Originally Posted by AnnaB264
Lakotababii, that was an excellent concrete example! Can you give any others of signs a horse doesn't respect you, and how to respond to get their respect?
Sure, what would you like to know? Just basic respect issues?
Some of the most basic are hind end position (which is blatant), personal space, and the like. But the ones that a lot of people come across are rushing at food time, pinning ears, kicking, biting, and running away in pasture. So I guess you could pick one..
There are many issues of respect with horses, it is a good horseman that can distinguish disrespect from other issues.
So for another example: paying attention. (This one drives me nuts!) I have seen so many horse people who do not actually make their horse pay attention to them when they are doing something, and it results in so many issues. The horse goes on autopilot, and the mind is not engaged. The person will then blame the other issue, and seek to fix that issue, when in reality the person never taught the horse to pay attention and focus in the first place.
Now I am not talking about the occasional loss of attention. Horses do, in fact, have a fairly short attention span at times. But bringing them back is key. About 90% of the time, a horse never means to hurt the human, but they aren't paying attention when they get freaked out or upset and thus the person gets hurt due to sheer mass of the animal.
So what am I talking about here? Many things. Examples include letting a horse eat while you're working them, or not paying attention to their ears when lunging/round penning, riding, and leading, or not lunging/working with a purpose. Another clear sign of a horse not paying attention is the horse rushing the lead line and walking ahead of the handler. One of the key (and easiest to read signs) is their ear position.
Why is it important? When a horse is in the herd, they pay attention to that main animal, maybe not at all times (as mentioned earlier) but when the boss horse asks them to do something, they sure as heck pay attention.
So when you are leading, for example, pay attention to the horse's body language. A horse that is paying attention to the handler will have a relaxed posture, and relaxed ears. They will walk at the shoulder or slightly behind. When, and if, this horse gets excited, they will not rush the handler, but instead will turn into the handler for guidance and continue to follow. They may perk their ears and look at the object in question, but they will continue to be responsive to the handler. (This comes with training of course).
So one of the first things I say to people who are leading their horses is to pay attention to their body language. If they get too close to your personal space, if they move too far ahead, or lack too far behind, then they need to be corrected. I usually use circles or backing for this, as a horse is usually forced to at least acknowledge they are doing something wrong at this point.
This may seem like a very small thing, and it is, but honestly these things get more compounded in intense situations. For example, if you have a pushy horse that doesn't respect space when they aren't paying attention and a scary situation occurs, guess who gets stepped on or knocked on their butt. Yep, the handler. All because the handler never taught the horse to respect space and pay attention to them when they are working around them