Again you are asking very legitimate questions, and so you
should keep doing this throughout your entire life, asking the right questions
mainly from yourself, that is how we learn.
To learn from horses you must be very perceptive, but the education done by horses requires many horses and lots of time and some attributes and talents on your end. As you get older it does not get any better since with every new answer another one or two questions appear.
In any case I was not planning to reply today, but I could not help because your questions address the most common misunderstandings, hence so tempting to reply today. I will do this in very short version (it will still be a longer reply), because all of your questions need in reality a whole separate article to be complete as answers, hence my reply is incomplete and will leave much to interpretation by the less experience person, but since you have longer experience you should be able to see it in horses, rather then just believing me.
First the understanding of words, like bonding, which again
has several meanings. People prefer to believe the most popular, which is
referring to “bring together emotionally”, which is of course nonsense since
horses hardly feel like humans, but feel like horses.
As I have mentioned in one of my replies, we want to believe that horses poses human qualities so we can relate to them, while in return we do not understand their nature and hence we cannot relate. This is the number one impediment in the progress of any horse person who, believing this nonsense of bonding with emotions, could spend a lifetime with horses without learning anything about them.
Horsemen do not use the word bonding, however it could be used but with different meaning as in codependency (a mutually dependent relationship). Hence from this point on, unless otherwise specified, when I will be referring to bonding I will be referring to codependency, which often people tend to perceive in some cases as love, even among people, mostly noticeable in longer relationships.
This bonding was more obvious in the old days, when horsemen lived with horses and used them for work, or by the farmers that spent often the entire day with the horse, and more so in the military during wars when soldiers traveled with the same horse for months or years. As I have said, a horse sees the man’s heart and his need for that horse, by the man that needs the animal to live, which reflects in the man's heart and the horse is aware of it.
A man, whose life depends on the horse, treats the animal completely differently than folks that play with them. In other words, the horse will become aware of the protectiveness and need that the man has for him, but that alone is still not bonding. It all comes to a simple thing, a sharing a life with one another, which has nothing to do with emotions but with self-preservation, especially for the horse that by nature seeks security in numbers, which is then replaced in captivity by the presence of a brave human animal that gives the horse the sanctuary.
This bonding cannot happen if both of these factors are not present, living together in a form of codependency. This is why I say that amateur horse folks simply cannot ever understand a horseman, because the horseman’s life depends on horses, he lives and coexists with them and because of them (it is his livelihood), which reflect in his heart and most horses will see it. So, if people will try to bond with horses they just become nothing else but phonies, like all those that fall in love and claming to love the other, even without knowing him or her, while in reality the falling in love is purely selfish, or better said “satanic” (possessive).
So if your horse will take part in your life so important that your life will depend on it (not your happiness) and you will work together to live, you will simply bond, become codependent.
Now since people vary and so do the horses, each of these bonding is unique, very much influenced by the environment in which the horse and man lives. Yet all this is much different from the horse’s perspective when compared with the human concepts, because it is a subject to the animal's nature, in this case the nature of the animal we call horse.
You have mentioned dogs to point out the bonding issue, well it is again much different with dogs, because it is a subject to the “dog nature” and it could be hardly compared with horses. I have trained dogs in the military (canine unit) where I have learned much about dogs, not to mentioned I have trained several there after, but since I have no use for a dog in my life now, I have none. The dog bonding however is much stronger than with the horse and that is simply because the nature of a dog is much closer to us than the nature of the horse, which can be seen in the food alone (primeval men, like dogs, were scavengers that lived and also hunted in groups/packs, working together as a group, while protecting each other not because they loved each other, but because they needed each other to survive, but we want to THINK that our dog loves us, completely ignoring the fact that the animal has no knowledge of its state of existence), in resting, sleeping in places that are partially enclosed, hence more safe etc (dogs cuddle, horses don’t and so on). A natural man will say that the DOG is the man's best friend, while in the opposite the spiritual man will say that man's best friend is GOD.
Horse is very much dependent, just like dog, on other life
around. As I have mentioned, horses (animals) do not posses the universal self-awareness,
hence they do not know they exist. Therefore they need life around them that
reflects their existence, they need it, they seek it all the time, often moving
just to make you move, so when you move they respond, then you respond back,
and then them back again, and so on and such and the dance of life begins.
