Talking with your horse can have benefits for both the horse and for you. It's not crazy, and it's something that every horse owner should do for many reasons. In this article, we will provide you with the top five reasons why you should talk with your horse each day the two of you spend together. Once you start doing this, if you don't do so already, it will help to strengthen your relationship even more.
1. Horses are herd animals that need companionship.
Horse are prey animals that rely on each other to be safe. In the herd, there are several sets of eyes on the lookout for predators. This enables them to feel safe. Horses can become anxious and nervous when deprived of the safety of a herd. You can provide a time for the horse to relax and not worry when you take the time to sit and talk. The more time you spend just hanging out and talking, the more likely your horse will start accepting you as a member of the herd. When we forge a bond with our horses, our goal is for the horse to trust us as the leader who will keep them safe.
2. Talking teaches you how to read your horse’s body language
Horses are masters at reading body language! It is vital for the safety of everyone, horse and human alike, to learn your horse’s body language. Talking quietly in a soothing voice will help the horse to relax, allowing you to observe relaxed body language. How does your horse react when you speak stern to your him for misbehaving? What does your horse do when he is curious about something and wants to learn more? By knowing your horse’s body language, you are able to respond to different situations and be the confident leader your horse needs.
3. Talking is therapy/training for the horse
Spending time talking with your horse can work as a therapy session for the horse. Your horse won’t lay on the couch and tell you about his day, but they can listen to your voice and learn to relax and trust you.
During these quiet chats, your horse learns more about you and how to read your body language. He will also learn to recognize what your voice sounds like when you are calm and confident. This will be helpful when your horse encounters a scary situation and looks to you as a confident leader who will keep him safe.
Furthermore, every time our horse sees us, it should not mean a training session or feeding time. Horses who think you are going to work them every time you come to see them will become hard to catch. Horses that get feed or treats every time they see you can become food aggressive. Food aggression is a common reason for injury to both horses and their owners. Visit your horse when you aren’t feeding or planning to ride. Pat, your horse, and say, “Hello.” Have a little chit-chat. Make these visits during random times of the day. Remember, treats are not necessary. Often our attention is all the horse craves and needs.
4. Talking can help reduce destructive behavior
Horses in a large pasture will spend most of their day wandering around grazing or standing under a shade tree. Horses confined to a stall can get bored and lonely. This boredom can lead to destructive behavior like cribbing or kicking stall walls.
Ideally, you want to get the horse out of his stall to move around for at least a little bit. But, the reality is that life can get busy, and the horse is left in the stall to his own devices. One way to help with the boredom is to have a radio turned on in the barn. Yes, horses like to listen to music. It also will help the horse to get used to different noises and sounds.
5. Talking to horses has been proven to be therapy for humans
Most horse owners have experienced the therapeutic value of being around horses. It is nice to have someone who will listen to our problems with empathy and no judgment. The act of talking to our horses while grooming, feeding, and caring for them has been proven to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
Horses are prey animals and rely upon each other for survival. They have a strong emotional sense and feed off each other. If one horse is scared, the others will be scared. A medical psychotherapist can use this connection to help treatment for a number of things like addiction, trauma, depression, and attention deficit disorder, to name a few.
According to this article in Psychology Today, horses help us identify and process our feelings. Talking with your horse every day may save some therapy bills.
Horse Courses by Elaine Heney
- Listening to the Horse - The Documentary by Elaine Heney & Grey Pony Films
- Shoulder In & Out Training for better balance, bend & topline development with your horse
- Over 110+ Polework Exercises & Challenges to Download
- Dancing at Liberty & Creating Connection with Your Horse (11 lessons) - Grey Pony Films
Horses are herd animals that need and crave companionship. By talking with your horse every day, you and your horse will learn to read each other’s body language. Talking with your horse is essential in the bonding process. In addition, having quite daily talks works as a therapy for both the horse and the human. So, go out and enjoy those heart to heart talks with your horse!