Piaffe thoughts

I recently discussed piaffe  – I don’t believe this is always linked to fear/anxiety…. How about linked to arousal? Maybe. In behavioural terms, this means “ready to respond” (can be mild, can be explosive!) (foot poised on the clutch in first gear, perhaps). A point about piaffe is how horses do it in quite a controlled way in response to a novel object (including a strange horse/donkey). Horses have a dual programming, both to approach and explore novel objects, and to run away first and ask questions later. “Unsolicited” piaffe (presented by the horse, not asked for in training) appears to demonstrate a mid point – an urge to approach and explore, yet a feeling that maybe “run away” needs to be an option too. Anticipation paired with apprehension, as with stallion/mare. When the horse starts to piaffe, has “approach” won, to a degree? I’d be interested to know other views/experiences on this, including experiences of training it in hand and under saddle….

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