People often say that animals are curious, no they are not, they do not seek to know, they are seeking other life (outside the search for food) and its relevance to them. They seek other motion (life) which in reaction to them will give them the sense of awareness of their existence. Hence I say, repeat and strongly emphasize that the worst abuse done to life is when it is severed from other life and its nature, then abandoned and left alone. That is such crime that the universe could scream from such horror, yet we live with this quite comfortably, while ignoring that we are the grossest species in the universe.
People own pets, or horses like pets, they leave them alone most of the time and go after their daily interests and when they come back the puppy is so excited that a life is back, while these selfish ignoramus perceive the joy of this puppy’s life as a form of love for them.
Now a shepherded has a genuine need for the dog, hence the dog bonds with the man, they work and live together, as I have worked together with dogs in the military (but less time spent together, hence less bonding then the shepherd), they have the real bonding, because they need each other and both are aware of it.
It is a bonding of individual lives when one shares (codependency) his life with the other, while in today’s pet world we buy them, not because we need them, but because we want them (want to own them), and then we even go so far as to reward them with food. First we disable them from taking care of them selves, as they would have done in nature, lock them up (fence them in) or breed them in captivity and then we reward them with that which we have taken away from them in the first place.
Any man or a woman that THINK that their animal loves them is extremely corrupt to the point of being dead, and there is no way you will get through to them, because for most part you are talking to zombies.
My advice is, do not tell anyone, especially not to the so-called animal lovers, that animals do not love, they will hate your guts and resent you in an instance. You can see why, because the truth brings a horror to them, which they cannot face, hence cowards to which no animals will relate, but since the animals become dependant on the human they adjust to it a live in it indefinitely.
If animals could think, they could dream about better life, in which case they would do something about it, just like we do, but since they do not think, and dream only about what they’ve lived, they stay where they are constantly adopting to the environment.
So, in short, bonding between men and animals exists in the form of codependency of one life with another, and human emotions have nothing to do with it what so ever.
Paradox of human love, how can you tell the real thing?
I will go and pay women to bare children for me by other men; I sell the boys and keep the girls. I will put the girls on secluded island, with no access to the world, providing the education for them that I find fitting.
Forty years later there would be a hundred of them, I would provide for them all the necessities and comfort, treat them with love and kindness, as well as discipline, and I would be their God and they would love me. Would they? That is not love! That is manufactured, not real, in simple word a fake, because the women would not know the truth about their state of existence!
This whole scenario is grossly corrupt, repulsive and very sickening, as much as, when people say that animals love them or they love animals. True love comes from the truth and not from feelings, the animals do not know their state of existence for God sake, they do not know that they are owned, that they are enslaved or bred in captivity.
When I was young only little kids said they’ve loved animals and they were mostly from the cities, while the kids in the country were aware from the beginning that they use animals and also eat them.
If animals would be able to love, the whole man-animal relations would be even more corrupt, as much as, my “imaginary” island of women would be. So, in the future if someone will insist that they love animals, and their animal loves them, ask them then how can you tell the animals the truth about their state of captivity, enslavement and dependency?
This is a simple, elementary philosophy! Do people learn anything here in the schools? Do you know of any people that would wish to live like any of these "beloved" animals? If you by any chance find a woman like that, please refer her to me, looks and age matter not, having a human for a pet would be extremely educational and amusing, especially in a case of a women since she could not talk back. :)
This above should sum up in a simple way the love and bonding issue with horses and animals.
I will mention only in very brief way the issue of trust.
NO, animals do not trust us, though they may appear like it to a greenhorn. It
is primarily about predictability, in other words if you become predictable to
the horse it will feel more secure (content) with you, because it knows who
you are and what you will do, or better said, what you will not do.
That is why I’ve said, that a genuine horseman must be, and I emphasize, must be an honest human, not a being of pretences and stealth, because when not honest and direct the person becomes unpredictable to the horse that will feel insecure (discontent or irritated) on account of it.
The same goes for human emotions, though horses in time learn to see these in us, but cannot relate to most of them, hence again the more emotional person is, the less predictable he/she becomes to the horse.
Most emotions of people around horses do not produce motion of their own bodies, while some do, like anger and fear (these in reality are not only emotions, but that is another issue), in which case the person becomes extremely unpredictable which often frightens or irritates the horses.
Sometimes, when encountering a horse that dealt with people that act on anger and hurt it, I would go and generate anger in myself and explode it right into the face of the horse, frightening it to death, but I do no harm to it during this explosion of anger. In several cases it produced great results, because the horse faced my anger (the worst that could happen in the perception of that particular horse) and no harm came to it.
