans, disrespect people, it is usually a true act of disdain or degradation. It means that we do not consider someone our equal in an emotional, personal sense. After all, I am not equal to my local police (as they are allowed to stop my car when I am speeding) or my boss (who can assign me work I must complete), but I do not call this inequality "disrespect." They respect me, they are simply my superiors. And if my student tells me I need to write him a paper, I don't do it--not because I disrespect him, but because I am his superior. In the human world, "disrespect" is directly connected to putting people down.

    Horses, on the other hand, do what we teach them. If we show ourselves to be total pushovers, then they consider themselves to be our superiors since we have never proven that they are not. My boy doesn't "disrespect me" when I try to get him to move and he refuses. I have simply taught him that I will allow him to get away with this which, in his head, makes him the superior horse--my boss.

    I feel that when we say horses "disrespect us," it makes us feel negatively toward these animals, as if they are purposefully being derisive toward us when, really, they are simply following animal instincts and combining them with the way we've trained them--whether that is us as the boss or them. It's been my experience that this can lead many people to villify their horses, thinking that they must "hate them" or that they are somehow out to get them. This leads to frustration and even subconscious anger toward the animal.

    I myself always try to remind myself that when my horse acts like a jerkwad, it's because I've let him act like a jerkwad before. Or sometimes he's just in a bad mood, but the really bad behavior is because I have LET him think he's my boss and he really believes he's just doing his job as the boss--and now it's MY job to show him that I am the boss. I avoid talking about him being "disrespectful" because this word reminds me of students who tell me to "f*** off and die" or bosses that talk about me behind my back or the man who I had to turn in for sexual harassment after he wouldn't stop asking to photographs me in my underwear. I don't want that negative association to leak over onto my horse.

    Is anyone else bothered by this or am I just nuts?
    So then what word would you use to describe it?
         
        05-09-2014, 11:25 AM
      #5
    Trained
    I don't give the word a lot of thought or weight. I do, however, expect to teach my horses why I'm their leader and they are not mine. And that includes from the youngest foal to the eldest horse in the pasture. Especially with the foals I don't take "disrespect" seriously, they're testing boundaries and being babies. When my little colt decides to spin his butt toward me and get light in the heels, I give him a real good reason to re-think his position. And I'll do it as many times as it takes. I don't take that as being disrespectful, I take that as a horse learning his boundaries and figuring out who is going to be in charge when he's older. If I fail to educate him NOW it's my fault if he tries to take charge later. If he did that in 5 years, instead of just gently chasing him down and making him let me pet him, I would go after him with a whip and remind him WHY he's never supposed to do those things, but right now I just make him move his feet away from his mother and I stand between them until he allows me to touch and pet him. I give him a scritch and call him "disrepectful baggage" and laugh and walk away.
         
        05-09-2014, 11:26 AM
      #6
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by beau159    
    So then what word would you use to describe it?
    Good question. Disobedience, I suppose. He is disobedient to my herd authority. I feel that horses can disobey, but I don't feel they can disrespect, because I think "respect" involves a level of self awareness that horses do not have. I just don't like to over personify them and let it lead to negative subconscious feelings because I put too many human characteristics on an animal like a horse.
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        05-09-2014, 11:30 AM
      #7
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DressageCowgirl    
    Good question. Disobedience, I suppose. He is disobedient to my herd authority. I feel that horses can disobey, but I don't feel they can disrespect, because I think "respect" involves a level of self awareness that horses do not have. I just don't like to over personify them and let it lead to negative subconscious feelings because I put too many human characteristics on an animal like a horse.
    I think that THAT denotes a level of thinking I simply don't put into my relationships with any animal, not just a horse. I was always taught that animals were put here for my enjoyment, not the other way around, and that they are to be subordinate to my wishes and thus under my control. With that comes a lot of responsibility as I must always put their care and well being before my own. It's good to be King or Queen, but you must be a responsible monarch when you accept that role.
    Cherie, bsms, wildandfree and 3 others like this.
         
        05-09-2014, 11:37 AM
      #8
    Weanling
    I, too, feel that the word 'disrespect' reminds me of the human being superior. I don't DISLIKE the word, but when I'm working with my horse if he does something like try to nibble my hand or anything along those lines I say "that's not nice" and bop him on the nose. May sound a little immature but I think it makes a lot more sense. I feel very strongly that you should be the dominant one in the relationship BUT only by a small margin. You have to have power to control him because he is so much larger and stronger than you but you are still a team. I work WITH my horse so I treat him as CLOSE TO an equal of myself (when I'm not spoiling him rotten ;) )
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        05-09-2014, 11:53 AM
      #9
    Yearling
    Maybe I'm a bit crazy because while I'm not endeared to the word disrespect or disobedience, I do use them to describe my horses. Do I think it's the same as we humans show? No, not at all.

    However I have seen horses show blatant disrespect to their herd (horse herd lol) and challenge it that way. I think if we had to describe it disrespect would be what I would use because I don't think the dictionary's invented a word for that yet!

    My horses aren't allowed to get away with anything, but I have had incidents where the horse suddenly acted up and disrespected my authority. Logically in my thinking horses have to be capable of some element of disrespect so that they can upset the hierarchy and be able to take over a herd and settle squabbles.

    I don't like to use disobedience to describe my horses though because I was taught that nothing living is obedient to you, you simply cohabit the Earth with them. Thus it's your job to care for them, respect them, and know that they will never be servants for you to use on your whims and then neglect. Haha

    Interesting point though.
    SueC likes this.
         
        05-09-2014, 12:18 PM
      #10
    Yearling
    Depends on the context

    I would only use disrespect when the horse is actively doing something dangerous and challenging authority -- biting, kicking, bucking, ect...

    Just not wanting to do something, I would call that stubborn
    boots likes this.
         

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