Personal Space ???? what is it? does it vary? does what we allow within our personal space matter?
I think its a very individual thing, I am sure the answers to all those question will vary a lot.
For me I can compare it it to intimacy, I think its that important and profound to a horse. When we talk about personal space often its the humans space we talk about, but what about our horses. Surely the biggest invasion of their personal space is riding.
I want my horses to respect my personal space therefore I must respect theirs. Sometimes they invite me in. Sometimes not.
I respect their wishes, I would not feel happy forcing myself upon them,or even being rude to them.
Do you remember an elderly aunt in the family who always insisted that you kiss her goodbye? you didn t want to but were told not to be rude. It did not feel pleasant!! If my grandchildren don’t want to kiss me, I suppose it sounds odd, but I play with them, telling them not to kiss me yuck! don’t do it! I make them laugh, feel happy. They always want to kiss me goodbye. I would not invade their person and insist they kiss me goodbye , I change things so that they really want to.
Its the same with my horses if they don’t want to stay with me I am not going to force them, I have to work out why. If they are not comfortable with me touching them, I will not force myself upon them. Respect for our being,and our personal space goes both ways. Us humans always seem to want physical contact with our horse, maybe sometimes we have to earn it, and be fun, like my grandchildren, appeal to our horse so that they seek us.
I could write a very long post about this but it is after all very personal and also what we allow within ‘our space’ will vary too. Horses set boundaries and so do I. Although as my relationship evolves with my horses those boundaries may change. In fact sometimes they change daily and from moment to moment.
This was the evening Maya arrived,she invited the grooming,I think she wanted to explore us and get to know us.
It was her idea not my husbands. She is very clear about when you can come into her space and when she would rather you didn’t, she is also very respectful of our personal space, its just how she is. Noo noo is very different she will invade your space, get really close to you sometimes nibble you. I have to decide what is allowed and what isn’t with her. but she is also very affectionate sometimes just resting her muzzle on me and breathing on me, she also will move closer to me when I stand on the mounting block and invite me to ride her. ( For me this is a huge show of trust and connection and her wanting that connection through our bodies, working together) She loves close work. Maya prefers to work at a greater distance at the moment. She will come to me and explore me, coming into my personal space but she is very polite about it. I think she expects the same in return. Both girls know how to use body language to get a groom,they will position themselves and look at the itchy area, and ‘ask’. Thats when I get more physical and affectionate with them, it is usually after I have greeted them or been with them for a time. I don’t think I ever enter the stables or field and just walk up to them and scratch them, there is always a greeting first,and an invite.