Horses can evoke a variety of emotions in human beings. For some, wild horses are a living symbol of beauty, freedom, and natural grace. For others, horses are large, frightening, and unpredictable creatures.Many people are fascinated by horses and enjoy their inclusion in sports events and popular culture. Rodeos, polo, show jumping, and races such as the Kentucky Derby are examples of modern events that features horses.
Those who fear horses are daunted by their muscular strength and speed, as well as their unpredictability. When fear of horses occurs in a human being, it is called by the Latin name Equinophobia.
Why Do Some People Fear Horses?
Horses can be very dangerous. Many people have suffered death and serious injuries through riding accidents. Actor Christopher Reeve (of Superman fame) suffered a near-fatal injury while riding a horse. He ended up losing the use of his arms and legs, and living out the rest of his life in a wheelchair . His spinal cord was damaged beyond repair. Eventually, he did die from complications caused by his accident. He touched many hearts as he bravely battled the terrible obstacles he faced.
Many people come to fear horses after reading about experiences such as those of Christopher Reeve. The publicity his injury received was widely reported all over mainstream media, and his plight garnered great interest and sympathy from radio, television, and print media.
Recently, the novel The Horse Whisperer told the story of a young girl who suffered trauma while riding a horse. She was with her best friend, who was killed by a jackknifing truck when their horses lost their footing on black ice. The main character, Grace, lost her leg in the accident.
The girl is helped by a horse whisperer, a man who comes to the family and applies his special skill in calming and communicating with horses. Through his assistance, Grace learns to cope with the accident, its aftermath, and her Equinophobia.
In the beautiful, poignant Rolling Stones ballad, Wild Horses, the dangerous image of the untamed creatures is used to great effect:
Childhood living is easy to do…
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I cant let you slide through my hands
Wild horses couldnt drag me away
Wild, wild horses, couldnt drag me away
Other Reasons For Equinophobia
Many people develop this phobia due to a traumatic interaction with a horses. They may have been kicked or bitten by an angry horse at some point in their lives. Or they may have been thrown from a moving horse. Trampling and other frightening accidents caused by horses can also cause this phobia.
As well, a phobic person can fear the animal itself, due to its imposing size and weight. A horse has large teeth which may scare certain people. The feeling of loss of control some people suffer while riding a horse can exacerbate Equinophobia. Horses are strong and they are very unpredicatable at times. Not everyone has a way with animals, and someone who lacks the ability to interact safely with horses will be much more likely to become afraid of them.
Cowboys and other riders who learn how to live and work with horses often develop this skill over a period of years, and they learn from trial and error. Even with all their skill, they still maintain a healthy respect for horses and the dangers they can present.
Some people are repulsed by the earthy smell of horses and their stables and yards. They prefer to keep their distance. This dislike of the smell of horse manure and the animal itself can trigger this phobia.
Children can be susceptible to fear of horses. They are small, and horses may seem huge and monstrous to them. Some children adore horses and ponies, but others will shrink away in horror. Children should be treated with gentleness and sensitivity when they display such fears. Friendly interactions with gentle animals may help to ease their fears, but this should be done in small doses. A child who cries and shows real terror should not be forced to ride or pet a horse. Instead, they should be taken to a therapist who can get at the root of their fears.
Symptoms Of The Phobia
Phobias trigger the classic symptoms of a panic attack, such as nervousness, sweating, racing heartbeat, and nausea.
Treatment for Equinophobia
If a phobic person wishes to get over their fears and interact with horses again, they may benefit from one-on-one riding lessons by a patient, highly skilled instructor. They should make their teacher aware of their fears at the outset.
As well, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy are options for those who suffer from Equinophobia.
The fear of horses is also referred to as:
- horse phobias
- fear of horse phobia name
- phobia of horses
- how to overcome fear of horses phobia