I was reading the book of another trainer the other day, and something he said really struck me. He said that he always tells a student the truth about their horse… that if that horse is ugly or misshapen, he is direct and offers them some reality. It was his intent, he said, to not give false illusions to the human, but rather to have them see the truth. This all sat uncomfortably with me, because while I respect this trainer very much, I couldn’t imagine how any horse lover could see ugliness in any equine!
Every horse I meet, I fall in love with. I see them all as God’s beautiful creatures, even the skinny ones, the sad ones, the sick ones. My love and embrace extends to miniatures, ponies and donkeys. They are all splendid!
When you look into a horse’s eye, you see something that is beyond us. There is a gentleness, an awareness, a knowing, something that stirs our spirit. While I don’t advise anyone to go staring at a horse, which can cause the horse to feel uncomfortable (it’s a human predator thing) there are moments where we get a glimpse of that inner spirit and deep emotion that is within those eyes. I get goose bumps thinking about it!
When I ask someone to tell me about their horse, what I am really asking is, What’s your horse’s Character? Most people I ask give me the horse’s height first, then his colour, then his markings. They then launch into his breeding, his previous owner, and what they’ve been able to ‘do’ with him. While this is interesting and I do often request this information from students, it still doesn’t tell me anything about the horse herself.
In my Horse Psychology and Behaviour Workshops, students are asked to discover their horse’s Personal Character. They learn how to avoid anthropomorphising. Who is our horse, really? Are they a reflection of our goals and ego? As a sentient being, do they deserve more from us in the way of respect and understanding? I think yes.
A true horse lover has an unconditional love for our equine friends … it crosses breeds, types, colours, shapes and sizes. And that’s the Truth.