It’s the environment that we create….. That creates the horses we have.
No matter where we find ourselves, we are creating our environment and the environment our horses are living into. Just look around and see how it’s going. Is your herd happy? Do they get along with one another? Are they biting, kicking chasing each other off of the hay?
Or are they willing to share? Share space, share food, share you? Do they have real leadership?
It all changed here at In the Company of Horses Inc. when a true lead mare entered our herd. In the olden days I would mistake dominance for leadership, that is because true leadership was not present. I found out that true leaders are clear; willing to engage and willing to walk away; friendly; consistent, they observe situations and claim the space they want by clarity and intention not by force. It’s like in Star Wars, they use The force, not force.
I was recently in the company of other people with my horses and our event was over and while we packed up I threw a hay bag like the one pictured above into the arena where it was cooler than in the trailer. One gal commented that her horses would break out into a fight over that hay and not share food so nicely. I had forgotten about that since I started to play with food to see if it would be safe to use in the Equine Assisted Learning Arena.
Part of what works around here is the horses live outside together in a herd 24 hours a day 7 days a week unless I’m doing something with them. They travel together on in our track system, separated by a fence only because we have an intact boy. The boys travel next to the girls though and visit with one another through their shared windows in the run in shed. The horses are EXPECTED to manage themselves together and act appropriately and that’s what they do. I am not saying no one ever kicks anyone else or moves them forcefully; I’m saying it’s the very rare occasion when anyone forcefully moves anyone else through touch, it’s usually through other means of communication, and NO ONE is allowed to move anyone else while I’m around. ESPECIALLY if that someone is engaged with me. I learned how to be clear, friendly and share my intention by doing way less sooner rather than waiting until it’s too late. Thank you to lead mare’s everywhere!