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Cougars, Cavallo Hoof Boots & the Food Chain

By Carole Herder

We live and work in the semi tropical rainforest off the coast of western Canada. This is cougar country – our horse’s ultimate predator.  They hide high in the evergreen branches and stalk with stealthy menacing intent. You’ll only see them when it’s too late. When riding out in the forest, we must have acute awareness of these crafty felines as well as momma bears with cubs. We wear bells and talk boisterously and when I’m alone I sing – loud. I really don’t want any surprises and neither do these dangerous beastly beauties. Rolling along it occurs to me from time to time just how vulnerable our horses are with their already dubious defenses compromised by captivity.  They are like a big welcoming meal for their adversaries.  They can’t run because they are fenced in and they can’t hide because they are too big. So what happens? Well they probably just live with fear for survival at some point every day. Of course, we too represent the predator. Eyes at the front of the head, lots of teeth, direct movements and a “let’s get ‘er done” attitude. It’s just our nature. And it’s just their nature. And in many ways they are at quite opposite ends of the range of desired behavior. We want them to do things at our bidding and we can’t understand when they don’t relate to our way of thinking.

Then along comes someone who speaks their language – the language of equis and with a little help from this ‘guy’, we can gain our horse’s trust, help them forget their low placement in the food chain and provide for them a leader they can trust to guide them to safety.    Enter Guy MacLean, one of my favorite Australians (and I’m now racking up quite a few). If he can get these horses to understand him in this environment, he is simply making it clear that he is the safety net, the herd leader and the head of the food chain. Click on the video below to check out a super fun video by Guy MacLean! And don’t ride out without the safety and protection of your Cavallo hoof boots!

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