Archives MAIN PAGE

Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

loving an ex-racehorse back into connection

For the last year and half I've fostered a retired race horse. We haven't ridden her but a handful of times in the round pen, and have been doing ground work for about 5 months. Before that she had about two years off after leaving the track. She is relaxed and generally cooperative and seems to love the round pen work, but feels "absent" to me much of the time. A person familiar with the language of horses recently spent some time with her and said that she thinks that the mare was isolated from horses from an early age, or, as she put it, "she never learned 'horse'."

So now the mare lives with us. I stand with her more than "work" with her. And simply touch her more than put tack on her. She has given me glimpses that she might be bonding with me (a low happy whinny when I returned from a week away, and shortly after that running in from the pasture to stop before me with her head down after they'd already been fed for the night.) She and her pasture mate have become close and he is a stable, happy, well adjusted horse.

So my question to you is this: Can I, an affectionate, intelligent, and patient person, help this girl find a path back to feeling connected, wanted, and safe in the world? She has a spark in her I'd like to nurture. Is it too late?


Hello Aron,

Good question. In this case horses are a lot like humans. If a human remains somewhat outside of the realm of 'relationship education', not ever fully or appropriately becoming accustomed to normal human relations and relationship for a long enough period of time, there is a chance they will never completely 'socialize' (form normal relationships). But there is also, given enough time and skillful 'love' therapy, the chance they will. It is my experience that time, love, skillful leadership based on developing trust and a lot of fun, interaction with a human, the miracle of trust for a horse can happen. Good luck and go for it.....

Sincerely, Franklin

Look for: