HORSES ORGANIZE THEMSELVES IN HETERARACHIES – NOT HIERARCHIES…

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For a very long time – I have debated that the one dimensional and linear traditional hierarchies that people tend to see in horse bands (or horse herds) are not there. I have written about it several times before, in book chapters, blogposts and in posts on FB. And now I will come at it from a slightly different perspective.

Maybe we see the hierarchies because we do not know what else to see? It is very hard for most people to see something that they do not know exist. Observing/looking/seeing without any preconceived notions is not possible. But if you do not even know what biases you are likely to have, or even does not know about biases at all, then you will think you see what you see. You will believe your own conclusions, based on your existing knowledge and experiences.

This is why the argument – “I know what I see” – is not valid. As you can only see what you already know about. To see something else, you need to open up for other possibilities.

To help with that I am asking you to think about – can there be other ways horses organize themselves socially than in hierarchies, than having a lead mare or a lead stallion? Can horses interact with each other in other ways than either being dominant or submissive? Can they have other personality trait that goes beyond the dichotomy of dominant/submissive?

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DON’T EVER MOVE YOUR FEET!

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Have you been told that too? That whatever you do – never let yourself “be moved” by a horse? That if the horse is the one “making” you move – you have lost the “feet-game”. Which would mean he is the boss and you are the follower… or at least it would imply that you are a very weak “leader”.

I was told that. In the beginning of my career as a horse owner. This is me with my very first own horse, Lafayette – a brilliant horse who let me get to know and learn so much about myself (and horses 😊)

So. I am standing very close to him, just having put on his halter, then he swings his head – and I do what I am told, I do not move my feet… I actually look down and check them (like you never know… they might have moved??). So this is me – not wanting the horse in my face, but believing I cannot move my feet to fix that. Also being me, not trying to move his head… but instead choose to lean backwards. So happy I got this on picture!

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