Sometimes a horse owner can be in a situation that makes him or her wish the horse could speak and say what’s the matter. Or when you would like to be able to explain to the horse what’s going to happen, like moving to another stable or an operation. Symone Ottevangers from Groningen works as an animal interpreter and meanwhile she has helped thousands of animals and their owners.
An animal interpreter can pick up thoughts and feelings and communicate with animals over a distance, in other words called telepathic communication with animals. This practice of animal interpreters however, does raise quite a few eyebrows in many people. Believing that it is possible for people to ