Does my horse need to respect me as its leader? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 13 Old 07-09-2011, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: West Virginia
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The Alpha mare only shares her space sparingly and the other horses that do have the honor of getting close with her do so with respect. They are ready in an instant to move out if she gives them the signal. That is why I think so many horses run people over and take control. The ability to invade someones space without having to sit on the edge of respect with the person tells the horse that the person is not a dominant individual. If you correct a horse who is in your space with the tiniest bit of "disrespect" (ex. pins it's ears, pushes in on you, whacks you with its head, grabs the feedbucket out of your hand, gets overly zealous about a carrot, nips you ect) it shows the horse you are serious about being leader. You can lose that role very easily, with a very tiny infraction being dismissed instead of corrected. A good lead mare doesn't put up with squat...and neither should you. I am all for loving your horse but human displays of affection can and often do blur the line in the horses head and teaches the horse you are not paying attention to it's body language. If they get away with something small it can place them in a position to take over.
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-09-2011, 02:23 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Maui
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Intriguing questions, and of course Doe has great responses. My take is, no matter what anyone thinks, you CAN'T think like a horse: to have almost no sense of time, but in nearly a perfect globe of space, and everything in motion-- what's it like to be in a school of fish? A flock of birds? We don't know. But we have to start somewhere, and if everything is anthropomorphic, what other way is there, reallY?

Our concept of leadership-dominance is as good a place to start as any, humans being somehwat obsessed with Who's The Boss. As I've gotten older, I like to start more like a "benevolent fence post", neither here nor there, but that's a little outside the topic, except that I think it's as natural as anything else.

Lucy Rees' "The Horse's Mind" is a pretty good fundamental book. Have you seen it?
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post #13 of 13 Old 07-09-2011, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Georgia USA
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I think that we do tend to expect horses to behave like humans. They are much more simple than we are -- and much more honest. A horse may kick me, but she will tell me about it first and give me a chance to react. I am glad that they are simple in their actions. We do have to gain their respect. We also have to respect them.
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