How Can They be So Human?

I believe in treating an animal like an animal but as I read the definition for  Anthropomorphism I realize I see many human traits in my horses.... or animal traits in people.  I like to let my horses live like horses.  They get lots of turn out and horse interaction.  But I do love to ride.  I like to think its enjoyable to the horse too.  If for nothing else the mental stimulation and exercise is good for both of us.



I am just in from a ride on my arabian gelding Eskie.  He is a beautiful, bright chestnut with a little of the fire and spice that goes along with being a red head.  He's kind of opinionated, in a good way.  Expressive is another word.  You always know where things stand with Eskie because he likes to put that all out there for you.



My quarter horse, Rhythm, on the other hand is quite stoic.  She is more reserved and closed off with her emotions. 

I've been riding Eskie in my riding ring hoping to get him out on the trails this summer.  It looks like my recent rescue Rhythm will fill the role of a quiet lead horse on the trail that my two arabs need.  In the meantime I am getting my riding time in with Eskie, getting in shape for longer rides. 

In the riding ring today I had 3 things different than how they normally are.  Now for some horses that means nothing.  Rhythm didn't care when I rode her last night.  To Eskie these cause his OCD to flair, big time.  He does not like change.  He does not like people moving large obstacles around.  This was quite apparent when the stock tank water trough was moved a few feet to the right a couple weeks ago.  I led him thru the gate and he slammed on his brakes and came to a screeching halt, nostrils flairing -- glaring at the moved stock tank.  Okay, maybe I am exagerrating a teeny bit but I am trying to get a point across.  ~He does not like his stuff moved!!!~

Today the 3 things out of place were:  gate left open leading to the pasture, wheel barrow in the riding ring, new temporary fence out in the pasture (getting ready for my next rescue).  None of these things are new.  He's seen it before but I think having 3 at once kind of tipped the scale too much for him today and so the OCD tendencies came out.

I'm not saying I'm an animal communicator or anything but this horse could not of let me know this any clearer if he had words.  We worked thru it and he got braver and stronger as we rode but it was really comical.  I've learned with Eskie not to push or be too direct because it will feel like a fight or a challenge to him.  what I've learned to do is come in the side door with him and find an indirect way of getting him to do what I want.  so rather than go straight to the corner of the riding ring that he can see the open gate AND the temporary fencing... I zig zag and use my mounting block and cavelletti poles as an obstacle course and keep his attention on that, slowly easing my way to the offensive corner to finally rest.  Horses like rest.  :)  He decides if he doesn't have to do anything he can tolerate the out of place things. 



So all in all mission accompished.  I got to ride my horse.  The ride ended saner than it began.  I got to get some exercize in, helped Eskie overcome some anxiety and ended on a positive note.  I turned the horses out onto the pasture after untacking and watched Eskie's red mane and tail flashing in the bright sun as he flew past the offending objects, tail raised and nostrils flaring.  Did I tell you Eskie is just a tad bit of a drama king?

don't forget to visit my e-bay items for Save A Face.  A couple of the auctions are ending soon.  The sale of the art goes directly to either my rescue horse or a horse rescue their rescue efforts.



Save a Face on e-bay Original Oil paintings and AECO limited edition prints coming soon.
 http://shop.ebay.com/artbysuesteiner2010/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p4340

Thanks,
Sue Steiner
Http://www.horseartonline.com
animal artist
2