What is a horse?

Published on 23 April 2023 at 15:24

What horses REALLY want you to know

Is, that everything that is to know is out there. Right in front of you. If you only cared to look for it.

But there is so much info out there, how do I know what is best for my horse if so many information is contradictive and endless fights and discussions about these contradictive information occur.

The answer:

Simplify and go back to basics.

“Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication”

- Leonardo da Vinci

Forget all what you do with or buy for horses, forget all the arenas, matching sets, colourful feed packages, complicated supplementation, training systems and endless tack and ‘training aid’ choices. Forget all of that and just look at what we have here: a horse.

What is a horse?

A horse is a prey animal, a flight animal
A horse is herd animal, social, family and friends orientated
A horse is a grassy plain animal
A horse is a herbivore, grazer.
A horse has hooves that are designed to wear off thru movement, assist with bodily functions, shock absorption and skeletal alignment.
A horse uses movement to communicate and to stay fit and healthy

This is how mother nature designed and shaped the modern horse over the course of millions of years. A few millennia of human interference have not been able to change that. The horse, even domesticated, is still all of the above.

Keeping horses in alignment with what a horse is, and needs, is what keeps horses healthy and happy, there is no way around that.

There is a word for that:

Specie appropriate.

Well, okay two words.

All the (simple) answers to either preventing problems or curing them (if not to late) are all there, right in front of us. It cannot be more simple. Keep, feed and train your horse specie appropriate.


In practice that means:

You approach and train your horse in line with his prey animal nature and flight responsive instinct. This means giving the horse freedom to flee and leave, giving the horse choice to participate, or in short, working without punishment and via positive reinforcement is most specie appropriate. The only thing you as a human have to do, is educate yourself on how that works and apply it.

You make sure your horse has at least one equine friend or family member, but rather more. Let your horse form his own family band with which he is free to interact and ‘roam’. The best way to reach that is some sort of a track system. You, human, have to find ways to create this for your horse, or find places were this is available to your horse. Demand creates supply, and if all horse owners demand specie appropriate liveries, that is what will arise. Be clear about what you want to pay for and what not.
Horses need to graze all day, but not on our cultivated high starch milk cow grass. The next best solution is to offer high quality, high fibre roughage for your horse (almost) around the clock or on many daily intervals. What your horse does not need are starchy and sugary processed feeds with added chemicals, no matter how beautiful the bag is, it comes in. Your horse needs vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and protein instead. Find out what is healthy and specie appropriate.

The biggest blind spot I find with owners and even vets and… yes, farriers, is the correct anatomic angles and function of the hooves. It is high time that owners educate themselves on what a feral horse’s hoof looks like and how it functions. This is your starters point for your horse. Let the hoof shape support the function of the foot, leg and whole skeleton. The hoof needs the right shape and angle, not the shoe. The wrong food has very detrimental effect on hoof quality and function as well. Educate yourself on anatomical correct hoof trimming so you can make the right decisions concerning vet and farrier care.
Free movement is what keeps horses healthy, which brings us back to horses being able to live, at least the largest part of the day, free roaming with equine friends they love and trust. That same movement is the horse’s language. Understanding that and knowing how to convey messages back with your own body languages, helps to keep your horse happy and healthy and recognizes mental or physical issues way early and fix them.

This is all connected, it is one big circle that continuously circles back to ‘what is a horse’ and what is specie appropriate for a horse.

Of course, there is more to it, like dental care, saddle and tack fitting, herbal supplementation, rugging, deworming, vaccination etc.


All of which you shall find explained, in this book:

For the love of Horses,




© All rights reserved Josepha Guillaume - Dressage in Hand


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