The Force of the Horse

Listening to Your Inner Horse

Commentary by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/Director of HfH Advisory Council

Listening to the Horse is the Key to Understanding

Kick up your heels for Sunday ~ photo by Terry Fitch

It’s Sunday and I am attempting to hold true to the promise that we will not publish any bad news, on this day, but instead attempt to inspire and refresh so put on your swim trunks and hold your nose, we are about to jump into that cold mountain stream.

Hopefully it has not been glaringly visible to the bulk of our readership but there has been some anger and frustration bubbling amongst commentors jut below the surface.  We have attempted to redirect and defuse it whenever possible.  There is a lot of emotion tied up very tightly within the issues that we discuss and I am knowingly guilty of stirring the pot as for me, it is carefully channeled and I know my targets well with no confusion.  But we do have a few folks that start to wave their loaded gun around and I am fearful that they may accidentally pull the trigger and wound a friend of the horses and that we cannot have.

So please allow me to reach into my bag of baloney and pull out a piece that I wrote several years ago, with any luck you may find it amusing and to some, helpful.

Enjoy your day of rest, my friends.


When it comes to writing it takes a certain bit of motivation, emotion and passion for me to commit my feelings to written word, hence, I am a total failure as a news writer.  I wish that I had the ability to simply state the facts, present the story and move on such as the talented equine writers Steven Long and John Holland manage to do; but I just don’t have it in me.  The issue has to inspire, to push and drive me to make a point.  There is always a point so I wear a hat in hopes that it does not show.   As my wife, Terry, will tell you; I am a man of a few thousand words.

So as not to disappoint I sat down, last night, and began to compile a listing of all the anti-horse events that have transpired over the past several months.  I provided details, numbers, dates and names.  I researched and documented until I was blue in the face and then sat back and looked at what I had compiled.  It was shocking, the list had grown and swelled until more words were written than I could possibly put into a short “op-ed” and to add injury to insult, I was depressed beyond words.  In fact, I was beginning to feel an emotion that I have seen percolating amongst pro-horse people and over the past several days has begun to bubble up to a rapid boil.

That’s when the red flags went up.

Today, logon to any equine advocate’s blog, check out a pro-horse website and you can quickly see that a tremendous amount of justified frustration and pain is turning into something that, if not channeled correctly, could precipitate into the demise of all that we have worked for in attempting to help the horses.  That singular, destructive and dead-end element is nothing more than all-American, apple pie, stick in your throat Anger.

There is nothing inherently wrong with feeling angry, Lord knows there is good reason, but a word of caution is justifiably due.  If we allow this emotion to mindlessly drive us down the same dark and slippery trail that the anti-horse people are traveling, we have truly failed.  The other side has a gigantic lead down the center of that abyss and the land of negativity is somewhere we do not want to go; not now, not ever.

Take a moment and consider all of this from the horse’s perspective.  That’s right, think like a horse for a second and listen to what they have to say.  Do you believe that the horses are angry?  I think not.

The wild horses are frightened, frustrated and possibly lonely from having their families and homes destroyed but they don’t know anger as we humans do.  In fact, they run from it.

What’s the number #1 rule that you impose upon yourself when you feel angry at your horse?  Isn’t it to turn and walk out of the pasture as when you are angry you then repel the horse as you become the predator?

Perhaps there is a lesson learned there.

If we seek to effect change, then maybe we had better start thinking like horse trainers versus horse “breakers”.  Perhaps there is more to be gained from building relationships versus ramming our point of view down our opponent’s throats.

Maybe if we attempt to display confidence, exhibit leadership, provide examples of success and clarity in the direction that we would prefer to travel then like a horse, our former opponents might be more receptive to our perspective.

If, like a compassionate trainer, we can clearly show that our path is the way of least resistance and the destination is the most comfortable place to be, then perchance we may cultivate more converts versus alienating the very horse that we are trying to train.

When we first approach a horse, who we wish to build a relationship with, we already know that the horse sees the world from a different perspective.  We are fully aware that he does not trust us and that the horse has a mind of its own and will want to do what he wants to do.  The horse is going to push and shove to go where he wants to go; until we can gently persuade him to do otherwise.

