Horses are Weather, Part A

Working with our horses for the short NickerNews holiday video taught me something about their nature.
In two words:

Predictably unpredictable.
Like the weather.

I rode Shea and ponied two others to the far end of the field. Herd dynamics being what they are, I figured the two remaining horses would surely follow. I had numbers after all.
Nothing doing.
They stayed put.
They merely glanced in my general direction.


No matter how good we think we are at predicting horse behavior or weather — sometimes we most certainly fail.

Sure, we get better with more knowledge and experience, but horse behavior can sometimes seem as mysterious as cloud movement.
How and why do they shift?

The more horses or weather we see, the better we get with our predictions. Stampedes and hurricanes are pretty easy to predict. But what about more subtle movements?

In the case of the persnickety mares, I went to Plan B:

Filling my pockets with Hay Stretcher, I got back on Shea and fed them all out of my hand. The loose horses then watched me move away. They watched me give treats to the others. They followed.

They stuck with us this time. I just had to kick start the process.

Read Part B

Posted in BestHorsePractices, General, Reflections.

One Comment

  1. If Safety, Comfort, Play and Food motivate horses, then the two ‘stragglers’ had the Safety (each other), Comfort (environment), Play (company), so the Food became the motivator… and any other day in any other scenario, ANY one of those needs would become the motivator. Now, if you had left one horse behind what would he seek! Fascinating stuff Maddy, thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply to Jane Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *