Horses know more than we think

Teddie with Apollo (23) (Maryland, 2019). © Photo: Mark Mottershead, caption: Berrnd Paschel

Maryland, USA (Weltexpress). Combining scientific research, 40+ years of ‘in the field’ experience and my first hand knowledge of horses, I developed Polarity Training™ to help everyday horse owners bridge the divide between humans and horses to create the relationship that they seek with their own horse.


It’s easy for us humans to forget that we come from the opposite end of the Predator-Prey Spectrum to horses and yet we expect them to bend to our will. What we need to understand is that until we start to communicate with horses on their terms not ours, we won’t be able to develop a real connection with them.  And without a real connection, the communication and the companionship will always be missing something.

This situation is then further exacerbated because what is being taught by many, many horse trainers has absolutely no basis in Equine Ethology (the science of natural horse behavior). Their advice is often misleading at best and at worst very damaging to the welfare of the horse and has left many horse owners using techniques which lead to Equine Stress.

Horses among themselves in small talk (Maryland, 2019). © Photo: Mark Mottershead, caption: Berrnd Paschel

Science and experience

So using my background in behavioral psychology, I studied the scientific evidence and combined it with my own personal experience to provide an approach for you that is not only scientifically valid, but is also true to my heart and hopefully to yours too.

The Intention

I really want more people to experience the joy that my students and I do with our horses. That is why I am sharing this information with you, to help you and your horse have the best of what you want in life together. I give my horses a lot of credit and believe that they are teachers, healers, best friends, and family.  But sometimes we humans don’t give them enough credit. I’ve heard lots of wonderful stories and read lots of research that shows horses can intuitively see right through a person and know who we really are.  Horses know how we’re feeling, and sometimes they know even more so than then we do ourselves. They can even hear your heartbeat before you come around the corner to see them.  Horses also have a way of naturally calming us down and making us feel loved.

They are amazing.  Just like humans though, horses have different individual personalities and different intellectual abilities.  Some smarter than others and some more opinionated and vocal than others. But nonetheless, all of them are wonderful creatures that most of the time, we don’t give enough credit.

My boys always know how I’m feeling.  They will be soft and gentle when I’m sad or not feeling well.  They are energetic and playful when I’m happy and energetic myself.  We seem to feed off of each other and help each other.

Kit (24) is a handsome, black and gentle stallion with empathetic skills (Maryland, 2019). © Photo: Mark Mottershead, caption: Berrnd Paschel

An example from everyday life with my horses

This week one of the Stallions that I’m training did something that really surprised me.  Kit is a sweet, gentle, 24-year-old Egyptian Arabian stallion that has an incredible lineage.  He has done very well in his training and he is very smart. He seems to always be watching closely and thinking about everything that happens. He is a fascinating horse to observe.  And I guess he has been observing me too.

As many of you know, when you hurt yourself sometimes your body compensates and makes adjustments naturally.  For instance, when you badly sprain your ankle and you limp on your left leg, your body compensates and will put more pressure on your right leg so your left leg can heal.  The bad part about that natural adjustment is that your body can put too much pressure on your right hip which could cause other problems.

Well, when I had surgery on my shoulder, somehow when my body made adjustments and it moved my back out of alignment. Not too badly, but enough that when my shoulder healed I decided to go to a chiropractor for help. So, I made an appointment. The day of my appointment I went out to see the horses and groom them. The first horse I went to groom was Kit.

I’m used to my horses grooming me while I groom them and Kit is a very cuddly horse. So, it was no surprise that while I was grooming him that he was gently touching my legs and my arms. What surprised me was what happened next.

Once I started brushing Kit’s legs and was bent over, Kit started to sniff my back. This was different. I started to pay more attention to what he was doing than me actually brushing his legs. I continued but was focused on his mannerisms. Kit was very calculated now. He had finished sniffing and was now gently touching a few areas on my back. Then when he got to my shoulder, the backside of my shoulder, he stopped. He then started pressing down as if he was massaging my back. All of this with his nose and lips.

Horses among themselves in small talk (Maryland, 2019). © Photo: Mark Mottershead, caption: Berrnd Paschel

I wish I had brought my video because I wouldn’t have believed what happened without it happening to me. Kit was now pressing down in very specific spots on my back with varying degrees of pressure. It wasn’t just randomly touching and pushing. This was very calculated and specific. Kit was on a mission to fix what was broken.

Somehow, he knew that my back was hurting and exactly where it was hurting. I just sat there bent over as he massaged my back and it felt wonderful. Then before I knew it, Kit pressed on one particular spot and pressed hard and “pop” went my back. But it was a good “pop”. He actually had put my back into alignment. I felt the shift in my back all the way up to my eyes. Kit adjusted my back just as well as my chiropractor.

Right after he fixed my back he moved his head and just went back to being a normal horse getting groomed. He knew exactly what he was doing and now that he had fixed my back, he was done. He didn’t touch my back again. I was very grateful for his fix as I was now out of pain and felt much better.

I know that some horses are able to see illness or injury in humans and that they are very healing to be around, emotionally, spiritually, and physically through energy. But, I never would have thought that they were capable of physically fixing injuries like Kit did for me. But I wouldn’t have seen it and probably wouldn’t have noticed if I had not paid close attention to what kit was doing and why.

The lesson in today’s story is to never underestimate your horse, his abilities, his intelligence, or his love for you. And to really observe your horse in every interaction because he might have a surprise to show you too.

Happy Horses!

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