Displaying Posts in Category "Body Language"
THURSDAY, JULY 9, 2009
I love playing around with new horses and watching their expression when they realize that I understand at least some of what they are 'saying'. I can never get tired of that surprised expression of shock that a human is not acting how humans normally act. "You look like a person," they say to me. "Why don’t you act like one? Are you part horse? Why do you look so funny?"
Okay, maybe I am anthropomorphizing the horses a bit! But I'm sure that any of you who have learned to read and respond to horses' body language in a non-predatory way know what I mean. Their attitudes change. They are suddenly more interested; they pay closer attention to you. They respond as though intrigued by this human who doesn’t seem as human as the people who handled them before.
I love that look, that interest. It makes me forget about the time and just play, experimenting with things, figuring out what works for that individual horse and establishing a relationship based on mutual understanding. It often makes me late getting home to relieve the babysitter!
Sometimes I wonder how I was so blind to horses' body language, back before I really got involved with natural horsemanship. Oh sure, I knew to watch out when their ears were laid back and could tell when they were tense, but I have since learned that is only the tip of the iceberg. Besides, it isn’t just the ability to read horses that is important – it’s also the ability to respond appropriately.
I'm not a horseman yet – sometimes my timing is all wrong and I know that I don't always respond the right way. It makes me feel bad that my horses have to put up with my clumsiness and lack of wisdom. But it also makes me appreciate how lucky we are that horses are so forgiving, that they allow us the time to learn and make mistakes even though they don't know how hard we are trying to be better partners.
I love horses. And because of that, I love natural horsemanship.