Horses can be very subtle in communicating with you. In telling you what they like and don’t like. In what hurts or feels good. In what causes stress and what helps them relax.
But when we don’t see or understand their subtle signs, they start telling us more and more clear. In stead of some wrinkles around their nose and mouth, they’ll put their ears in their neck if they don’t like something. And if we still don’t understand that, they’ll tense their neck and swish their tail. And it we still don’t understand that, they’ll launch at us. And if we still don’t understand that, they’ll start biting, bucking, rearing, kicking or bolting…
These are just some examples of behaviors horses might show to tell you what they need. Instead of showing it in a gentle way, they now have to scream to try and get heard! That is when unwanted behavior starts and could even get ‘normal’.
The worst part is… Eventually if you still don’t understand what they need from you, they might stop trying. They might have learned that you will never listen. They will give up…
Often, the cause of this behavior, especially when shown this intense, is physical. Your horse is in pain. Or just very uncomfortable. His tack might not fit anymore. Or the bridle might hurt. Or the way you train him might just be too hard for his body too handle. Not listening to your horse, could eventually cause an injury.
While the solution is usually to listen. Listen at why he’s showing this behavior. Try to solve his problem. Sometimes just a week off of work and just cuddling is the solution. Other times you might need to invite a physical therapist or vet to help your horse.
Want to hear more about this topic? I have a podcast episode about the times Aslan bit me and how I dealt with that and solved his problem.