I talked with an off-the track thoroughbred yesterday who now has a wonderful life and is “king of the barn” where he lives. He is also a very aggressive fellow and pushes the limit whenever he can. Probably due to not only his personality, his competitive nature and the survival skills he learned on the track, he likes to challenge both people and horses. Inside this stunning, powerful boy is someone who wants nothing more than to be understood.
When I work with horses like him, it’s tempting to want to challenge them right back…. in an attempt to show them that their aggressive behavior will only bring about continuous aggression. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. What also works is to simply walk away, leaving them with a clear signal that this type of behavior only leaves them alone with their own aggression.
Horses, like people…are complicated beings, filled with emotion. When we want to create clear communication with anyone, be it horse, dog, human….. it requires we dive into our own hearts….and get real with our own agendas. Ultimately, all beings want to survive, to be heard, to be accepted and to be loved for who they are. Communicating with animals begs us to be real….not only with them, but with ourselves.