My son and I take out horses in the evening. I have tried to encourage him to try and establish a relationship with the horses he is handling. I found that when you listen and respond to a horses needs, the horse is more willing to listen and follow your requests. If you ignore a horse they probably will ignore you, too. Last night a horse got loose when my son tried to release him into the pasture. When he tried to catch the horse, the horse would run away. This was fun for the horse! It was not fun for my son. He is almost sixteen years old and these chores are messing up his plans for the evening. He thinks horses are dumb and they should follow directions without discussion. The horse on the other hand does not care. Horses are almost always obedient to the implicit hierarchy of the herd. My son has set himself apart so the horse is independent, too. So the horse decided to have some fun! My son finally got fed up and threw the halter down at my feet. He walked away muttering, “You catch him!”
It took me about ten minutes to catch the horse. The horse wasn’t going anywhere dangerous so I had plenty of time. I calmly walked after him. Eventually he let me catch him. They always let me catch them. Since the “teachable moment” had long since passed, I patted him on the neck and quietly led him to his pasture. The excitement was over. Patience, humility, and a sense of belonging are real important traits when dealing with horses and humans. It would have to be another day for the horse to help my son understand a little bit more about he relates to others.