Thoughts on Emotionally Fractured Horses from Roxanne

This is an excerpt from Roxanne’s work with wild mustangs and her thoughts on emotionally fractured horses.

All I can say is, Wow.

(I added emphasis in the following paragraphs.)

“hi cheryl…emotionally fractured horses; okay here goes…

to me, an emotionally fractured horse is one that has endured trauma, pain, injury, abuse or neglect, to the point that it can no longer find the peace it needs to live comfortably in its natural world (let alone the world of man). it’s my belief that oftentimes the only way these horses can find that peace again is by being returned to the wild or put into an environment that mimics, as best it can, that environment. since my experience is mostly with mustangs that were not born in captivity and were fractured either while actually being caught or thereafter, i can really only talk about them, although i think many of these ideas can apply to domestic horses as well.

first of all let me say that i know mustangs are different. not better, just different. they are keener, sharper, and more mentally quick and resourceful than other horses because it is in their blood. they are more finely tuned into their environments because their survival depends on it constantly. these qualities in most cases are a plus for someone who has one, but, you may just get one that just can’t contract with a human.

i’ve seen this in wild horses and although it’s sad in a way, in another way i admire and respect it. after all why should a horse who is living a happy and healthy life want to leave to come live with us? this is hard for some humans to understand, and if it is for you, go out sometime to a place where horses live like this and watch them. the first time i did it brought me to my knees. they are so pure, so free, so utterly happy and beautiful in their horse world, and think that even domesticated horses have a strong primal memory of this.

seeing them like this changed the way i feel about them. i think that the Creator made all living beings equal. that we are no better or no less than a horse just because we are human beings. this too is hard for most people to understand, but if you do, then the way you treat other beings, including horses, changes. you can no longer beat them or mistreat them or (here’s the biggie) expect them to be here in the world for you, doing things the way you want and expect them to!!! if you listen the horse will tell you!!! if you look the horse will show you!!! in their language. what is required by us to hear and see? an open heart and clear eyes and patience with ourselves.”


Such amazing stuff. I truly respect and admire what Roxanne has to say as she is totally on the front line working with wild horses. If anyone, she certainly can give us insight into the true untainted nature of the horse.

I’d like to highlight what Roxanne said about a horse that cannot contract with a human. Whether we’re taking a vacation trail ride on a rental horse or we have horses in our backyard, I believe we enter into contract with a horse. It may be for an hour, or for the lifetime of a horse, but what are the terms of the contract?

For the trail horse, his contract probably reads something like, “I will stop when you pull back. I will go when you kick my sides. I will do my best to keep you on my back even if you have never ridden a horse before.”

Hopefully, the human’s contract reads, “I will be mindful of how hard I pull and kick. It is a privilege for me to ride on you, and I will honor your feelings because I know you are not a motorcycle.”

My question for today is, What does our contract look like with our horses? What does it look like with our dogs and cats?  I could extend the question to the humans in our lives, but humans are more able to negotiate contracts than our animals.

I tend to think that any undesired behavior from any animal is simply its way of asking (biting, kicking, bucking, barking, meowing) to renegotiate the terms.



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