Life example: I came to shoe a horse that was extremely frightened just standing in the hallway, shaking and when I picked up the leg it gave it in a quick and frightened fashion (I do not want the horse to do anything for me just because it is scared of me; such horse is unpredictable and dangerous).
Here is the woman owner, constantly calming the horse, telling me while petting it, that the horse is frightened and it was beaten by a bad man, (talking like she watch black beauty and she was the savior).
The horse was horrified to a point of hysteria, snorting and breathing heavy and everyone around, including the owner, was afraid that the horse would explode at any time, which it on occasions did (imagine they wanted me to go under it).
She had the horse for six months like this with no change. I’ve told her to get rid of the horse, telling her she will get injured since she obviously did not know what was what. She thought that love, kindness and patience will solve this and in time the horse will trust her. She eventually ended up getting rid of the horse after she ended up in the hospital with broken ribs, which she got from the horse when handling it.
In any case, there is this horse insecure in his state surrounded by fear, not being aware that the people are actually afraid of it. They wanted to tranquilize the horse, in which case I would not shoe it, I am no fool. I hate to say what I do in a particular situation, because of the fear that some fool will read this and goes home and does the same thing, causing more harm then good, but in this case I will say it for the sake of understanding.
What did I do? Exactly the opposite of what the women were doing. First of all I was not afraid, second it was very easy to generate anger just from the women around me (extremely irritating), because they were a part of the misfortune that the horse suffered, and once the anger was generated (one second) I turned the energy of it toward the horse, scared him shitless by screaming at the horse while backing the animal all the way through the barn.
I did not have to shank him/it much, there was no need to hit the animal because it became so frightened that it ran backwards in such speed that I had to run to keep up with it, finally hitting the back door with its butt, at which point the horse resembled a frightened little child trying to hide in the ground, as the animal was literally trying to sit before me.
In a split of a second, I dropped the anger, said few calm words, touched the horse's head, turned my back toward the animal (I became vulnerable giving the horse fair chance to retaliate and the horse acknowledged that/was aware of it) and walk where I was going to shoe, while the horse walked so tight behind me that I could feel his head on my back as it followed me (simple way of letting me know that it will not retaliate and I acknowledged that/was aware of it).
Sometimes you need anger to generate internal energy, another time it is the worse thing to have, hence one must see in an instance what is going on, and not just in the horse’s head as some fools may state, but mainly in himself and in everything around (the keyword of this sentence “in an instance", hence perception and speed of response).
The horse stood fine, I did not allow any talking or touching by the owner or bystanders and horse stood like a baby, head down, almost sleeping during this process. Why? Because there was finally some one there that the horse felt safe (acknowledgment, predictability) with and since the animal saw my anger and was not harm by it (most beat horses out of fear and anger) I have become predictable (I was not angry or afraid during the shoeing process), as against the owners were not predictable because of their fear, which actually terrified the horse.
The horse did not trust me, it just saw what I was and was comfortable with it, while to most people I looked like an insane person, but it was OK, especially since I did not harm the horse.
Hence no trust in the animal world, but acceptable predictability is the correct term, which gives the horse security and contentment. We speak of trust, because we deceive, while horses do not, hence they do not trust. (When some animal in nature appears to lure its prey, it is not a deception; it is the animal's inborn predatory instincts, which differ in relevance to the nature of particular species.)
Again an example of how people mix the human intellect and emotions with the nature of animals, all just because most cannot love that which does not love them back, hence in their heads they love horses and the horses love them back. (Most women want babies or animals so they are loved by them, not because they want to love.) This is a four year old girl’s mentality for God sake, and now imagine that silly people like this hold extremely influential social positions that effect or even decide how you are going to live. That is frightening, especially with all the technology and power that is available to them.
The matter of pining ears when feeding is simple, as
you’ve read the article. Please be aware that most of horses pining their ears
are not in an aggressive mode, but only some are, failing to recognize what is
what will result in an inappropriate response to the horse.
Horses either move in response to motion (other life, or what they feel) or they move to cause response (in other life), hence the pining ears can be response to a motion (presence) or could be intended to create a responsive motion.
Your response does not make sense (correct term “unfamiliar") to the horse; hence you get the ears up (as in “what’s happening?”), because it has no clue why you are standing there. In time the horse may get it and will stop pinning ears, but nothing will change in respect to the attitude of the animal.
