Please Don’t Pet My Horse: A word about touch

Balance, Trust, and Respect

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People who come to my barn are probably befuddled by my posted sign:  “Please do not feed or touch the horses.”  While many of my clients are familiar with my request that my horses not be hand fed, for reasons I will get into here, no petting to some might seem a bit harsh or confusing.  I’ll try illuminate the seemingly odd request.

Some people are extroverted.  Some are introverted.  Some people like to hug, while to others the thought of being touched by a stranger makes their skin crawl.  Anyone requiring a larger “bubble” knows the discomfort of being forcibly snuggled by a well meaning person without feel for the their body language.  People omit feels just the way horses do, which are either inviting, closed off, accepting, listening, or not.  Many people seem to talk without noticing whether the other party is engaged or listening, but a person…

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