The Nature of the Beast…

White-Stallion-April-19-26-09-553The Characteristics of Prey Animals and Predators

Horses are prey animals…

  • Prey animals are eaten by predators.
  • They have eyes on the side of their head.
  • They have bilateral, not binocular vision, and they don’t measure distance very well.
  • They are vegetarians, they eat grass and smell like grass.
  • Prey animals don’t walk in straight lines.

Predators have…

  • Eyes in the front of their head.
  • Predators eat prey animals.
  • Predators have binocular vision so they can measure distances, which allows them to gauge the distance to their prey. Predators look at prey animals sneak up on them and when they are close enough, they jump up, run the prey animal down and eat them.
  • Predators eat meat and smell like meat.
  • Predators walk in straight lines.

Humans are predators!

Principals we use to teach horses

  • Horses are prey animals and should be communicated with in a language they understand.
  • Horses are better taught using prey animal psychology as opposed to predator psychology.
  • Horses are motivated by safety, comfort, play and food, mares and stallions are also motivated by the desire to reproduce.
  • Horses are herd animals and are natural followers who prefer to follow dependable leaders.
  • Horses move from discomfort to comfort.
  • Horses are into pressure animals, in other words they naturally push against pressure.
  • We teach horses to yield by applying pressure to the horse and releasing the pressure when the horse yields. (a yield is four ounces of pressure or less, more than four ounces is just a submission)

It is important to remember, the horse learns from the release, not from the pressure. If you don’t release promptly and crisply the horse will not know he has done what you have asked.