Is that not an exact definition of those whom we are most angry with right now?

Perhaps we should step away from our computer screens for a moment, take a deep breath, and put our horsemanship hats on.  If you have equine friends, now would be a good time to spend a few quiet moments with them and tune into their wavelengths.  Listen, for a change, instead of talking “to” them; recharge your emotional batteries.

If a friendly horse is not nearby; then close your eyes and imagine that high, lush, mountain meadow with vividly colored wild flowers at your feet.  You look about and see the small herd of wild horses calmly grazing around you while the only sounds that you hear are their subtle chewing and the cry of a distant hawk.  Tune in, breath deep and decompress.

Now; shake it off, put on your boots, slip into your chinks and head for the round pen.

We do a great job of convincing horses to behave as we desire so let’s give it a shot with humans and see where we go.  Instead of a carrot stick it might be a pen.  Maybe a keyboard will take the place of a lunge line or a telephone might supplant a savvy string but the tools are there, the knowledge is present and the desire is bursting at the seams.

Let’s stand united, suck it up and go train ourselves some horse advocates!

There is nowhere to go but up!

May the Force of the Horse be with you all.

34 replies »

  1. OK. So maybe WE need to ‘dig a few ditches’? Good idea and a positive way to channel those emotions as we decide it is in fact our idea to do so….
    Sometimes when posting in response to a particularly vile issue re. the horses, I could almost let loose with the language not fit for print, and throw around some nasty name calling….then I think about the horses, and how my inability to control my emotions will not in any way help the cause…so I don’t reply. Instead I go to the barn and bury my face in a horse’s neck….amazing how much better I feel and how much they appreciate the extra attention!
    I’m gonna go kiss a horse! Happy Sunday!


  2. Thanks RT. I enjoyed your bag of baloney. It is imperative not to lose focus what our mission is about. We all have energy, sorrow, anger that can/must be turned to accomplish our goal. We can all make choices, good ones or bad ones – with one thing in mind, and that is to be the ambassador for the horses, mustangs and burros. The blue in heaven is larger than any cloud, and our love and respect for the equines doesn’t make the world go round, but it makes the ride worthwhile. We can all make a difference. The wildest colts make the best horses… but goodness is the one investment that never fails. God gives every bird its food, but he does not throw it into the nest. The horses depend on us, when all hope seems lost, don’t hesitate to try the impossible, but always with the horse in mind: In their service, as their voice, as their guardian and protector – then your life is truly worthwhile. Unity makes us stronger – and having faith in our mission is knowing there is an ocean, because there is a brook…. For the horses’ sake, stay focused !


  3. Thank you R.T.
    That is why We (very few Trainers) choose Persuasive Methods OVER Coercive Methods .
    You have to be able to think like a horse in order to be able to choose Persuasive methods over Coercive methods ,
    UNFORTUNATELY , these methods (Coercive) are natural to us , Why ? because we are a PREDATOR , aggressive species but the Horse , by contrast , is a Prey species and Prey animals never choose Coercive methods over Persuasive methods.

    Why then have coercive methods been the principle training techniques use by all human cultures ?
    It is because such methods are natural to us . We are a predatory , aggressive species and this is generally more true if we are young and male .
    We use the same methods for each other among us , among one and other .

    The horse, by contrast , is a prey species . it is timid and easily frightened . Its response to fear is Flight .

    Thank you and Bless you ,
    Take Care ,


  4. A 3 year old Carmen sums it all up in 3 simple words, ” DON’T HURT HORSES !! ”
    I don’t think that is too much to ask.


  5. You are right, thank you.

    I find it is very easy to lose any sign of a positive attitude the further I delve into this WH&B tragedy and when that happens I remember what a friend recently told me, “Yes, it is discouraging at times, but this urges us on to take the long term view of life and to focus on the positive aspects and not be drawn down just by what appears to be so negative…I realize that horse kind had been here on this planet Earth for many millions of years in all kinds of circumstances and naturally free upon the land and that they will be again free … ”

    I then remind myself it is not at all about “me” … IT IS ALL ABOUT THE WILD ONES.


  6. R.T.:

    I was going to pm you with concerns about this very issue. Once again, you are on the ball and way ahead. Thank you for what you did, what you posted and the reminders.

