Monday, July 26, 2010

Honest vs Honorable

Lisa from Laughing Orca Ranch left a really heart wrenching reply to my last post. Check out her story of the bucking horse.

I think she brought up a really good point. Not all horses are honorable. I know that horses can tell who their rider is, they seem to even be able to tell when they have a filly or colt on their back. They know kids and novices. Some are really nasty with kids, while others will babysit. Who doesn't know a pony that would take off as soon as look at you when they had a kid on their back.

When Sensei was working with Kinsey and she was being such a witch I said in her defense, "She is just a horse." He replied, "She has choices." He has repeated this with other horses too. That a horse has choices about how they handle situations was really a bit of a mind bend for me. I never really thought about that before, but they do! A horse can chose her attitude same as a human. She can chose to be snotty or peaceable. Oh sure we will blame how they were trained or treated. Yet, to point out Lisa again, her mare is a perfect example, a horse can chose to be forgiving and work with humans. (I hope she doesn't me me using Apache as an example)

Apache reared with her last owner and has had some other issues। She never did any of that with Lisa। Apache was ridden in a Tom Thumb and her teeth where bad. Lisa fixed those as soon as she could, but even before all the fixes Apache had been wonderful with Lisa. Since the issues have been fixed, Apache as been as good as gold and better. Could this mare have decided that she was not going to trust humans? Sure. She could have turned sour and taken to all kinds of horrible vices. Again, I से,

Another horse I know is as close to saintly as a gelding can be. He is a great horse, and my first rides on him he was as careful as he could be. I mean this horse was serious about not taking a wrong step with me. To the point that he looked lame walking because he was just going so slow and deliberate. Yet I saw this exact same horse being ridden by his former owner. You have never seen such a turn around. Saintly ol' boy was down right snotty. He even tried to bite his former owner on the leg as she was riding. It was actually quite funny!

I read a number of blogs and bulletin boards. I read about lots of people's relationships with their horses. Some I just want to shout, "why are you still with this horse?" Honestly some of us let our horses treat us so badly and yet we would never tolerate this from another human.

I'll admit it, I have boundary issues. Again, Corrie points these weakness out. So does Abby actually, which is why Sensei says she is such a bad match for me. I can't keep her away from me, I want her near. This is a recipe for disaster with a horse as large as Abby. With Corrie, I can work on it. Yet both Abby and Corrie are honorable horses. Neither has ever tried to hurt me.

Abby will let me stand next to her and hang all over her, she stands quietly and carefully. Today I was just grooming her, (I know I know I should just stay away). She had gunk all over her back leg. I was working really hard to get it all off. The flies were bad and bothering her but she never lifted a hoof in defense when I was near. I would try to be sensitive to this and back off too. I also sprayed her. Although at one point something startled her. Now I was standing wrapped around her hind leg trying to clean it all up. Abby spooked in place, never putting me in harms way. She easily could have kicked out but didn't. She will, from time to time take advantage if she really wants to.

To point, I found a horse that will not take advantage of me to the point that either of us will get hurt. Corrie will let me know that I am blurring boundry lines, but she does not straight out take advantage of me.


  1. So true. Some horses are just so nasty in the ways they tell you they are unpleased about something. When I was in Ireland I rode some good horses but there was one mare that kept on ducking out of jumps when I was riding her in the arena. I finally got her over but man did she throw some dirty refusals at me.

  2. Love how true that is. I think some people don't realize they don't make a team with their horse. You have to find one that shows you the same respect you are giving it. I like how you point out that some people let their horses act more ridiculous to them than they would ever allow another human to act. Very interesting point.

  3. Good post, and so true, I find it amazing what some people put up with with thier horse. I totally trust my mare (it took a while) and she trusts me so much its kinda scary sometimes, but I wouldnt want it any other way. She is quick and reactive, but there is no way she would deliberately hurt any person.

  4. Excellent post! Great points, too. No, I don't mind you using Apache and I as an example at all. She is a true gift...worth her weight in gold. Yes, she's a horse with feelings and emotions and she does get upset, annoyed, and impatient from time to time. She did just that the other day, but she was never acting in a dangerous way with intent to seriously injure me or my daughter, and it only took a firm but consistent reminder from me to 'cut it out', for her to remember that I was still in control.

