Relationships with most creatures involve nonverbal elements. Those become particularly important when your pet weighs up to a half-ton or more, so pay attention – and learn.
“I work to perceive how our horses are acting, how they feel and the kind of mood they’re in,” says Pam Harrison Chambers, M.P.H.’01, PA-C’92. “All of that helps you learn how to get along with people. You try to observe the situation, listen and read how they’re feeling without rushing right in.”
Pam and her husband, Dan Chambers, associate professors in
DMU’s physician assistant program, say horses have unique personalities.
Their mare Roanie is the pasture diva who might rub her head on
you if she likes you or, if she isn’t getting the attention she wants, she’ll
show you her backside. Her son, Maximilian, used to snatch Pam’s
hat or pull on her ponytail; when she lost her hair to treatments for
leukemia – from which she’s recovered –
he took to sniffing around her neck.
“They have very distinct personalities,” Dan notes.
“Some people would say we’re ruining
our horses by considering them pets,” Pam adds,
“but we just enjoy seeing and being with them.
You can tell them anything and they won’t tell
your secrets, but they sure understand.”
Photo © istockphoto/Rusm