We hear this story pretty often, and we are always disappointed, as it comes down to humans misunderstanding horses.
Horses end up paying the price.
It goes like this:
Person meet horse.
Person likes horse in the setting they are trying the horse out in.
Person bring new horse home, full of hope.
3 days later, person suspects horse was misrepresented.
Horses is confused.
Person says seller, rescue or trainer misrepresented the horse.
Horse begins to learn new bad habits or revert.
Person is more sure horse was misrepresented.
Horse continues to deteriorate
Person sells or gives horses away.
— Person does this again and again —
To be fair to the horses this happens to, how often do those having this thought process pause to consider:
“Aren’t people are different based on their environment?”
You (or your child) are a particular way with your best friends, your family, at school, in the work place, while traveling, with a new group, in front of an audience, when you first move to a new area. . .
Each setting has a different set of factors, and the more familiar you become with each, the more you set in your mind the way you will behave in each. As the players in the settings change, so might how you behave, to a degree.
Horses are no different in this way.
Further, think of how grandparents, aunts, uncles or sitters may comment how your children are much easier (or harder) with them than they are when you have them on outings.
It is the nature of beings to adapt to a setting, and this takes time, and various factors may shake things up as time goes on.
When we first meet a horse we think we want to bring into our lives, we do so from a setting that isn’t identical to our personal one, as the horse knows his current barn, herd-mates and person, he doesn’t know the next one. He knows what is expected, allowed and not allowed where he is. His behavior there has AS MUCH to do with the people and environment, in some cases, as it does his nature and training.
So when you bring a new horse home, understand that there is always a bit of a clean slate, and this can be a mixed bag, and how you proceed from the moment has everything to do with your success with that horse.
Please don’t blame others or the horse. You are the new owner, the rider, the guide for the horse now, and you can make the transition work if you’re dedicated and understanding.
Horses aren’t cars – they are partners.
Heart of Phoenix is a partner of The Right Horse, and our goal is to massively increase the number of successful horse adoptions in the United States by working together to reframe the adoption conversation about ADOPTABLE horses in transition. One way we can do this is help horses stay in the homes they are in. #RIGHTHORSE