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!

The Tail End

  Since my mane post called The Mane Thing seems to be quite popular, I figured it was time to talk about the other end of the horse; the tail. Just like the mane, there are different things you can do to it. You can braid it, clip it, trim it and wrap it.

  The tail is just as important as the mane and, in my experiences, even more neglected than what the mane is. So here's a post dedicated to the tail to put it back in the spotlight.

  In my opinion, a horse without its tail just wouldn't look right. When you see him galloping in a pasture, you may notice his stride, the way he holds his head and maybe even his ear position, but you'll also notice his tail. You'll notice how it flows behind him almost like a gracious flag. That's why we need to take care of it too.

  Horses, when they are bored or if they have worms, will rub their tails against a wall or a fence. This can destroy the tail because he may pull the hairs right out. So, a tail can be a good sign of whether your horse is healthy or unhealthy.

  When trailering your horse, many people will wrap their horse's tail to prevent him from accidentally rubbing it on the trailer's walls. If you decide to braid before going to a show, some may also wrap their horse's tail to protect the braid during travel.

  Some tails need to be clipped to keep it looking neat and clean. Most people will use clippers for this as it is quick and easy to do, others may use scissors.

  To keep a horse from dragging its tail around because it grew out too long, trimming it is a good idea. Depending on your discipline, your horse's tail may have a straight or a 'v' shaped cut. The straight cut is the most common way to trim a tail (in fact, I couldn't find a good picture of a 'v' shaped cut!), but the 'v' will result in a much more natural looking tail.

  There are many ways to braid a horse's tail. Pretty much any braid that you know how to do can work on a horse's tail, when given enough practice.

  So that is it for this week. I hope you have all enjoyed your week and that you'll have a great weekend. Thank you for reading Pure Horse Sense.

  Until next time, happy riding!