Blogger Davis Finch finds his voice and his truth in writing another thoughtful piece for the Square Peg website.
Horses are prey animals; they are constantly in fear of a predator that wants to eat them. I have had bad anxiety all my life. Often I feel like a prey animal. Like horses, I am big and could subdue most would be attackers but, also like horses, I still fear attack from a stronger force that I cannot subdue. Horses fear of real predators such as mountain lions and coyotes has been an evolutionary necessity for them. They also have irrational fears of harmless things such as floating plastic bags, tarps blowing in the wind, and poles on the ground.
My anxiety has likely helped me by tempering my curiosity but can also result in persistent negative thoughts about confinement or death. It is funny how I kept worrying about farfetched sources of harm but didn’t think to check where my dog was when I ran through the house in the middle of the night (I had a very bad fall). Similarly, a horse could be freaking out about puddles and shadows but not colic and pasture accidents.
I guess we all have fears both rational and irrational. Good horsemanship is earning the trust of a horse so he will follow you over his instinctual fears. Maybe we humans can learn something from that? Maybe if I can trust myself, I too can overcome my innate fears. I know I have abnormally high anxiety, but perhaps those feelings of trust and fear are true for most people. Perhaps, even though we can hunt and eat meat, humans are innately prey animals too.