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Rescue Report: Freedom from Fear

Cate Lamm, an avid horsewoman, has been a part of Colorado Horse Rescue (www.chr.org) for 10 years. There, she’s served as head of the adoption committee, has acted as general manager and now works as a rehabilitation trainer. Lamm has owned a number of her own rescue horses and has 20 years of equine experience. Based in Longmont, Colorado, she’s also the editorial assistant of The Trail Rider (www.trailridermag.com), sister publication of MyHorseDaily.com.

Fear takes away our confidence, our sense of humor, our ability to be in the moment. Likewise, when a horse is afraid, he’s always on edge, diligently watching out for the next attack with shortened breath and tightened muscles.

Love gives us peace, presence, personality. When we feel loved, we’re free to be ourselves, try new things, be present, and even make mistakes. Again, in the same way, when a horse feels loved and trusts his handler, he’ll relax. He may also act silly, but he’ll try harder, stay engaged, and ask questions, too!

One great gift I’ve experienced on this journey with my rescue horse, Banjo, is watching his personality emerge. He’s progressed from stiff and scared to soft and willing, curious, intelligent, and very funny!

Yes, my horse has a great sense of humor; you can almost feel him smiling inside when he pulls one of his little pranks.

This change started with a softening in Banjo’s eye, a questioning there instead of alarm, a gentle reaching toward me, a softening into me. It’s difficult to describe how it’s been to watch him grow. But it’s so fulfilling to have him finally relax for grooming and met me in the pasture.

I love Banjo’s reaction to being scratched in his favorite places. (See the photo!) He goes into goofball mode and does the most amazing things with his lips! This is a horse that used to tremble at the touch of a human hand.

In our work together, Banjo began to ask, What’s next? Is this right? He stopped acting out of fear and avoidance of punishment. He began to gain enough confidence to fail.

When trained with love and respect, a horse will offer it right back. When forced through fear and domination, a horse will withdraw and will do only what’s necessary to avoid punishment.

In a true partnership, horse and rider create an energy loop, where one asks and the other gives, as with a well-timed half halt. A happy horse asks, Is this enough? A scared horse can only give as much as fear allows.

I’m thrilled with Banjo’s personality, and the life he’s beginning to show. It’s so much more fun to go through life with a friend. Neither of us is perfect, but we show up each day and try again together.

A real friend is there for you when times are tough. If you misjudge the distance to a jump, a friend makes it happen anyway. If a bird flies out of the bush on trail, a friend does his best to keep his cool.

And if you don’t make it out to the barn one day, a friend is just happier to see you the next.

How lucky we are to have friends like these!

If you want more information on rescue horses or you want to locate a rescue near you, please check out AHomeForEveryHorse.com.

Equine.com and the Active Interest Media Equine Network have joined forces with the American Horse Council’s Unwanted Horse Coalition to launch A Home for Every Horse Project. This project helps find homes for America’s 170,000 to 200,000 horses in need of care and shelter.

Here’s how it works:
• Begin the search for your next equine partner at AHomeForEveryHorse.com. You can search horses waiting for homes at nonprofit shelters across the country. Browse by rescue horse, or find rescue organizations in your area.
• Visit the site’s “Services” section to learn about your local rescue organizations. Find out how you can volunteer, donate, or simply spread the word.
• Look for upcoming stories on EquiSearch.com related to horse rescue.

If your 501(c)(3) rescue organization would like to join the Home For Every Horse Project, call (866) 467-7323, ext. 100.

Equine.com is a part of Active Interest Media Equine Network.

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