Question: “I’m working a horse at the moment that is a 3-year-old deaf mare. I’ve just started her and she’s going nicely, but I’m having a hard time getting through to her. She frights so easily and then really starts to panic. Any advice?”
Martin: “I have worked some deaf horses and I found very little difference between them and a typical horse. But, I use very little, if any, verbal communication. Amongst themselves horses do very little communicating with noise. Most all of it is with sight, intuition and some physical contact. That’s basically what I try to use: very little verbal communication.
If we observe horses out in the natural habitat, they can sense the difference between horses running scared toward the heard versus foals racing around and playing. I believe they are sensitive to how and where the energy is directed, and that tells them if there’s an actual emergency or not.
The most critical point working with a deaf horse is making the initial contact. For example, be mindful of how you approach them when they are unaware that you are there when they’re napping in their stall or in the corral, or something along that line. From that point on I believe if you are sensitive to how they perceive your body language and physical contact and it is compatible for them, there shouldn’t be a problem. Hope this helps you.”