Basically. The word it'self can be mis-employed. Many people use the word to describe any activities with animals. I don't. I think activities with animals can be enriching for the animal and the human.
But there are some people who are abusing their animals. And often, they don't even know it.
Most of us can tell when someone is consciously abusing an animal. We see the violent reaction to any type of misbehavior. We see, in the case of horses, where horses choose to run away instead of being caught. We see signs of physical deterioration, and so on.
But what about the average person. The person that just goes about riding their horse, doing the best they can, and without even knowing it, they may be abusing their horse?
Ignorance! That's the name of it. Abuse by ignorance!
Take this quiz to see if you may be "abusive" without knowing it.
Any yes answer to the following questions, indicates you are ready to learn more about how to be more productive for your horse relationship.
Question 1: Is your horse hard to catch in the field?
Believe it or not, horses calculate fairness every single minute of every day. In other words, they determine if the rewards they are given, are equal to the challenge they undertake in our care and service. If the rewards do not equal the challenge... they feel mistreated. they often demonstrate this, by attempting to avoid being caught. Learn to balance it!
Question 2: Do you get frustrated around your horse?
When he or she misbehaves, does it piss you off? Do you take it personal? Do you get frustrated? Everybody gets frustrated with one thing or another. It's about how you deal with your frustration, that counts. Many people take their frustrations out by yanking, kicking, or jabbing the horse. In certain safety situations, that may very well be required. In learning situations, the same tactics are considered abusive. Learn how not to be frustrated!
Question 3: Do you avoid interacting with your horse?
Maybe your horse has two hundred acres and buddies to play with. In which case, it doesn't matter if you avoid interacting with your horse. But if your horse has a small parcel of land and very little to do, your lack of interaction is a form of mistreatment. You've imprisoned them, with little more than food and water. Learn how to be a leader your horse loves!
Question 4 (last question): Do you overwork, overfeed, or generally overestimate your horses ability to cope our human world?
Horses are sensitive. Yes, they're strong too. But emotionally, they are just like you and me. They have a biochemistry that isn't too different from ours. There is a fine balance of exercise and nutrition required to be an athlete. Overworking your horse can result in unnecessary injury. Overfeeding your horse can result in unnecessary disease. Learn the fine balance!
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you're ready to learn more. Join me on the quest to Mastery and learn everything you need to know about horse care and training!