We are often asked how we know that the horses love their jobs at Tally-Ho. Horses have similar reactions to their environment as we (humans) do – if we are scared or nervous our eyes may get wide, we may start to shrink away from something, and/or we may stubbornly say “forget that idea!”. In humans and horses, body language and attitude are the key indicators.
Signs of a relaxed horse:
- head is held low (not up high)
- eyes are soft and relaxed (not bugging out of his head)
- ears are forward or to the side (not flicking around frantically, or pinned backwards)
- one foot may be bent (as he ‘takes a load off’)
- mouth may be slack or droopy
At Tally-Ho we practice natural horsemanship, which means that we view our relationship as a partnership – whatever we ask of the horse should be met with a willing response. It’s up to us to figure out how to ask nicely, so that the horse cooperates of his own freewill (see Roy following Brianna around an obstacle course – not because he has to, but because he’s having fun!).
So how do we know the horses like their jobs? They show us every day that they are willing partners – here’s a few examples:
- they come to the gate when called – see our video of Kashe!
- they walk easily into the horse trailer for their ride into town
- they stand calmly while being harnessed and hooked to the carriage. Check out this hilarious video of Sarge who is literally chomping at the bit and can’t wait to get on with his day!
- they will actually sleep on the job (at the carriage stand when not out on a tour)