I’m pasting a chunk from a post today from one of my favorite bloggers, Mugwump:
Let’s take the instinctive flight/fight response horses come with. They all have it. How we shape it determines the horse we end up with.
Ideally, we want to train our horses to carry us along, go where we point them, stop when we say stop and not kick, smash, buck, bite, throw us into trees, in other words, let us live.
By it’s nature a horse will run first, fight second when it feels threatened.
Fight comes first when flight won’t fix it. Defending young, territory, mares etc.
My personal thoughts while training a horse are that a flight response doesn’t hurt me or the horse, but a fight sure can. So I’d rather not fight.
This is why I always offer an escape to a horse. Even one that’s securely tied to an iron rail with a rope halter has the option to move it’s hip away from me and get a release of pressure.
Having an escape available for a horse is so automatic for me I don’t have to think about it anymore, but it took a lot of years. I rarely get in fights with my horses.
I’ve been doing some of the same with Angel, and a couple of incidents have shown me that it’s working.
Some metal junk left near the path. Oooh, he didn’t like it! I led him up to it and let him dance around while I dragged the junk to a safer spot. I just kept doing my task and let him dance at the end of the lead rope. He didn’t try to run away.
Another day, grazing near the metal junk. He grazed right up to it and touched it with his nose. It moved and he jumped back faster than a rabbit. But not over me, and not beyond the end of the rope.
Another day, grazing. Windy day. He spooked at something (metal junk not in evidence) and made a complete circle around me. Didn’t mow me over, didn’t go beyond the end of the rope. I didn’t move, just let him move around me. He circled around and went right back to grazing.
I was calm, and just let my horse move as God intended. Problem – if it even was a “problem” – over and done in a moment with very little fuss. “Perfect love and perfect trust.”
I learned a while ago that if the basic nature of horses scares me, I should find something else to do with my time.