Listen up humans! I have had a reputation of being a ‘spooky horse’. Well, I’m going to explain spooking or shying to you. You look at that picture and you say :” what a silly horse it’s just a piece of paper.” Well let me tell you humans, we horses have survived for 60 million years by spooking and fleeing from danger. Why stick around to see, for sure, if it’s just a piece of flying paper. What if it’s a white poisonous bat looking for horse blood? Well….what if?
We horses are built for speed. We are one of the fastest creatures on the planet after all. And did you know that our legs are purpose built for fast turns and an incredible 0 to 60 in just seconds? We have no muscle below our knees, just ligaments, tendons and bone. We horses have evolved past the extra weight of muscle in our lower legs. We are ready to spin and bolt away from any predator. You humans may think you’re fast but could Usain Bolt outrun one of our fastest race horses? I doubt it, even if we gave him the advantage of running of a straight track and for sure we would beat him hooves down on rough terrain or twisting trails.
Then there is the matter of all the senses you humans have lost. We have kept our sense of smell, hearing, eyesight ready to detect the slightest danger. We also have an innate sense of approaching danger. You humans are busy listening to music, idle chatter and so on and you don’t see the need to be aware of dangers.
Here’s what I think. If there was some cataclysmic event ( yes humans I do know some big words!) and humans had to survive in the wild most of you would perish. If we horses had to survive in the wild, even those of us accustomed to being in nice stalls and having our food provided, most of us would survive. I know I would. I could smell water and sniff out what plants to eat. I can smell dangerous animals, like bears, from a mile away. I would survive.
So I hope that now you can better understand the usefulness of our ability to spook. Humans think that spooking is just bad behavior and they get angry and kick us and hit us with their sticks and yell at us. What response do they hope to elicit with that behavior? You know why they do that? It’s because they are scared! Yup! Scared. Scared that they are going to fall off us and hurt themselves and also…this is the important part…..scared that there really is something dangerous there that we have seen and they have not. They try to camouflage their fear with anger.
We horses see right through you humans. We know what is going on inside you. I know you find that creepy….but we know. Sometimes you are putting on a happy face in the barn but we know when you are sad inside. We know! Some of you are not even honest with yourselves. You think you are ok, you think you are over some upset in your life, you think you have recovered. But you have not. We know.
If you are one of those humans that is not honest with yourself that makes me really nervous. It all goes back to how we survived for all those millions of years. We must be aware of deception. No….no, I’m not saying you humans are trying to deceive us when you are not honest with yourselves, because you may not even realize it. But we realize it and this is why horses make such good therapists. We help you to know yourselves.
So please, be a little more patient with us when we spook. Let us take a look at what it is and then continue on calmly. I know this is how my first owner, Miss Belinda, reacted to my spooks and it is how my now owner, Ma Leueen, reacts. And what is the result of that? I spook less because I have learned to trust.
Thank you for listening. I shall be back with another post next month.