Conformation is the way a horse is put together and can vary between breeds. These variations are both natural (depending on a breed’s ancesty), and manmade (from our selective breeding of physical traits).
There is a saying that “you can kill with kindness”, and it is very true when we talk about how some people feed, overfeed or feed the wrong things to their horses.
All mammals, including humans, have five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Horses are no different. However, compared to humans, their evolution has increased their sensitivity in nearly all of their senses.
Understanding how a horse sees, what it sees and what it doesn’t see is so important to the way we handle horses and what we ask them to do.
Horses have better hearing than humans, and their big advantage is that they can move their ears 180° and we can’t. This means they can detect a sound, determine its location and recognise what the sound is very quickly.
If you thought that a horse’s eyesight was incredible and their hearing amazing, then we can only describe their sense of smell as mindboggling!
Although some people believe that horses have an inbuilt sense about their nutritional needs, all the scientific research screams the opposite.
Horses have an acute sense of touch and their entire body has the same sensitivity as our fingertips. Therefore, touch is the most important tool we have when we communicate with or train our horses.