Between A Rock and A Hard Place

2014-03-21_14-17-50As I write this article, I am on a plane, on my way to Colorado Springs, CO. One of our grandsons is marching in his first parade as one of the drummers in his school band. A couple of weeks ago, his older brother took first at a regional through his school’s forensics solar speech competition, and is going to Denver, CO to compete at a state level.

One grandson is all about rhythm and the other is all about communication/language, which leads me to another Horse Whispering Article.

It’s one thing to see that people are different. However, do we also understand, and are we willing to accept that horses are also? What works for one may not work for another.


Have you met some people who enter the room with their mouth first? Oh, they are so full of high energy, talkative, making jokes and loud? Others are quiet, reserved, and need some quiet time, alone. Some people are quicker to bond than others.

So it is with horses. Some horses are right out there! “Hey! Let’s play! What’s next? Do we have to do the same ole thing again? How about something new and fresh?” By contrast, some horses get overwhelmed because we push them too fast and hard. These horses need us to slow down, be more deliberate and allow them time to process it all! Sometimes these horses can appear to be detached or uninterested, while in reality they are more introverted in nature and need time allowance. Once a human connects with this type of horse and builds a relationship, you will discover a friend that will give you their attention, and help you live a more balanced life. The key to unlock and enjoy a relationship with an introverted horse is to be gentle.


How many times have you heard the statements, “That horse is crazy”; “That horse isn’t safe to be around”; or “You need to get rid of that horse?” Many times these statements are based on experiences, observations and opinions about a particular horse. Did anyone stop and consider the possibility that this particular horse may NOT be any of the above, but rather an extremely sensitive horse? Or do “sensitive” and “horse” not fit in the same sentence? What if the truth was that a human was in the presence of an extremely sensitive horse? Sure, there will be some challenges in the training of this horse, but if this horse is understood, a building of confidence can be achieved to the point that even a human paralyzed from the waist down could move this horse through the disciplines of walk, trot and canter. Think about it. I have met a few of these “super sensitive” horses personally, and some I have read about.

As with the grandsons, not only are we different in our personalities and learning skills, but we also are emotional. Horses are too!
Because horses are prey animals they have an inner wiring to be aware or sensitive to danger. A horse’s number one emotion is fear. However, horses can become frustrated, irritated and annoyed with humans because of peoples’ unawareness of their personality, their learning curve and their emotional state. This is what I call BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.

Our relationship with our horse is “squished” when we are unaware, unwilling or uneducated in the whole horse, i.e., personality, learning curve and emotional makeup.

Some ways to deal with emotions that arise in your horse are to get him to move his feet. Whether ground work or riding, please dismount when the thought comes to you to do so, regardless of who is around. Ride forward in tiny circles until your horse slows down on his own accord, and be more patient and consistent.

Good News: Get to know your horse’s personality; answer the question “Is your horse a quick learner, or does your horse need time to process?”And when emotions arise, assess what’s up with your horse and deal with it in a network of safety for you and your horse.
Happy Spring!
Your “NEIGH”bor,
By: Deb Kitchenmaster