Do you know your horse’s emotional health status?
Every horse owner wants the same thing for their horse: health. A healthy horse is easy to recognize….or is it?
Historically, people start and stop with physical signs to judge health. There are generalities regarding diet and nutrition, weight, coat, teeth, and feet in judging the soundness of a horse. Factors such as breed, work load, and age come into play as well. Yet a horse showing signs of being at the peak of fitness can also be failing miserably in his emotional health.
Emotional health is different than ‘attitude’. Your horse can be afraid of a bridge, thus he creates an attitude about following your cues when seeing bridges. Emotional health is more than following you around the pasture, shadowing your every footstep although that can certainly be endearing and emotionally satisfying for the human!
Emotional health is about quality of life and includes multiple factors of such, but on a very general level an emotionally healthy horse will show traits like these:
- Joy – when your horse greets you with joy (either quietly or with great flourish!) just seeing you in his space he is telling you that your presence nourishes his spirit more than the bucket in your hand that holds his feed.
- Contentment – content to be quiet with you, content to be groomed, content to be trimmed. This comes from positive reinforcement and an investment in time.
- Flexibility – when your day is too long, when your own head is full of emotions and in the way, this is when your horse allows flexibility and grace.
- Grace – when you get back to the house, realizing all the little things that your horse was telling you…and you missed them…grace is when your horse allows you to try again tomorrow.
Allowing for variations in age, experience, and history you will begin to see and feel your horse’s emotional health in a different light. Want to improve emotional health? The place to start is within.
Author: Cassie Schuster, Certified Traditional Naturopath, Nutritionist, and Master Herbalist.