Thursday, 8 November 2018

horses, fireworks and feeling safe

For very obvious reasons, feral horses prefer to be in wide open spaces, where they can detect threats from as great a distance as possible. Other needs - for food, water, shelter and so on may take them to less open spaces where they will be more vigilant - predators may lurk there.

When I built my yard, I wanted to provide adequate shelter from the scottish winter weather, but also tried to keep it as open as possible so it would feel like a safe place. And they look very relaxed and happy in the yard, and come in from the field to rest and doze.
As the weather turns, they have been spending more and more time in the yard. However, coming up the morning after fireworks night, it was interesting to see that they had hardly been in the yard. It was clear that they had spent the night in the most wide open area of the fields. Maybe seems obvious, but I thought it worth commenting on. Our view is often that a stable is a place where a horse can feel and be safe, and depending on the horse's situation and past experiences this may be the case, but often if the horse senses danger a wide open space will feel much safer. 

Of course, horses did not evolve to cope with traffic, fences, and thousands of other hazards in the environments we keep them in. Where a horse will actually be safe, may be different from where he will feel safe, but his emotional state and possible responses to feeling endangered are an important factor to consider. 

No comments:

Post a Comment