I have heard many people say that horses are just like big dogs. Well, let me tell you something, that statement couldn’t be farther from the truth.
There is not doubt in my mind that our dog absolutely adores us. He is sad when we leave him in the morning, doing everything he can think of to keep us home with him. He is beyond thrilled when we come home at the end of the day. We can hear his whines of anticipation at the window, waiting to greet us with a wagging tail and kisses of excitement. Once we are inside, he is never far away from one or the other of us. He craves attention and affections and returns both abundantly.
Now, my horse on the other hand, I am sure I annoy her and she only tolerates me. When I arrive at the barn she looks up from her hay with an “oh its you” glance over her shoulder before resuming her munching. We have our battles in the barn and on the trails, but we push on together. When I turn her back out for the evening, she carefully checks my pockets to make sure I have given her all of the carrots and then turns back to her awaiting hay with a swagger in her walk that says “Don’t let the gate hit you on the way out… oh, and next time bring more carrots”.
Consider instead comparing horses to spoiled children, especially teenagers. Just try to get you teen away from their video game long enough to help you with the dishes, take out the garbage or feed the dog without feeling like you have greatly inconvenienced them. They come out of their room long enough to grab something else to eat before disappearing again. And forget about getting them to go to town to help get groceries with out the promise of a new game.
This comparison has helped me understand my horse in many ways. Although I could yell at her and send her to her room when her behaviour becomes unacceptable, I think she would enjoy the break. It has never worked well with my children either. They both like time alone in their rooms. It becomes a battle of the wits and will power and so far I have come out on top… and having carrots (or video games) as a bribe goes a log ways too!