Playing (or training, depending on the point of view) with my horse Fabuloso.

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Location: Sweden


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Comment by Eliza Kristofferstuen on February 19, 2010 at 3:47am
Love it, just love it :-)
Comment by Ellen Ofstad on September 23, 2009 at 6:16pm
Thank you for the comments!
I just thought I'd put in my two cents on the safety issue that Nora Robinson mentioned.
(I don't think that giving a safety warning is being a "party pooper", in fact I agree that this is very important.)

Having said that, I don't really agree that the biggest safety issue here is whether a person playing with a horse like this uses a helmet or not. I don't mean that a helmet isn't a good idea, but I think the risk involved can be very small OR very big, depending on the horse and mostly on the persons ability to read the horses language.

I am not sure I can explain what I mean, but I'll try ;)
As a horse trainer I give clinics on different topics, one of which is communicating with horses through body language. In that clinic the participants learn to use movements to communicate to the horse as well as read what the horse is saying back to them.

There are two areas where this can be dangerous (and I talk a lot about how to keep this as safe as possible) One; the horse has aggressive tendencies (usually fear related, but dangerous none the less) and two; the person isn't aware of what the horse is saying and/or not aware of what they are communicating to the horse themselves.

And the fact is; most people have a human body language (naturally!) and this causes some conflicts with the equestrian language. It takes a lot of insight and practice to be able to respond correctly if something unexpected happens.

Horses are so much faster then humans as well as stronger, heavier and bigger. Fortunately most horses don't want to hurt anyone, they really just want to get along, but sometimes a situation can get dangerous. If the horse DID attack or lash out at a person playing with a horse the way I am in this video clip, the person would most likely be kicked or bitten somewhere on the body; and a helmet wouldn't do any good in that situation.

Again; I am not saying that a helmet is a bad thing, but I think it can give a false sense of security... the bottom line is really that people should be very careful to play with horses! Wearing a helmet is not a good way to avoid getting hurt, the most important aspect of safety here is a good understanding of how horses communicate and how they interpret our movements.

As far as the gender of the horse is concerned, a stallion can get exited in a way most mares and geldings don't, but having said that; people are more likely to get hurt from "the average horse" because they sometimes forget that all horses can be dangerous in some circumstances. Most people are more aware when they handle a stallion, but they can trust other horses blindly (and that's when they get hurt).

So, I agree with the comment on the importance of safety; please be careful and don't just "test this" with a horse without a solid understanding of horses. A helmet is not a guarantee that you will stay safe...
Comment by Nora Robinson on September 22, 2009 at 2:27pm
I enjoyed watching your enthusiasm as much as I enjoyed watching him respond to it! You obviously have a great connection with each other, which is even more important because he is a stallion, and a big guy as well! I am going to take on the role of a bit of a "party pooper" here though, and just say that I was a little worried while watching the video, because you weren't wearing a protective helmet......I just kept thinking if he suddenly got a little too exuberant and accidently struck your head......well, anything could happen. Hopefully, anyone watching this with less experience working with a stallion, would pop on a helmet before they start playing with their stallion. Please don't take this the wrong's just always safety first, for me.
Comment by Dana Bowman on September 21, 2009 at 7:35pm
Oh, he's so beautiful!! :D
That looks like so much fun, don't think my horse would catch on, though.
Has he always done that with you?
Comment by Ellen Ofstad on September 21, 2009 at 4:32am
Thank you for the nice comments :)
He is a PRE horse and what we are doing is just a matter of using bodylanguage and building on the signals a horse understands naturally. He has learned that he can figure out what I want him to do by looking at what I do, and then he tries to copy.
When he guesses right I give him a reward. Another aspect is that we both are having fun, he won't be enthusiastic unless I am; his biggest motivation is not the treats (he's actually not very into them, they are just a way to tell him he is doing it right) what really triggers him is my enthusiasm as well as enjoying figuring things out.
Comment by CM Sporthorses on September 21, 2009 at 3:45am
Awwwwwwwwwww gorgeous!!! Thanks for sharing! :)
Comment by Camille on September 20, 2009 at 4:03pm
wow that's amazing! how did you do that? it shows such a strong bond between you and your horse!
Comment by Kathleen M on September 19, 2009 at 6:07pm
omg hes soooo gorgeous what breed is he???

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