    Your Sensei is right. Horses have choices. I think way too many people make excuses for their horse's bad behavior. Some always think that their out of control, snotty behavior is due to health issues. I think that one bugs me the most. A horse has choices.

    The only time that Apache has bucked (and I'm cautious to even call it that. It was more like a tiny crowhop) with me was when I had ignored her and stopped being a team. I was more worried about keeping up with the crazy people and horses in our group and had forgotten to pay attention to the terrain and our way too fast pace with all the dangerous, unstable holes.

    Once I listened to her and decided to work together again, and slowed down while carefull negotiating the terrain, she was relaxed and willing once again.

    But she chose that behavior. She could have bucked me to the moon. But she didn't. She didn't want to hurt me or kill me, or stop carrying me. She just wanted me to pay attention.

    When she reared on her previous owner, I'm positive that she communicated with her many times, in more subtle ways that she was in pain, but her owner refused to listen. Instead she stuck a more severe bit into her mouth and strapped poor Apache into a full head tie-down and began using a crop to whip her until she obeyed and moved as fast as she wanted. She never recogized or even tried to find out why she refused to do as asked or why her behavior seemed so obstinate. She didn't want to be a team with Apache.
    And quite honestly, I'm glad. She lost a good horse and I got her instead. I believe Apache is happy about that, too.


  5. Great post. I have one of those horses that many wonder why I haven't kicked to the curb. I think the answer is tied to this post: I made the choice to keep him, but HE has finally made the choice to work with me. Stay tuned -- post coming.

    Again, well said.

  6. Interesting post! I have a lot to think about now!

  7. I know that animals have emotions, just as we human "beans" do....(LOL)...and, they show it if you watch closely enough. Horses are easier to observe since they have "herd" behaviors. They have individual personalities...and, as their human partner, you really learn just how they tend to respond, in situations. My horse, Comanche', once broke a post off and she was understandably frightened that the thing was chasing her around the pasture. She stopped when I asked her to...hoping that she'd not suddenly panic as I was trying to undo her rope halter...since it would have hurt me badly, for that sharp post to wallop me. But, she put her trust in me,although she was terribly frightened. She 'chose' to make the decision to stay still, running away as quick as I slid the rope halter off her head...then, she came back as she realized the post was no longer chasing her. In the same way, I was riding her in the snow, bareback, early in our relationship..and she slid her hip out to keep me from falling off. I kind of think we learn to trust each other in a daily exposure to one another. We all make choices..and they are based on consistency of that when the difficult moments come, we have our past experiences with each other to lean on.....

  8. This is a very good post, and I have just come to realize this summer what you are talking about. I sold a horse I was totally in love with but was not comfortable riding. She never ever hurt me, or put me in harms way. My confidence just was not there. I got another horse, and she is a lot like Lisa's Apache! Her mindset is so different! We are working on building a team together, and I look forward to many good times with Libby. Thank you for this post!

  9. Yes, a very good post indeed!

    My mare,though abused...has had plenty of time to recover with me. Another issue is her "lack of work ethic". She was not started till 10 under saddle properly..then it was the cowboy blues for her..rough guy.

    So, I don't blame her for her ill behavior...but I don't tolerate it either. We have worked through so much...and it was NOT for the faint of heart or the unskilled rider. My sissy made me a better rider in all directions, when she gave me this horse!I have never expected her to be my perfect match though...I desire to be hers by understanding her better.

    Mostly I am patient and fair..she can be a hand full. Being resigned to be her only owner till death do us part- now and forever- I will be asking her for her best effort and knowing all her dislikes...I do not put us in harms way. I treat it kinda like a relationship with my good friends...I do know their downfalls, as they mine. I love them anyway and ask for them to forgive me, as I get selfish.
    I think she is a one person horse.She has distinct opinions...but so do I.
    She mostly gives to me her all...and sometimes has brain farts...and I am still here with her!

    Someday, I may have the luxury of looking for a horse that suits my needs. For now, I am asking God how this one can teach me more about myself..I have learned so much already!

  10. And that's why I said Corrie is a gem on your last post because she is honorable. She sounds like such a great little mare. She has her faults, but we all do. :)


Thank you so much for your positive comments. I love you hear from you!