Can Horses Feel Your Anxiety?

It is hard to breath, the sweat is pouring from your palms, the butterflies have taken over your tummy and you think up another excuse not to ride.  Anxiety is real, anxiety is what kept us safe from all the dangers over the years.  


But what if you do go ride, can your horse feel your anxiety? The answer is yes and her is my favorite way to explain how they feel it and why they feel it.  Just like us, their life depends on feeling the anxiety around them to keep them safe.


Picture a herd of horses, grazing peacefully on the plain. A cougar walks by on the way to the stream to get a drink, the horses don't even raise their head.  The cougar, is not a threat, they can feel it.


Picture the same herd, grazing peacefully, when the cougar decides to hunt.  The cougar will give off a tension, an energy of the hunt.  The horses will feel that change, and RUN.


Same cougar, same horses, same place, but completely different energy from the cougar and the horses life depends on knowing that.  The herd survival also depends on the first horse, feeling that energy, alerting the rest of the herd with fear and anxiety. The horses in the herd are completely in tune with the feeling of the other horses and we become the herd leader so our energy is even more important for them to feel.


This is one of the reasons the advice, "fake it until you make it", rarely works with horses.  We can put on a brave face but they can feel the breathing change, the sweating, the butterflies, they feel it and their instinct is to run.


Mindset is so important for an amazing relationship with our horses.  I talk a lot more about mindset in my book.  Click here if you would like to check it out!


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