I don’t hit my horse.
I constantly have to ask others not to hit her, too. They look at me like I have two heads when I ask them to think about what they are really doing when they “pet” her (Sometimes awareness is painful and embarrassing.)
No “good girl” slaps on the neck, no “way to go” pats on the hindquarters. Instead: long, firm and loving strokes along the neck.
I have my reasons:
1. It makes a horse tense its muscles. If a horse is just standing there relaxing, how is it a good thing to have to tense the muscles suddenly against a physical onslaught, no matter how well-intended?
2. It’s predatory behavior. Apparently mankind can’t help it. Watch horses in the field. They don’t slap each other. Mothers don’t hit their foals when showing affection. They lick them with long, very firm strokes along the length of their necks. This feels good. While I’m not an advocate of equine ethology-based training methods, I think it’s only fair to treat a horse in a way that feels good when I am rewarding her.
P.S. I don’t hit my dogs, either.
© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch
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