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Is Your Horse Honest Under Saddle?

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

We have a wide range of terms we use to describe horse behavior and attitude. "Being honest" is one such description.

What Is an Honest Horse?

An honest horse....

It sounds good, doesn't it? Wouldn't we rather have an honest horse than one that lies, cheats, or deceives?

That's the human definition that's the opposite of honest - one who up to no darn good. A dishonest person, or horse, could cause us trouble or pain, and is someone it would behoove us to avoid.

Can Horses be Dishonest?

Horses are as honest as they come. They express their true feelings through their behavior. Sometimes that behavior is subtle. Sometimes it's delivered with an intense ROAR!

Their feelings, and natural feelings may be suppressed, or we may miss them entirely. We can often misinterpret them as being dishonest or even, honest when what they really are is a reflection of how the horse is feeling and/or responding to the environment at that moment in time.

Be Careful What You Wish For

A horse that's super compliant and doesn't take a wrong step might be content, comfortable, and willing if not motivated, to cooperate.

The horse could also have learned to avoid conflict by being super compliant and not taking a wrong step.

Is That a Problem?

It could be because the horse may be living with pent up anxiety, aggression, or even pain. These can build up over time until the pressure cooker explodes. The horse can also be further damaged physically if he's working "through pain" and emotionally because of the high stress levels he's enduring.

New Words

Let's come up with more accurate ways to describe our horses. How about relaxed posture, consistent gaits, and a soft interested expression.

Let's forgo the concept of equine honesty and instead, honor the horse.


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