Even when a horse shows something of an own intention, it is often judged upon as an attempt to undermind the horse-human interaction. Rarely it is seen or interpretated as a moment of dialogue in which both human and horse are entering in interaction with eachother. In the zooanthropological approach and in zooanthropological equitation, it is fundamental to give the horse the possibility to express his own world and spontaneous behaviour. When we, as human, pay attention to the horse and create room for his expressiveness we start an inter-species relationship.
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Even when a horse shows something of an own intention, it is often judged upon as an attempt to undermind the horse-human interaction. Rarely it is seen or interpretated as a moment of dialogue in which both human and horse are entering in interaction with eachother. In the zooanthropological approach and in zooanthropological equitation, it is fundamental to give the horse the possibility to express his own world and spontaneous behaviour.
When we, as human, pay attention to the horse and create room for his expressiveness we start an inter-species relationship. But what are the spontaneous behaviours of a horse? As horses are often seen as anxious, unpredictable animals, the fear to let them express themselves, convinced that this might be dangerous, actually makes them anxious and unpredictable animals.
Which is a strange vicious circle. For example, the fear off being bitten by a horse makes us push away their head every time they try to understand us by smelling us from closeby or exploring us with the lips.
The pushing or even harsher actions transforms that same intention for understanding into a more tensed situation. In the same way we deny them their social behaviour. Social isolation But even when they live with other horses, the groups are often not permanent, not familiar or familiar-like.
Social behaviours are subtle, small gestures and often not much visible behaviours that have an important cohesive function for a herd. It is much more then mutual grooming, which is an expressing that can also be part of an attempt to reduce tension. It is, for example, observing eachother and the herd dynamics, looking from a distance while eating grass, pre-conflict behaviour to avoid tension, smelling eachother to better understand a certain situation.
Fundamental for the correct development of cognitive functions. Spontaneus behaviours deprivation Often horse spontaneus behaviours are limited to complicated bits and bridles. The more we expect precise behaviour and complicated exercises from a horse when ridden and not , the bigger the impediment to the expression of their own spontaneous behaviours.
The reduction of the sponteneous behaviour often happens already during the initial training of young horses. In these moments the horses lives a strong reduction of their natural spontaneous behaviours to improve behaviour functional for human anthropocentric desires.
Operant conditioning applied during these moment with negative or positive reinforcement drastically reducing spontaneous behaviours and so reducing equine welfare. The behaviour is an expression of a state of mind and not the result of direct automatic external or internal stimuli. The behaviouristic theories of the early twentieth century, are obsolete and we must have clear it.
Below a list of pictures about spontaneous behaviours and spontaneous horses during our practical activities: Novel object shared investigation without conditioning or expectations Shared social exploration without conditioning or expectations Known object shared investigation without conditioning or expectations Novel object shared investigation without conditioning or expectations Social dynamics without conditioning or expectations Known object social investigation without conditioning or expectations Attention, awareness, relaxation, contact and social interaction are keywords in a spontaneous interaction.
Graduating from Parma University in , Francesco began his career as an independent field researcher, supporting several universities whilst indulging his lifelong passion for horses and dogs as an Equine and Canine Learning Professional — helping owners to enhance their relationships with animals. Their shared passion for horses and keen insight in social dynamics brought them together and today they live in the Netherlands with their eight horse companions, four dogs and two cats.
After many years of change adviser and personal development consultant, she is, today, a renowned proponent of the zooanthropological approach, working for the change in awareness and understanding of the Animal-Human Relationship.
Comportamento ed etologia del cavallo