Empathy

 

Empathy for horses starts with realizing that this prey animal, and this herd of prey animals, is allowing the ultimate predator to walk among it, to handle it, and ask it to yield and cooperate rather than run from the predator. Understanding this is the beginning of empathy for the horse. Before asking a horse to do something, start first from where the horse is coming from. Try to see the world through the horse’s eyes. Horses must know where the exit is. Keep the stall door shut when inside with the horse. Horses must be able to warn predators with a bite or kick. Be aware of the signs such as eyes wide open, ears back, tight nostrils, etc. and calm and place yourself accordingly. Horses fight with some other horses, so when two horses who fight are being led or ridden in the same space give them a great deal of room away from one another. It is your job to protect your horse.  If your horse is looking for some comfort and safety, give it a pat, scratch, and/or a kind word.

Empathy to Yielding: Being empathetic to the world in which a horse lives will result in more yielding on the part of the trainer, resulting in more partnership and yielding on the part of the horse.