    Besides, I have a new email address and laptop without any of my old contacts. I kept sitting on my fingers not to reply with what I was thinking and turn into a comment. I kept saying to myself, if what I see is not right someone will say or do something…and you did.

    The force of the horse is some pretty powerful stuff!


  7. Anger is often what gives us the energy and strength to fight the continual assault on wild horses. RT you don’t need to apologize for getting angry and ranting about the outrageous. The people who are looking to cash in on the wild horses and horses bound for slaughter aren’t getting their feelings hurt by your words. Nor are the government officials who have a big stake in the millions of tax dollars coming into their seriously flawed Wild Horse and Burro Program. Wild horse and horse advocates are not wanted in the discussion at conferences or hearings. In fact, true advocates for horses are seen as something to appease and manipulate in the hopes they will simmer down and not cause a public relations nightmare. Watching the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board hearing in Phoenix I was amazed at how even when advisory board members saw the anger from the wild horse and burro advocates they never asked why? Why are these people so angry? Instead, it was more how to manage all the anger in the room. Well, managing it is much different than real listening, isn’t it? And anger grows when it is not acknowledged and genuinely addressed. I say Never Shut Up until our wild horses are allowed to live on our and their rightful public lands and no horses are callously slaughtered!


    • The methods used to communicate with horses, since they are fearful and intimidated easily, will not work on the Humans who want to torture, abuse, and murder Our Horses. Those Humans have to be dealt with on THEIR LEVEL, something THEY will understand…I say let them have it with both barrels… Love & Peace won’t work on them.


  8. Violence – and anger – are the simple solutions to anything, and it produces the quickest results. It takes an incredible amount of energy to produce and maintain love. But Love produces more results and better results. Love is stronger than anger, but when we learn to truly love, then we learn what is within ourselves.


    • You could be right Kerry, but Love won’t work on Sociopathic, Psychotic, Non Empaths who Torture, Abuse and Murder Our Horses. Sure Love takes a lot of Energy, but we don’t have time to learn how to use it. This is WAR, from my viewpoint. What if ALL U.S. Soldiers who are presently engaged in one of our “Wars” suddenly decided to lay down their weapons and start loving the Enemy. I wonder how long they would survive doing that…..


      • Judy you said it right,I do agree with you.The problem when you are dealing with Politicos and their cohorts are there are always Hidden Agendas usually $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


  9. This is a war to be sure. But this kind of war is where the pen, the tweet and the blog are mightier than the sword. I really do believe there are more of the people who would support the horses than those against them.

    The challenge is to get their attention. Fireworks not bullets. Education not ignorant slander. Facts to counter the lies.

    They call horses and other animals ‘dumb beasts’. We may be smart, but in some ways they are the ones with wisdom. I’ve seen horses freaked out by something get all upset. Five minutes later it’s all behind them and they are calmly munching hay. There is a lesson in that.


  10. Thank, RT — One thing to think about isn’t whether the anger is justified, or whether BLM et al deserve it, but how it might affect the many many people we need to side with us and call congress, sign petitions, lend their voices, etc. — The anger and harsh language may offend those who want to help, and need to engage in the issues from a positive position — that they are FOR something, not AGAINST something. We need them, and I’m often concerned that the tone of the comments will unfortunately turn them off. It even turns me off, sometimes! And, it would be foolish to criticize those supporters and potential supporters as not being committed enough. The horses know there’s safety in the herd, let’s not become marginalized, that just plays into the very hands of those we need to stop.


  11. I have to say that today, Sunday, my family & I enjoyed a wonderful, peaceful day with horses! 🙂 After my daughter was done working with the sweet horse we’re leasing for her, I shared my bottle of water with the horse. Nothing like a horse’s wet, slobbery tongue lapping up cold water from your cupped hand! Awesome! Times spent like this do wonders to relax your mind & ease all your anger, & makes you want to fight that much harder to protect such special beings!! Hope everyone had a nice weekend.


