~ A Reflection On How Our Horses Reflect Us ~

"The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you might"

-Buck Brannaman 

How true that is..

You know how people tend to look like their pets? Well I've noticed that peoples horses tend to take on their behavior in some way or another.

I mean every horse (or living being for that matter) is an individual. But just like how you tend to use the same phrases, or like the same things, or behave similar to your friends because your around them so much our horses behavior is shaped by us.

Well it's shaped by a lot of things. Most of which we know. You may have a horse that starts out spooky, tense, and stiff but after getting him into a routine at a quiet barn he relaxes on the ground. After working him consistently in a manner that focuses on relaxtion he relaxes undersaddle. These are enviromental changes that you would expect to shape his behaviour for the better. But sometimes we don't realize how much our own manners, behaviors, and personality play a part in shaping them.
That spooky horse may have settled down after all that but perhaps he starts to become not just a calmer horse but a sweeter horse. No doubt your soft tone of speaking to him, or calm demeanor while around him had an impact on him somehow.

I'm not exactly sure how but perhaps once they see us as a leader they imitate us more than we think.

I have seen tense, spooky, speedy horses, angry horses, lazy horses. You name it. Change riders and become calm, loving, sweet, enthusiastic horses.

For instance when I first got Twister she was aloof and lazy with a touch of goofball. Once I started focusing on her more she became outgoing with me and enthusiactic about her work.
Wes came to me as a tense, spooky, speedy little guy. But after almost a year with me he totally changed. He became calm, brave, and steady. But I am an anxious person. I anticipate things. So, naturally how did he reflect my faults. He anticipated jumping. That was it! He was not bad about it either just couldn't wait to jump.
The same scenario seems to be happening with Amber. She started out a very pissy, spooky, speedy horse. Now she is almost lazy sometimes, is spooking much less and even works though some of her concerns, and now she seems to have some regard for me rather than look angry all the time.

Sometimes we need to look deeper to understand things even if it hurts our ego's. We need to connect with these creatures on an individual level. They are not robots and they know when you are treating them like one.

So as wise Buck said they really are a reflection of our strengths and weaknesses. Not only in the obvious ways. A gleaming coat on a fit horse reflects the riders dedication. And a horse that's way too overly sensitive may reflect a rider that's a bit too strong for them. But in the most subtle of ways too. A mild tempered horse that tries to be brave and honest is reflecting the way it's rider feels. And a horse that is totally aloof even to it's rider may reflect a rider that does not treat the horse as the individual that they are.
Of course this kind of logic only applies to long term relationships between horse and rider because it does take time. Sometimes more time than others for a horse to be shaped by its rider. And we still want to be careful not to judge others. But it is good food for thought that we can use to examine our relationship with our own horse(s).
What are you're thoughts on this? 


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