In a sense it is not recommended to interfere with the animal’s ability to express itself, because it will impede to some point our ability to relate to the animal. Remember, it is all about the heart, hence check what is in your heart when it happens.
In other words, I will put it in sort of vulgar way (nature is vulgar). If and when I come to feed a horse that I do not know, and it pins ears, I see in an instance if the animal is aware of what I am, but they often slip and get in trouble, since they are so interested in the food. What I do next is determined by the horse, if it ignores or misses what I am and makes a move of aggression, I do not jump back, I go for him like a mad dog in an instance, which by itself will frighten the horse, since during aggression it expects retreating motion from me which I would not present. (I have no need for this anymore as I’ve grown somewhat since those days and horses see it, hence hardly any aggression towards me, but many feel free to express them selves, hence I get plenty of pinning ears and ugly horse faces:), which I find comforting, because of the confidence of the horse to express itself in my presence.)
In other words I go in and the horse is welcome to bite me and when he does I make sure that the horse will be convinced of me being a killer (this again depends what was intended by the bite, because the bites are more often not intended as aggression, but they still hurt, hence the responses differ). I cannot fake this I have to be that.
In other words, if I am hungry and cannot buy food and have the opportunity to hunt the wild or harvest domesticated animal, I go kill the animal, eat it and do not feel bad about it. This is why I say it has to be in one’s heart not in his brain, when it comes to relating to animals. So look in your heart next time and if you feel ready to respond to the aggression of the horse with aggression they will for most part know it, because it reflect in your confidence (your heart).
So I would just go in your case, acknowledge the pining ears of the horse and its discontent (do not ignore it) respond to it in my heart and just dump the feed, turn my back and walk out (do not turn your back if you have only a little fear in your heart, as the horse could become of some assistance to help you to get out of the stall a little quicker).
If and when the horse would harbor just small notion of aggression (pinning ears does not necessary mean that) I would jump "towards him" in such speed, he would end up in the corner shaking just form the speed alone, now when I would add my voice to it he would begin to climb the walls (the intent must be real), if not I would beat a living shit out of him, simple as that, which would have nothing to do with anger, but it would be a pure response to the animal aggressiveness and its refusal to stand down.
On the other hand if you do this to an animal when it was not in an aggressive mode, you will do a lot of harm to this animal's ability to relate to humans. (One cannot learn this from any books!) If you do not acknowledge the horse, his movement, it will perceive it as if you have not seen it, hence in the eyes of the horse you are handicapped, week and vulnerable. Hence ignoring the horse’s motion is not really the answer in any giving situation, though I often I say, go and ignore it, because it is easier for the person in question to understand.
What is important is how you respond; hence my response to his aggression is my going forward towards it. Now if you encounter a fighter, you will have to fight, but in most cases, as it is the nature of the horse, most will simply stand down (back off). Hence I say, when you are approaching a horse have your heart in front of you not your hands.
Horsemen must be brave, perceptive, honest and fast, which any one can see when watching them around horses, hence horsemen are not self-declared but they are simply that who they are and horses adjust to all these attributes very easy, because men like this are very predictable to them, there are no tricks and stealth when genuine horsemen deal with horses, and 99% of the time it is very, very calm and content.
If you hear a person say that you need to outsmart the horse, or that you need to get inside its head, you are talking to a genuine idiot that approaches the animals with his intellect.
I like aggressive horses; they test my heart and keep me sharp. I have some bite marks from my days, but I never got two from the same horse (not having boobs is quite beneficial in the world of horses, and great advantage in horse care and very much in riding).
It is much more difficult for a woman to become decent horse person, not just because of the physical disadvantage, but very much because violence is against her life caring nature. Hence I understand women and their nature, which I do not see as a handicap, but see it as the nature of a woman that has so many attributes that a man does not have, without which we could not exist. What I resent are women that are constantly comparing them selves to men, or want to compete with them, or trying to be like men, and if they could do the latter we all would turn back into brute animals.
Hence in conclusion find your own way (you are unique) to deal with animals, and a brave heart can be found in women, as much as, in men, but is rare in this day and age in both genders, as much as honesty and honor are, since both spring from courage.
If and when you are afraid, you must back off and not
fight, in which case most horses will not injure you, but will lack respect. You
can still work with most of them, and get done what you need to, but it becomes a boring
life in time (same old same old), because it will greatly impede the growing process
as a horseman.
