Equine Instinct

Equine Instinct
Measuring a horse
Arena Figures


Prey vs. Predator


Horses are prey animals, those who are eaten by other animals like wolves, bears and wild pigs.  The ones who protected themselves the best, survived. They have eyes on either side of their head so they can see almost all the way around themselves.  Their hearing is much better than ours so they can hear an animal sneaking  up on them; and they have powerful hind legs so they can kick and run fast.  Over many years man has bred the horse to be more gentle. Even so, the horse still has those instincts. You have probably noticed that some horses are calmer, while some are still very nervous. Anything they see as strange goes into the predator category at first. A paper bag, a tarp, blowing paper, a strange loud noise or a strange smell. When they get frightened they can panic, either flee-run away-or fight-bite or kick.


Humans are predators. A  horse can even tell if we eat meat by our scent, so we have to make sure we donít act like predators to gain their trust. We can gain their trust with time and patience.

.When we approach them, we walk up to them calmly and purposefully and approach them from the shoulder. A predator would sneak up and attack from the back or the neck, or grab their face.

Horses canít see directly in front or behind them because their eyes are on the sides of their face. Thatís why a horse shies away when you try to rub his nose or his forehead. Try touching his neck or shoulder instead. When a horse is looking ahead, he sees, like we do. When looking off to the side though, each eye has a different view. The left eye might be looking at a squirrel on the fence while the right eye is watching a horse approaching from the other side.  Try putting your fist in between your eyes and  see what a horse sees.

We can use our voice and touch to let them know where we are and what we are doing. If we are going to pick up their foot, we run our hand down their leg; if we are going to walk behind them, we put our hand on their hindquarters and talk to them. Horses remember their mothers licking them with their tongues when they were young, so to show affection or calm a horse you stroke them instead of pat them. All these things together teach a horse to trust us. Even if a horse is nervous, you can eventually show him you are not a predator with repetition and patience.



© Copyright 2000-2005 ConfidentRider.Com

For More information about ConfidentRider.Com
and our Services
contact us here!

Another Service Provided by:

Websites & Graphic Design
Click logo to Email 

Strategic Web Publishing
Tel: (239) 272-0036