We have a pair of horse “statues” on the window ledge of our barn. One is a rearing stallion. The other is Pokey of Gumby and Pokey fame.
It’s a reminder for me of the dual nature of the horse – fierce, intense, fiery, impulsive, emotional…. and cute, smart, and innocent.
All at the same time.
It’s part of what makes them frightening. It’s part of what makes them endearing.It definitely makes them fascinating.
They live in our paddocks, they live in our yards, they live in our barns. To those who don’t know them, to those who don’t handle them, they are intimidating. And even when they are being Pokey, it’s easy to be afraid they will suddenly become the rearing stallion.
But of course, it’s not so likely for the well trained horse, even though he has those aspects of his nature still captured inside his training.
Lensman is the sweetest horse in the world – but given the chance, he dominated Bella and chased her around the paddock. Seen from the ground in a reining spin, he looks like a dragon. But when he’s in the paddock with people or with his buddy Gunsmoke, and now even Bella, he’s cute and relaxed and curious. He likes horses, people. And kids.
When people who were afraid of horses come to our place, they find horses who love their life with people and who are no longer scary. These are quiet, self-disciplined animals who have years of training and who are at peace with themselves and their surroundings because they are treated consistently and gently, because they are clearly and consistently corrected.
Don’t be afraid. They are able to quickly bond with us and be part of our lives. But if you own a horse, think about what it takes to create a horse who merges these two natures into one coherent whole and think about what it demands of you as an owner, trainer or rider.