"My belief in life is that we can all get along together if we try to understand one another... You'll meet a lot of people and have a lot of acquaintances, but as far as having friends—they are very rare and very precious. But every horse you ride can be your friend because you ask this of them. This is real important to me. You can ask the horse to do your thing, but you ask him; you offer it to him in a good way. You fix it up and let him find it. You do not make anything happen, no more than you can make a friendship begin."
The horse human connection began as a partnership forged out of necessity but continued out of mutual respect, and then for most of us evolved into a friendship.
We are continually discovering new and fascinating facts about out equine counterparts. And the more we discover, the more we discover that we are not so different. The Native Americans believe that the horse is the animal most like man because he fears the unknown.
Both horses and humans are susceptible to panic attacks and to claustrophobia. And let’s face it not one of us hasn’t been spooked by something.
Horses like us remember kindness and horses like us sadly remember unkindness too. If a horse is treated kindly, it will remember that person as a friend for as long as it lives. Instantly resuming friendship when given the opportunity regardless of the time spent apart. Horses are even known to mourn the loss of a companion, be it human, horse or another creature.
Like us they also remember places very well and most horses will become nervous when taken to a place where an upsetting memory has occurred. We are just now beginning to understand how good our horses’ memories are. A 2010 study has found that a horse’s memory is at least as good as an elephants. They also found that horses understand our words far better than we had ever previously anticipated. And like us they can get bored and boredom in a horse like boredom in a child can often get them into trouble. Horses and children also do well with routine and predictability. They also both like sweets and are both susceptible to sunburn.
Music is another thing that horses and humans have in common just as music is good for the soul of man; music has been shown to calm down agitated horses. Findings show that most horses like classical music best. (Apparently so do most people) And by classical I’m pretty sure they mean country.
It’s not until we start to look at brain/heart ratio that we begin to see real differences between us and them. An adult horses’ brain only weighs about half that of a human. None of us are surprised by the fact that of the two species we are the more intelligent. So it only makes sense that we design the saddles the bits and the barns. We buy the horse and choose the discipline. But it doesn’t make sense when we attempt to do these things without taking our specific horse and our specific situation into consideration. Because although horses have relatively small brains, they have big, big hearts in comparison, and they will try to the best of their understanding to do all that we ask them to do.
So we must plan wisely and ask kindly because when it comes down to the real difference between us and them -We are accountable for them but they in return are obligated to trust us with their lives.