The word respect is not in reality the correct word, but I use it, because there is simply no words for it in the animal world, but is very close. One could say that all animals hold in high esteem the brave, and if the brave will not harm them they want to be near them all the time.
On occasion the braver ones will provoke the brave just to test their heart, which you can see in the paddocks alone. It is not about dominance, because only in the human world we have it over each other, only human rule over other life, nothing in nature does that, though to humans it may appear like that.
No living creature is interested in controlling and possessing other life outside the reproductive instincts within the same species. There are no Alpha mares as invented here in the sates by some one who did a lot of thinking while understanding nothing and seeing nothing.
In short, the Earth and its purpose is all about the hearts, all about courage, which cannot be seen in our society because we have laws that protect the cowards from harm. The more laws we have the more cowards we will breed, hence the earth is slowly becoming barren, not producing courage in men and women, thus the wars and violence is of the essence to grow brave hearts from fear.
So when I say that the genuine horsemanship is found in the respect for one another, it simply means in one acknowledging the other’s courage and existence (the others reality), thus using the word mutual respect. Hence for a brave man or woman the being and living with a horse that has courage is comparable to a dance, it is like music that takes the man and the animal into some new reality for which we do not have words. It is awesome, but one has to live it to know it and imagination will create only unrealistic dreams.
So when I approach a brave horse, I feel no fear, because I am overwhelmed with my admiration of such heart, and in many cases an instant liking becomes a reality. It is so beautiful that there is simply no room for fear. (I got bit and kicked and admired the horse for it, though I still beat a shit out if him/stallions mostly, if necessary).
Horses like and dislike, they do not love or hate, but they do resent, the latter caused mostly by prolonged annoyance and irritation caused by either human or an animal. This is caused mostly by the lack of acknowledgment of the horse and its reality by the handler (person in question). In simple words the horse lovers completely ignore the reality of the horse that they claim to love, and react and relate to it according to what they THINK, what they have READ or BELIEVE, hence the animal is in reality ignored (not respected, not acknowledged), which is extremely annoying and abusive, and in time some will get miserable (discontent), while many will grow numb (dead) as the so called bombproof horses that gave up on interaction with other life since they were not responded to in the way they can relate to.
A very important factor in horsemanship is the matter of acknowledgment of the reality of the animal, and if one is unable to do that, that too is perceived as disrespect and abuse by the horsemen towards the animals. The matter of acknowledgment is very crucial in relating to horses, but it is another story and I have to end this some place.
Be disciplined, steady and consistent, become predictable, be brave and acknowledge the individual horse’s reality by responding to it in fashion that is familiar to it within the acceptable time frame (usually only a split of a second) and things will go much easier for you when dealing with horses or any other animals.
I’ve tried it to make this short and I could not, yet it
is so incomplete to the point that I doubt that you will get out of it that
which I hoped for when writing it.
Ps: If I own an animal and it works for me, or serves to
some purpose for me and I give it a food and feel good about it, I am grossly
corrupt. Hence the “rewarding” of animals via the food has been created by
degenerated minds of the amateurs.
When I was involved in training high school horses that never saw anything else but the arena (worked two to three times per day) and their stalls, we fed (not every time) them carrots from the buckets in the arena after the work (they ate about 15 minutes). This was not done for some reward, but the intent was for the animal to have reason to go there. Hence they were not arena sour, to them all the work was as taking a long walk to some distant pasture to eat and the work was a way to get there, and sometimes it was there and sometimes not. Hence when they went to the arena they went there with the hope to eat, thus these horses could work in the arena for twenty years or more and never got sour or miserable on account of it.
Now some fool amateur more likely saw this as some reward, and the food reward hysteria begun. It takes only one person to create a wave of misinformation, especially if he/she happens to be “successful” in the equine world of pretences.
Farm horse works all day very willingly because at the end of the work there is food, (in his head he walked there). If the horse does not get his feed that day he will work the next day as if nothing had happened (outside being weaker), and at the end will look for the food again.
Horses rattle feed tubs only for so long, and once when the food does not come, they come to terms with it, and look for it the next time when it is due. In the case of water however, they will tend to lick or rattle the water buckets more frequently till some water either comes out of them or they just simply die.
The most common abuse of horses is in providing unclean water or foul and dirty water troughs and buckets. When I walk in someone’s barn I know in an instance where I am and who the people are that care for the horses, no introduction needed. Truth is self-evident; one just has to see it, which is not a subject to opinions, thinking or emotions.
Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek