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Understanding PTSD with Horses,
By Robert Gonzales
My Equine Development Program for horses (Labeled Problem Horses) helps get horses out of their DARK place, to become mentally, emotionally and physically balanced.I’ve seen it hundreds of times. People often chalk up misbehavior as “naughty, bad, disrespectful, or stupid.” Chronic behaviors like cribbing, bucking, bolting, rearing, sudden reactions from seemingly nothing, chasing, ear pinning, tongue or mouth displacement, grinding teeth, and many more can be signs of something going on DEEP inside the horse. I always give the horse the benefit of the doubt when someone tells me the horse is being aggressive or shut down. More often than not, when you get a clearer picture of the history what each horse has experienced you start to see why they react the way they do. Sometimes you don’t know the whole history. For example, you don’t remember when your horse was mistreated but suddenly your horse becomes aggressive or shuts down. You can’t think of any moment from birth until now that he’s had a confusing or stressful experience yet, here he is… showing all the signs of PTSD. The truth is, it takes very little for a horse to develop PTSD like behaviors. They simply can’t wrap their minds around our human experiences very easily.The strange thing, is that horses can get PTSD much easier than we can, simply because we have the cognitive skills to manage heightened emotional states. We can figuratively wrap our mind around more painful or scary experiences. But anyone who has actually suffered from PTSD will tell you. Logic isn’t the issue. Things like sight, sounds and smells, they can all trigger a traumatic moment in your memory and imagination. The same thing is happening to your horse. There are many signs of PTSD that are more obvious when a horse starts doing abnormal things like shutting down, aggressive behavior and so much more. All these things can be signs of your horse showing you signs of PTSD ?