The Young Horse: Dramatic, Reactive, Dangerous Behavior

 The MisUnderStood Horse

 This is a two-year-old Andalusian who I just started working with recently. He reflects so many horses that I meet that are often deemed "bad, aggressive, stubborn, resistant," and all these other human-based emotional judgments, which have nothing to do with what the horse is experiencing or why his behavior is as it is.

 One of the challenges with horses like this that are young, big, strong, and very athletic, is that the human gets whelmed mentally and emotionally, and therefore responds with critical, aggressive communication.

 But this behavior from the human only teaches the horse to become more dramatic faster and to try to avoid stronger.

 I have found that many of these horses are rarely acknowledged as to what they are experiencing mentally and emotionally.

 People are distracted by their bigness, or by the size of their meltdown moments, but those are all symptoms. The reality is that they have/are experiencing insecurity, perhaps fear, or a lack of clarity, and so in their lostness or overwhelmed-ness, their behavior comes out as the bucking, rearing striking, bolting, and running backward.

 That is not the horse's ideal state to be in or operate in, but you add emotional immaturity and limited real-world experience to that, and everything becomes overwhelming.


With a horse like this, the priority is to get his mind with me. I want to create a safe space for him to be able to communicate, create boundaries of what behaviors- such as charging or striking that don't work, and then allow him to search within those boundaries, to have different thoughts other than fleeing or avoidance, to offer a variety of physical tries.

 The horse in the photograph has been hauled in for 3 sessions. In a matter of that time together, a majority of it he spent loose in a round pen, which was used to create a safe space for him to learn to search in and how to acknowledge me. No whips, flags, etc. were used.

 The change from his initial dramatic, flamboyant, trying-to-climb-out of the pen horse that I met, compared to yesterday's session of a horse who within a few minutes was offering to participate and very much thinking, searching, and trying in a reasonable manner most of the time, was a reflection of the beginning of a mental and emotional shift in him.

 But for most folks, they bring their urgencies or "have to" to the Conversation with the horse. When they do that, they do not realize how much they are limiting the Opportunity to build a quality foundation with that young horse.


This particular horse would not be one that you could physically make do things. He has learned to use his 16.1H size to run and bolt if he's concerned. There's no way at 5' 2 I will "make him" stay- nor would I want to. But if I create safe scenarios when he learns how to reasonably participate with the human, he will not have reason to leave, even if/when new things are asked of him.

 This is not about horse training, but it is about creating a relationship between the human and horse, and building skillsets within the horse to learn how to function in the human world, all the while building his confidence.


  1. Boy this horse needs time to grow up? So young and so immature to be asking anything than being with the human and have some manners. You only had 3 sessions?? Wow not near enough time.

    1. Don't assume anything! đŸ¤”Basic ground work is all that is being done with him. He is hauled in weekly. My point in sharing was to show how different a horse could be if the communication was clear.


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