Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Equine Perception

with 5 comments

This weekend, our friends, Mike & Barb, visited for dinner. Before sitting down to a sumptuous feast, we took a walk around the property that culminated in a visit with the horses. Mike brought some apples, so I opened a gate to serve up treats from within the paddock. Being unfamiliar with horses, Barb was more comfortable waiting just outside.

When it comes to treats, the horses are never bashful. Cyndie, Mike, and I moved among the herd to assure each of the 4 received a fair share. After they’d eaten all the apples,dscn5786e Legacy walked right up to Barb at the gate.


I commented that he was probably fond of her color scheme.


Especially considering the color pallet that Mike was sporting.




Hunter seemed to pick right up on Mike’s playful spirit and soaked up his smell with big yawns and an outstretched tongue.

Cyndie pointed out that as herd leader, Legacy’s role is to make sure everyone is safe, connected, and part of the group. He chose to connect with Barb as a way to include her and acknowledge her reticence and sense of vulnerability over being among such large, and sometimes unpredictable animals.

As we discussed this, I was struck by the memory that I was in that very same place of unfamiliarity with horses when we bought this place. I would never think of stepping inside a fence with such large animals.

After one weekend of lessons on horse communication, and learning to understand my energies of mind, heart, and gut, I was significantly transformed. Before the end of the very first day of that weekend, I had moved from being completely naive about anything to do with horses, to finding myself successfully interacting with a horse I had no knowledge of, alone with him within the limited confines of a round pen.

dscn5787eIt was monumental for me. It laid the foundation for everything I’ve learned since, now living as a co-owner of four beautiful Arabian horses.

I feel like I’ve come farther than should be possible in such a short time. I also feel like I still know so little. Every day there is more to grasp about the remarkable dynamics of equine perception.

More often than not, I get the sense that they know more about me than I do.














Written by johnwhays

February 13, 2017 at 7:00 am

5 Responses

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  1. EVERYTHING in those last 2 paragraphs! The beauty and wonder of horses.


    February 13, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    • Thanks for your affirmation, Avery! I used to perceive horses (and basically all animals in general) as simply livestock; horses being one that adolescent girls developed illogically fierce fixations with. Now with the experience I have gained, I don’t understand why a broader percentage of the population hasn’t developed fixations at a similar level!


      February 13, 2017 at 5:34 pm

  2. Amazing how animals can often make us more perceptive about other humans and ourselves. Lovely essay, John.

    Jim Parker (@drjparker)

    February 13, 2017 at 2:18 pm

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