  12. The hardest thing to do when more needless round ups are around the corner, and nothing we have done can make it stop I sit here with stomach in knots, because I fear for the Wild Ones, I feel their pain……. We all know the scenario , they do not they trust because they are innocent of all guilt,,,,,,,,,,,,We all know that its going to be an other disaster and blood bath for innocence, ones we have made laws to protect, and the BLM will and has destroyed…………….with no consequences , its having your hands tied behind your back not being able to stop them and have to watch something you love be tortured and maimed for just Greed ………………..They have no idea why this is happening to them?????We are their caretakers , why? All of this has been happening to them for many years and still we remain helpless to stop the insanity…. The frustration is of course is mounting, because just like them we also have feelings, difference is we have the ability to calculate what is forth coming the Wild Ones dont,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, If they knew like us they would run and hide, but it is not in their realm to do…..they can issue no form of defense, they have to rely on their caretakers to save them…………….Right now it is hard to be a human who loves them…………………………especially when we cannot offer them safety,,,,and shelter from the Beasts,,,,,,,,,,,,,


  13. The internet changed everything. Information ( and mis-information) are there at the click of the mouse. Governments have crumbled, and opinions on everything keep shifting like the glass shapes in a kaleidoscope. Now there are petitions to click/sign and news travels around the world in seconds. The horses just haven’t kept up with these modern contraptions. And that is their gift to us. It is why we are angry and boiling –to lose the gift of their beauty and freedom and simplicity is not an option. We must use the modern tools to save them. I just wish that those “others” could/would view the wild horses as a source of peace and inspiration. Onward! Thanks RT.


  14. If I am listening to my inner horse he asks me to stand up for him, as he has stood up for me…………………………………..without question………………..


  15. Thanks, R.T. It’s time to rethink our strategies. As for those of you who declare this to be “a war” – I can only say what I say to humans who consider that a valid option – if “war” really “worked” or actually accomplished anything, this would be the most peaceful planet in the galaxies! How many more (two-legged or four-legged) have to be maimed or killed before we “get it” and realize that “eye for an eye” crap has been going on for centuries with no end in sight! Maybe there’s another way – if we are willing to look for it. Blessed Be.


  16. I often spend an hour craftng a response only to delete it for fear it is too our there. Please feel free to not post anything I write that you feel could end up hurting our cause since you may know better who our friends are.

    One of the most frustrating aspects about working with a horse rescue has been how much conflict can get started by a simple difference of opintion. Some people take other people’s comments way out of context, get angry, and then either quit or walk around angry all the time. Horse people are very passionate. Some of us have traveled around and been in a variety of different boarding/lesson environments while others may have stayed on one place and visited the same places. They may be experts on what they know, but not open to other ways of doing things. I have seem some really discouraging behavior. We cannot forget that we are here for the horses. If we are here for anything else, then we are in the wrong place.

    One of the things that is difficult for me is that I have done so much research, my brain just overflows with details. When I look at this issues I can see it within the context of other issues that are also, I believe, detrimental to our country. Information is finally starting to make sense to me in a senseless way. But what to do with this? Who do you tell? How do you choose your words—other than very carefully. I write and then delete delete delete.


  17. Here is a lovely essay by a 16 yo Canadian girl, Tessa – check out her facebook “For the Love of Our Horses” – Tessa shares, on her basic info page that she believe, “…that the key to preserving our wild horses and ending the slaughter/PMU industries is to work together and educate. The more people that know of the horrors these beautiful creatures endure means that more people are going to join the fight. And the more people fighting, the louder our voice is, until that special day comes when our voices are heard and our goal is reached.”

    Here is her essay:

    Why We Do What We Do
    by For The Love Of Our Horses on Sunday, June 5, 2011 at 5:08am

