In the dating world many men and women put their potential partners to a “dog test,” whereby they introduce their date to their dog and see how the dog reacts to the stranger. If the dog reacts badly towards their date then a red flag is waved, whereas if the dog accepts the stranger instantly the opposite holds true. While many people look upon this test in a tongue-in-cheek manner, many dog owners actually do take it seriously. As they probably should!
Many animals, including horses, possess an uncanny ability to detect emotion as well as the inner nature of an individual. Whereas you may be able to slap a forced smile on your face and hide powerful negative emotions such as stress or anger from fellow humans, you won’t find it as easy to fool a horse! In fact I consider horses to be natural truth detectors due to their ability to read a person’s emotional state as well as their sincerity when it comes to a love for equines.
If one of my naturally friendly horses takes an instant dislike to someone out of the blue, 9 times out of 10 I’m going to respect my equine partner’s instincts. Horses generally do not possess vendettas or have reason to target anyone for no real reason – they tend to call them as they see them. If a horse usually takes a liking to visitors but holds a sudden aversion to one in particular, clearly the horse sees or detects something that I may not have initially caught.
When a horse enjoys your company, you’ll know it. When a horse trusts you, you’ll know it. And when a horse actually dislikes you, he will make sure you know it. I often state that the world would be a much better place if people were as brutally honest as horses. But I digress…
A proficient horseman at work should be cool, calm and collected, three essential qualities to maximize the productivity of a training session as well as create an all-around positive aura over human-horse interactions. Keep in mind that you are the horse’s leader, and as such the horse will take his cues from you. If you are agitated the horse will recognize something is wrong and either feel you are angry with him or you are annoyed with something else he cannot detect but probably should be also be concerned about. The horse will not be able to focus on the lesson or your requests well at all, nor will he be able to draw strength from you when he becomes concerned about a foreign object or behavioral request.
It is essential that you try not to visit or work with your horse when you are in a negative frame of mind since these undesirable emotions will disturb your equine partner. Try to take a few minutes, or even hours if necessary, to collect your emotions and clear your mind of life’s daily irritants.
When we see a loved one is feeling down, it often puts a damper on our day too since negativity tends to breed negativity. The same will happen with your horse, so do not underestimate your horse’s ability to detect your feelings.