Horse as Teacher
Horse as Teacher
Horse As Teacher

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Introduction to Equine Behavior – Part 2

Reference – Dr Sid Gustafson is an equine behavior educator, novelist, and practicing veterinarian representing the health and welfare of animals. Know more about him on  (

Today horsefolk remain enticed by horses and we find ourselves still attempting to appreciate how this human/horse relationship came to be, and where the relationship is headed, much as mankind has since the first girl grabbed a mane and swung on a horse to become a partner with the flighty, powerful (but trainable and tamable) grazer of the plains.

Equine behaviour is heavily influenced by socialization. Subsequently, behaviour is affected by the intensity and type of stabling and husbandry. Horses need to grow up to be horses as taught by horses to eventually lead behaviourally healthy lives. When grown, horses must be allowed to be horses with other horses to enhance willing partnerships with horsefolk. When stabled, natural must be re-created for the horse as we shall see. As we shall see, the last place a horse evolved to live is in a stall. When horses are stalled, we must re-create their constant need for friends, forage, and locomotion.

Horses are a quiet species. They prefer calm, and learn most efficiently in tranquil, familiar settings. In emulating the horse, our interactions here will be communicatively soft and calm so as not to unnecessarily upset or excite our herd. Now if there is something valid to be concerned about, say a certain enlightenment, or concern about a welfare issue, or perhaps a training or stabling method that does not align with the horse’s perspective, then we appropriately share our views with the others.

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