    Why do I spend all my free time cross-posting, emailing, writing and sharing? Why do I spend all my spare cash, all my spare time, all my spare brain-capacity for these horses, mine and others? Because, I know what’s right, I know what’s wrong. I know the sheer joy, the high of knowing that I helped to save a life. I know the sadness, the heartache of when we can’t save one. I know the true feeling of beauty when I see those once-sad eyes start to brighten, or when I hear that nicker of greeting, or when I see two babies finally have the energy to play for their first time.
    Not all of them are mine, some I will never meet. But their lives are just as important to me.
    I have my goals in mind, to ensure that one day no horse will be standing in a kill pen. That no horse will be in a crowded, dirty trailer on a very long journey with no food or water. That no horse will have to hear his friend’s death and know that his is next. That no horse will be whipped or stunned into the kill box. That no horse will be shot, once, twice or more. That no horse will be still conscious as he is hung up by one leg and his throat is slit. That NO horse will ever be slaughtered. One day.
    That the wild mustangs can truely run free with out being rounded up for slaughter. That herds will thrive like Nature intended it. One day.
    That Stephan Harper and all of his clowns will one day realize that they fucked up, pardon me, when the mustangs are barely there and he will say “Darn it, those tree-huggers were right!” Because we are 😉
    Here is why I do it:
    To fall in love with a horse, as pretty as a unicorn and one day have to say goodbye to her and know she isn’t going somewhere good. That happened to me.
    To adopt precious babies and see them start to play, their eyes shining finally. This also happened to me.
    To read the stories, watch the videos. I’ve seen them all.
    To know that horses are being killed while I type. I know.
    To not be able to save them all…
    … but do the best you can.
    That is why I do what I do.
    That is why we do what we do.
    For our horses.
    -Tessa Aliece


  18. I love to read all the comments. I can almost see the emotions in all of our emails.
    RT, the wheels of justice seem to move at a snails pace. It is frustrating to all of
    us to read and see some of the injustices continuing to be done to our beautiful horses. Americans get angry when they think no body is listening. I remember
    years ago reading about Wild Horse Annie and how she continued her fight to protect the Wild Horses and Burros. The legislation was finally passed and to her
    credit she fought the fight and won. But in the swipe of a pen early one morning
    in Washington,D.C. her precious horses where again but in peril. If you haven’t
    read her book, take a look. I believe that could have been a time when
    you might have been able to find what I call honest legislators. It is a totally
    differnt day – It sometimes becomes I give you a vote and will call my vote on
    another issue. However, WE NEVER CAN GIVE UP THE FIGHT AND MUST
    UP IT IS. I do believe there is moment by continuing the calls, letters and anything
    else we can do for our horses. I do not live in Nevada, but the horses in Nevada
    belong to us all as well as those in other states. I do not spend alot of time if
    any on Facebook. After reading this short article on Tuesday’s Horse, I don’t
    think I want too. RT don’t be so hard on yourself. You keep us informed and I
    can only imagine how hard it is for you to write some of the articles. We must also
    remember horses are more in tuned than you think. They DO NOT HAVE A
    VOICE SO WE MUST BE THEIR VOICE! We are many in numbers from all
    corners of the country. Think wonderful thoughts, but remember one day our
    horses both domestic and wild plus our little burros will be free from torment,
    cruelty and torture.


  19. The anger is justified and anger is energy…when channeled correctly. JUST DON’T TURN IT ON EACH OTHER.


  20. This a very wise my humble opinion..
    Take sides! Neutrality helps the oppressor..Never the victim..
    Silence encourages the tormentor; Never the tormented..
    By Elie Wiesel…
    As we sit and watch the annilation of North America’s wild horse..We all should be able to see why this is still happening..People aren’t gathering to make a big enough noise about it.. The world needs to know.. The goverment has to be shamed in the world’s eyes to stop what is happening to the wild horse..Think about the changes that have been done in the world thru people gathering..In China.. In the Middle East..If the true horse advocates stood together and said enough and I’m not talking about 20-30 people for one morning ..WE aren’t going away till it’s stopped..This is what all horse advocates have to do..Advocates by the hundreds..Together till it’s done..Then and only then, it will stop..Nobody needs to be run over by a tank..Or trailer unit loaded with YOUR horses,, No store windows broke or cars burnt..Just loud voices and lots of people..Showing the world thru media coverage what has to be stopped..And why..Only then will the goverment stop the slaughter of the wild horse..Only when the world asks Why is it being done ?? Why are they allowing this world known ICON to be death run to extinction ??


