Beginnings of Language

  Well, it has been quite a busy two weeks for me. So I apologise for not posting anything last week. 

  But, this post is still the first of the month which means it's time for another Beginnings post. 

  When it comes to learning the language of our equine friends, it's best to watch them communicate with each other. Watch them in a paddock and try to understand what they are saying. Horses are almost always communicating with each other. This can be by moving their ears, tail, legs or by simply looking at one another. The more you study their language, you'll learn the difference between things like when a horse moves his tail as a warning or to remove flies.

  When a horse approaches another who is eating, they're communicating. They're determining who is more dominant. If a horse pushes another away, it could be because they don't want their space invaded and to make sure they know who is the higher horse. Horses don't take these things personal, they'll just move away and go on to doing something else.

  As you learn more about the language, you can apply it to your communication with your horse. You'll learn how to hold yourself to be more inviting or more intimidating. You'll learn how to pin your ears and swish your tail. As weird as that may sound it is true. Most of our communication with horses is through feelings and energy. When you sensitise yourself to a horse, you'll be able to feel him getting agitated. The same goes for us. Horses are able to pick up your energy as if you are pinning your ears even though you can't.

  It's definitely a language that we are always developing. That's because it's unnatural to us. Most of the time, we'll feel silly communicating with our horses this way even though it's the language they understand the best.

  This leads into the horse learning our language. Just like we are challenged to learn their language, they are challenged to learn ours. Now this can mean things like voice commands, but it can also mean things like standing still. Standing on cross-ties is unnatural to a horse. Most of what we do is unnatural to a horse which means he has had to learn to accept these things. 

  Riding is also unnatural. In the wild, a horse won't ever have anything on his back unless a predator has jumped on him from a tree. So, the horse needs to learn that they are safe and that everything is okay when we ride them. It takes a lot of trust to be able to do that. From there, they need to learn our language of aids.

  It's amazing to see how both horse and rider have met in the middle to learn each other's language to communicate better. It may never be perfect, there will certainly be some miscommunications along the way. But the journey is special and truly unique. It's part of what makes riding so special.

  I hope that we as riders never stop trying to learn their language. The more we learn, the more we understand, the more we will grow together. 

  I wish you all the best with your equus language learning and thank you for reading Pure Horse Sense.

  Until next time, happy riding!

Equine News: Ears Predicting Success

  When trying to understand what a horse is trying to communicate to us, one of the first things we look at are their ears. They tell us if they are relaxed, attentive, curious or angry (along with many other things). So what if a horse's ears could be telling us even more things? What if their ear position could tell us whether we were going to clear a jump?

  Could that be possible?

  Three University of Guelph researchers, Katrina Merkies, Teaghan Reid and Samantha Seewald, discovered that a horse jumping with his ears forward would be more likely to clear a jump. Though the ear position does not have any affect at the approach of the jump, it does seem to have an effect while in the air.

  Though this may not be true in every case, it is pretty interesting to learn about. It shows that the horse is aware of this jumping efforts and is communicating to the rider whether he is pleased with the result.

  If you would like to learn more about this study, you can read the article from Horsetalk.co.nz by clicking here.

  Thank you for reading this sort yet informative Equine News post and I hope you are all having a wonderful day.

  Until next time, happy riding!