By, Jo Carol Hebert
People are social beings. But did you know horses are social beings, too? That means, people and horses both want friends.
Would you like to be friends with a horse? Read on for some important tips on how to do so.
Understanding Horses – Horses are Prey Animals
Animals that are in the wild horse family are in danger of predators. Like animals that are preyed upon, horses have keen defense senses. Super hearing, sight, smell, good balance, and an ability to feel ground movement sensations are all part of the horses genetics.
People don’t have these perceptions to such a high degree. People can react negatively to a horse that is responding to these natural instinctive behaviors. When a horse shies away, bolts or seems stubborn to obey – there is a reason.
When they sense danger or feel threatened, their natural instinct is to run away – fast!
Think Like a Horse
When people show fear or indecision around horses, this triggers that ‘flight’ instinct. When a horse can’t escape, he will give signals that warn others of its discomfort. A look, a twitch of the ear, a flick of the tail, or even biting or kicking can all be signs of a nervous horse.
Friends of horses can read signs of distress and understand another’s feelings. Friends are understanding and respectful of how others are feeling. They remain calm, give comfort, assurance, and space for their friend to calm down.
Did You Know?
- Horses have been domesticated (tame) for 5,000 years
- Horses are ‘herbivores’
- Horses can sleep standing up
- There are over 60,000,000 horses in the world
- Horses can live for 25 years (‘Old Billy’ lived 62 years)
- Males are stallions; females are mares; a baby boy is a colt; a baby girl is a filly
- Horses remember kindness and cruelty
A Friend’s ‘Invite’
When a horse lowers his head and acts like he is eating, he is giving you a sign that you may approach him.
As wild, herd animals, horses will put their heads down to graze when they feel safe – a sign that they are comfortable.
This is a key feature of training. Horses are willing to observe and obey commands when they trust you. Being patient and taking the time to establish a positive relationship will allow you to have a lasting bond with a horse. The horse will accept you and, if other horses are not around, he will prefer you as a friend.
That’s a friendship worth waiting for, a dream come true for kids that love horses!
What’s Your “Horse IQ?”
Take the quiz to test your Horse IQ
(hint: all the answers can be found in the post).
True or False?
- Horses like to be alone.
- ‘Prey” means the animal that is food for meat-eating animals.
- Horses can ‘feel’ movements in the ground.
- Horses cannot see very well
- People can hear better than horses.
- Horses will lay down when they are afraid.
- A horse knows when a person is afraid
- Horses eat grass.
- A baby boy horse is called a colt.
- A male horse is called a “Barney”
- A group of horses is called a herd.
- Grazing means a horse is sleeping.
- A horse can be a friend.
- I wish I had a horse.
- I do have a horse!
How Did You Do?
15 out of 15 – You Are Horse-tastic!
10 to 14 – Giddy Up!
5 to 9 – We May Have to “Spur” You On!
0 to 4 – Whoa, There! Stop Grazing and Start Reading!
Now, try your hand at these coloring pages! Then read a fun story called, Sassy, The Little Race Horse.