Is Your Horse Aggressive? Or Are You Intimidated?
*recent conversation turned into a blog*
Horses are big (flight) animals, so it makes sense why people would be scared or at least intimidated by their presence alone. But being scared isn't the problem; not acknowledging it is! Because if we don't or can't admit and then control our own emotions, it becomes too easy to judge a horse and anthropomorphize their behavior.
Two other important things to consider are;
A: Horses are energy-conservers, being 'aggressive' or 'naughty' takes up a lot of energy!
B: Aggression or Anger are secondary emotions, so when a horse is threatening to strike, bite or attack (and there are no physical ailments to be found!) you aren't dealing with 'bad behavior' but self-preservation.
Blaming or punishing them for their behavior instead of holding space for their repressed emotions is one example of how these horses eventually do become aggressive. They have learned how to protect themselves and by then, humans have too often proved that that is in fact necessary. It's an undesirable but inevitable outcome of not dealing with the emotions of the horse, and the emotions we are keeping trapped inside ourselves. Do you hold space for emotions? For your horse(s), and for yourself? Are you able to correctly read what emotion goes behind the behavior?
Zoë van Mourik | Equine Trauma & Behavior Specialist
www.zoevanmourik.com & www.houseofhorsemanship.nl
Zoë van Mourik: Equine Trauma Specialist, Behaviorist