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Introduction

Dear Horse lovers,

Thank you for taking interest in your horses psychology.

My goal is to explain horse behaviour in a simple and understandable way, with hands- on solutions to improve the relationship between you and your horse.

Unfortunately, the modern way of keeping and riding horses has drifted further and further away from equitable horse treatment. Our horses have to cope with living conditions that couldn’t be more contrasting from their nature.

The showing of horses turn equistrians into fierce competitors, who would take drastic measures in order to win. Ever in height increasing jumps, further and faster endurance rides, more complicated dressage patterns and longer, more spectacular sliding stops do not come without a toll.

As our „usual, normal“ horses cannot deal with such extremes without taking major psychological and physiological damages, the horse breeding industry had to produce more specialised horse types.

Unfortunately, this practise comes with a price- predestination to stereotypic behaviour, nervous characters and sensetivity to illnesses are just some of the side effects of selective „sport machine“- breeding.

Is this movement still ethical towards our horses? These creatures, which let us jump onto their vulnurable backs and put a big metal piece into their soft mouths?

It is time to give something back to them- the Understanding of their minds.

„A horse is the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves- strong, powerful, beatutiful- and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence“ -  Pam Brown


Table of Contents

1. Introduction                                                                                           

2. A short insight into the amazing history of our modern Horse and Pony     

3. Get to understand your horses senses                                       

3.1 Olfactory sense                                                                                                                                       

3.2 Visual sense                                                                                                                                              

3.3 Audial sense                                                                                                                                             

3.4 Tactile sense                                                                                                                                             

3.5 Sense of taste                                                                                                                                           

4. About the often underestimated cognitive abilities of our horses       

4.1 The horses intelligence                                                                                                                     

4.2 Horses have emotions too                                                                                                              

4.3 A horses memory                                                                                                                                 

4.4 Understand basic learning principles for successful training results               

5. Horses are herd animals- but what does this actually mean?     

5.1 Myths and truths about horse groups based on modern research                      

5.2 Horse bands in Captivity                                                                                                                  

5.3 How to structure a herd and integrate new members successfully                     

6. Understand Horse behaviour                                                       

6.1 Read and interprete their bodylanguage correctly                                                      

6.2 Horses talk as well: Understand vocal language                                                            

6.3 All about „Invisible language“                                                                                                    

6.4 Behaviour in stabling conditions versus behaviour in natural conditions

6.5 Psychological disorder develeopment and ways to prevent such                     

6.6 Wind Sucking and Crib-biting                                                                                                    

6.7 Head- Shaking                                                                                                                                      

6.7 Weaving and Stall Walking                                                                                                          

6.8 Stall kicking and Pawing                                                                                                                

6.9 Other stereotypic behaviours                                                                                                  

7. When horses suffer silently- Depression in horses             

8. Trauma in horses- Equine Post Traumatic Disorders            

9. Our Bodylanguage from the horses Point of View              

9.1 Our bodylanguage and the reactions caused in the horse                                       

9.2 How our bodylanguage affects the horse                                                                            

9.3 How energy influences bodylanguage                                                                                   

10. How the first few years in a young horses life shape their character forever     

10.1 How the family herd influences a foal in nature compared to growing up in modern breeding conditions                

10.2 How young horses learn best                                                                                                 

11. Create horse friendly riding conditions                                 

11.1 What is required of rider and tack                                                                                     

11.2 About spurs, bits and training aids                                                                                    

11.3 About bitless riding                                                                                                                     

12. Understand problems out of the horses point of view    

12.1 Aggression and Fear                                                                                                                     

12.2 Disrespect                                                                                                                                           

13. Ibalansi Horsemanship - An approach to communication at Eye level

 

Sources and further reading recommandations