What makes horses comfortable? It matters, oh yes it does. The more time spent with horses the more noticeable it is that their comfort is connected to their behavior. Horses become more amenable the more comfortable they are. An amenable horse is a willing horse, eager to do a good job.
The problem is, how is comfort for horses defined? Why by teasing the answer from them, I am sure. I have been interested in the linguistics of horses for many years. I’ll call it that anyway. It is based on a precept that their every action is a communication. Deeply listening to anything comes from listening with the whole body, with all the senses. I think of hearing horses language as attuning my many senses, just not my outer ears, to hear them.
Making horses comfortable matters because when they feel good, and act great it makes you happy. Comfort comes from clean surroundings. By dwelling in a clean environment it makes it easier to hear their message if something is wrong. If they act defiantly or make a big fuss, further observation is called for. Noting that their messages usually start off subtly and get louder and louder until understood, take steps to remedy it as soon as you question yourself.
They also want tack that fits. When will bridle makers come up with a better brow band? Many horses suffer from brow bands that are too tight. The look in their eye is, I’ve got a headache. A saddle that fits is a mythic journey which everyone who loves their horse is always on. Even when it is right, adapting to muscular changes requires keen desire to maintain maximum comfort. Because lets face it with the big deep muscles of a horse where compensations can lie buried, once a compensation surfaces there’s a whole lot of work that needs to go into fixing it. Body comfort means liking to be in your own skin.
Food too, comfort food, what is it for a horse? It is food that assimilates into energy from its digestible nutrients. I find it the hardest to sort out. I have been so surprised by a horse blossoming from a change in diet without any indication of a problem having been present. As each incremental advance the body makes seems exceptional, both delighting and amazing, still in his case his language had a recurring thread of something malefic underneath. But never gave any clue it had to do with diet. And then poof, a new food based remedy was supplied and it changed him in the most profound way.
And then since horses mirror their people, comforts for them are comforts for you. What makes you comfortable? Good conversations, happy sounds, pleasant music, laughter, friends, food in the tummy, fresh clean water, room to roam, not too hot nor too cold, your comfort is reflected back by your horse.
Here are some horse comfort tips.
- Along with a fresh, clean environment, I would include deep bedding. A cozy cushy place to get off the feet that is dry and safe promotes relaxed congeniality.
- Studying every bit of tack, how it sits and how it feels to your fingers when you slide them underneath. Horses notice when you care. It conveys your intention. They are generous old souls I think and appreciate it when you try. Horse-keeping is a journey which they generously share with us and make theirs as well. We must own that responsibility to them.
- I feed my horses something I would eat myself. I have a symbiotic exchange of food-as-remedies with them. Probably the single best, easiest, and most reasonably priced is organic apple cider vinegar and honey top dressed on their grain.
Let me digress from what makes them comfortable to explain why organic is important. In summary I learned that organic apple cider vinegar builds more red blood cells – the ones that carry oxygen that powers the body; while, distilled apple cider vinegar kills red blood cells, yes, diminishes the carrying capacity of oxygen in the body. This is the chemistry of it, just so you know.
It might explain why, to juxtapose it, distilled vinegar, Wikipedia says, ‘Vinegar is a dilute solution of acetic acid prepared by the action of Acetobacter bacteria on ethanol solutions. Although traditionally prepared from alcoholic beverages including wine, apple cider, and unhopped beer, vinegar can also be made from solutions of industrial ethanol. Vinegar made from distilled ethanol is called “distilled vinegar”, and is commonly used in food pickling and as a condiment.’ I do not care to put that chemistry into my body or my horses. I kinda like the organic production process instead. Wiki says this, ‘It is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. Bacteria and Yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, and the sugars are turned into alcohol. In a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetobacter). Acetic acid and malic acid give vinegar its sour taste.’ Made from something real to begin with, no wonder it adds lifeforce.
- Himalayan salt, back to the comfort food topic, is another favorite. Just the sight of the beautiful crystal hanging in the stall is cheering and is proven to give off healthy negative ions. Not to forget to mention the benefits of those minerals that are the essential tools which build the frequencies of health.
For comfort of mirroring the self. I champion intuition and trust by advancing personal knowledge in these spheres. Gaining knowledge and skill riding and training horses is not as obvious as it might seem. To be able to think independently and assess what is right for the horse that you know the best requires more. What you learn will be mirrored by your comfortable, amenable horse. I like to see my horses fascinated by what I bring of myself to teach them.