    • While we are quoting a quotation that I feel is fitting is by M.Ghandi – THE WORLD IS A DANGEROUS PLACE NOT COS THOSE THAT DO EVIL BUT THOSE THAT LOOK ON AND DO NOTHING..
      The way this planet is going ably run by SATANS WORKFORCE the POLITICIANS.The next generation will grow up asking their parents MOMMY WHAT IS HORSE?Same questions will be asked about most of the other living creatures that cannot cast a vote so are of little use to the POLITICOS.


    • Dear Jim, You make a lot of sense , all you say is true, we must save them we are their caretakers, they are our charge , the BLM is nothing but a destroyer , corrupted with greed………………….. all on the life’s of Americas Icons , the BLM is a Land Management agency , Who gives them the charge of Our Wild Mustangs.?????? I dont remember appointing them to be in Charge of Our Mustangs do you????? They are using them to line their pockets with MONEY, Our Mustangs are not about money, they are about Pride, power, trust, courage, they are the American Ambassadors of FREEDOM…………….We as their caretakers need lo disengage the BLM>>>>>>>>>>>


  21. From famous quotes…………….
    I have seen things so beautiful, that they have brought tears to my eyes. Yet, none of them can match the gracefulness and beauty of a horse running free.


  22. What I have seen and read and felt from people the past 6 months or so has been more along the lines of jealousy and ignorance and not anger. I have learned so much from so many in a couple years that it has allowed me to do more than I ever thought I could. At the same time I have been amid madness and denial and seen how intimidation affects everyone. I mean everyone. The horses are about to be attacked by helicopters again. Will the begrudgers resurface and weigh down the goal seekers and the most accomplished folks we have? In wanting to expand the nation’s awareness we also touch many confused hearts and minds. Freedom of speech, though, does not mean freedom to slander. Great harm has been done and it has taken from the focus and the needs of the wild ones. Restore your goals and focus. Restore your love of the wild family bands. The love we find in us for them is meant to heal us and keep us from doing harm. Respect each other even when you do not like each other. There is a code. It is all common sense. Do what you will and hurt no one. We have truth and freedom to defend. Wild horses running free are the truest symbols we possess. Now we must save them from their captors.


  23. The very lives of Our Mustangs are at stake here,there is nothing i would ever do to jeopardize their freedom or compromise it . It is very dear to my heart…………………..that we as a group save these beautiful Mustangs, I cannot bare to know that they are about to be terrorized again….If only we could stop this horror from happening again, I work very hard everyday for them and their freedom we have promised to them……..We cannot let their their beauty and presence vanish from us in this horrible manner of greed………….There is away to stop this and one of us here is going to find it…………….They are granted by the grace of God with the tools they need to survive , they adapt to everything that the BLM murders throw at them , there are many reasons they are here, of this I know, They belong here as sure as we do…………………….They are for our future ……………….they are our past…they are the most valuable thing that is in the US now or ever will be here, if only all could see this, i only have to be near them to know this…………………..Their actions and adaptability speaks loud and clear to me…………… they dont need to udder a word for me to know …………. The BLM is made up of a bunch of fools…………….their thinking is and has been proof of this……………………………Greed is their downfall , Love is our weapon….


    • Arlene, To tell you the truth, I see no reason why our government has not responded to us. I see no reason except the worse greed for allowing this to continue. We want this violence against our wild horses to end. So it should! I feel we have been ignored as the predominantly white woman horse oriented people we are. I see that as prejudice they think they can get away with.

      There are reasons the government has allowed this to continue regardless of our attempt to end it. They are cowards for not being part of the debate… we cannot even debate with BLM as they so rarely are able to tell the truth.

      It our goal to end this madness that has stolen so many wild lives from their legal range. I want it to end right now. There certainly are ways to deal with this crisis that would no longer destroy wild horses lives and those of the burros, also. Why have we had no real dialogue? Why does the government not recognize the facts and the truth? It is not convenient for them to, I think.


  24. Thank You Friend of Adobe town horses, For 8 years, i have watch, pleaded with officials everywhere to stop this udder insanity…I will never understand why, and there is no excuse for the treatment Our Mustangs are receiving from our government, whom of all people should be the first to realize and know that the MUSTANG is America, plain and simple , his contributions, he is our backbone…..there is nothing else that encompasses the true meaning of freedom as well as they do…………………………. For this if only this they deserve to be free………………….


Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.