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OTHER ITA SITES:
Basic Horse Knowlege
Because we always see pictures of horses just grazing out in the field we assume horses live there alone with little or no attention from humans. Because of their size and strength, horses can be sometimes misunderstood by a lot of people who know nothing about them. Unless you are around horses on a regular basis, you will not know how they act or the safety issues involved with being close to a horse. Lets take a look a some basic horse care.
Communication is very important with any animal. Since they cannot learn how to understand human behavior, we as owners of horses must learn the horses world instead. Horses, like many animals, have a strong since of self-preservation. They are herd animals, so their instinct is to run from danger and stay within their heard for protection. With some good training and an experienced rider, a grown horse can learn to follow directions rather than following their instincts in many cases. Trust is the key for this to happen and it happens over time. Spend time with your horse and always react appropriately and consistently to their behavior.
Movements, body position and calls are all forms of communication with horses. Just sit and observe your horse for long periods of time and you will begin to see the horses language to other horses and to humans. The ears of a horse always point in the direction that he is paying attention to. If you are riding him, you want one ear point at you. If his ears are pinned back it means he is afraid or angry. Ears that move front and back continuously indicates uncertainty. Don't misunderstand ears that are pointing back to listen with the "flat" back ears with means anger.
The tail is also a way to read your horse. A high tail means excitement in a horse while a tail that is flattened and between their legs means fear. A tail that is lashing about is a sign of irritation and annoyance. A sort of "kinked" tail is often a sign that your horse is about to buck, especially if he bows his back up at the same time.
Facial expressions are another way to read what a horse is thinking. A wrinkled nose can mean disgust and annoyance. When a horse bares his teeth with an open mouth, it means he's about to bite. A long nose and tight mouth show anxiety and fear as when they are being taught something. When he figures out what he is trying to be taught, then his mouth will relax and he'll began to chew. A long nose with a slightly open mouth shows that the horse wants to be groomed and also to groom in return too.
These are just a few ways that you can begin to communicate with your horse. Because people are verbal, we often don't want to understand other forms of communication, but if we are to have a horse or any animal and take good care of them, then we need to at least try to learn ways to improve how we react with each other. Trust and positive interaction is the key.
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