Finding Time For Your Horse
Dr. Weiss, please help me. I’m 15 years old, and I got the horse of my dreams about a year ago. She is around nine years old and 14 hands. I haven't yet ridden her because my parents are scared of horses, and they didn't want me to ride her until an "experienced" person would be available to help me. That never happened, but I still spent lots of time with her, at least in the beginning.
As a result of joining a school sports team, I didn’t see my horse for a few months. When the season ended, I resumed my regular visitsbut now she is different. The walks in the field we had together have now turned into her chasing me. The happy grooming sessions we had have been replaced with her biting and kicking me.
What is wrong? She hates me!! I cry every time I visit her, because I feel that she is punishing me for being a bad horse owner. I miss her, and I feel so guilty. How can I heal my relationship with my horse and get her to respect me?
Laura, thank you for your question. As you have discovered, horses require lots of time and attention. They are herd animals, and if they are not given the opportunity to bond with other horses, they need the bond with their humans even more. It is possible that part of what you are seeing is a bored and frustrated horse who has learned some inappropriate ways to interact in your absence.
It is also possible that she is having some hormone issues, so I would recommend you have a vet conduct a thorough exam.
You may want to consider arranging a co-guardianship with another horse lover to help assure that she receives the attention and exercise that she likely needs.
Finally, read through some of the other Q&As for some ideas on enrichment activities for your horse. Good luck to both of you!