THE NATURE OF HERBIVORES
Plants contain little energy, that’s why horses have to eat so much. They spend a large part of their life grazing, with a lowered head, slowly placing one foot after the other. They appear relaxed, but with big eyes on the sides of their heads they attentively scan their surroundings. Their ears tilt around and pick up every sound; just one sign of danger can end the vital calm needed for eating.
Peace and tranquillity are a gift for horses. They need it as much as they need air to breathe. They can only relax when they’re calm. Relaxation is indicated by increased exhalation from the nostrils – the snort. Learning can also take place while a horse is relaxed. When a horse has understood something it makes chewing and licking movements, as if eating. These are important signs which humans should pay attention to when together with horses. Hectic environments, loud voices and constant running around make horses very nervous. By their very nature horses avoid any area which robs their peace and causes stress.
What you can learn from this
- Cultivate a relaxed atmosphere when you are together with your horse.
- Breathe gently and regularly. Horses pay attention to how you breathe because it lets them know how you’re feeling. When you’re tense and hectic your breathing becomes shallow, when shocked you hold your breath and when you’re relieved you release the retained air. This is also body language.
- Don’t let out your anger on your horse. Rage and anger are unfamiliar to horses. When there is a conflict between horses it is sorted out immediately and peace is re-established. Anger only occurs when injustice, failures and worries consume you. That’s the wrong way. They have to be released. Learn to talk about it, don’t be ashamed of anything and share your worries. Failures don’t exist. Just take a few steps back and start again where you feel secure. If you want to achieve something quickly you have to go slowly. This is this the key to success, not just with horses.