I have been privileged to grow up on a farm with horses, and for the past 10 years I have been able to observe the day to day behaviour of horses at stud providing me with the ability to see the subtleties, alter the environment and test and measure the changes to responses. This led me to have many observations, questions and theories and I became frustrated with myths and mistruths and not being able to find the information I was seeking about behaviour, horse care and training.
So I connected with some of the world’s leading experts through my networks and I also undertook post graduate study into animal behaviour, reproduction, training, nutrition and physiology. This filled the gaps of my questions but with the variety of horses at stud at different developmental stages, I could also observe the effect of the cycles of nature and see first-hand behavioural irregularities that aren’t mentioned in text books which need to teach the proven average.
the text books were providing me with the foundational knowledge and access to verifiable data, but it was based on the most common occurrences, or the average. And yet, year after year, although there are certain consistencies, there will always be variations in diet, climate, environment and biorhythms that affect behaviour.
Ultimately behaviour is variable, and it is an expression of needs, boundaries and biological responses experienced as ‘emotional’ states while exploring the inner and outer environment.
I state ‘emotional’ in inverted commas as its while emotions are energetic and chemical experiences we as humans label the combination of certain emotions, when in fact the actual experience can be very different for everyone.
When I first commenced breeding horses, I was given much well-meaning advice about how to manage stallions which involved strength and force which I tried and resulted in me getting injured. As you can imagine 50kg vs 550kg doesn’t win with this approach, hence the reason traditional stallion handling for live cover breeding is managed by two people usually men. For me I couldn’t not keep things moving or wait for someone to be available to help with live cover breeding or train a young colt or lead a hormone riddled stallion from one yard to another past mares in oestrus. I needed to develop my own methods to work with the horses and adapt to the environment I had in front of me. So, I built bonds with the horses and learnt to observe and listen without preconceived ideas, and they showed me how cooperative and engaging they are and that I didn’t need to squash their spirit or use force to get results, I just needed to learn how to ask and explain what I was doing. I feel very blessed to have my horses and other people’s horses here over the years to teach me so much.
Behavior is an Expression of Needs, Boundaries and Biological Responses experienced as ‘emotional’ states while Exploring the Inner and Outer Environment