HORSES: Stay Aware & Safe
All human beings have a basic need for safety. Herd animals, such as horses, have a strong physiological need for safety as well. Working horses at liberty can be more hazardous than training with tack because at liberty a horse is in full expression of himself. Focusing on the relationship and connection you share will enable you to read how your horse feels about his training. He may be fine one day and not so fine the next.
One can never become complacent around horses. They are incredibly powerful creatures. Horses have the ability to react much more quickly than humans. A healthy respect for their power and speed is essential. People sometimes think that their horses won't harm them due to the special bond they share. Your horse may love you dearly but if something spooks him, he is going to react first and think second. Horses depend upon their flight response to stay safe. When I spend time with my horses in the pasture, I always take something (even if it is just a small reed) to create space as needed. I respect a horse's desire for personal space and I expect the same courtesy as well.
My horses have lived together in the same community for more than 16 years. I enjoy watching their daily interactions. It is common for them to bite, kick, chase, groom, rear, play and move each other away by force all while maintaining a strong bond. The interspecies relationship you share with your horse may result in some of these behaviors being directed at you. A horse simply can't act like a human. He only knows how to be a horse. Maintaining a keen awareness of your horse and your surroundings will go a long way in the creation of a safe training environment for you and your equine friends as well!
Have fun and stay safe. Have a great rest of the week.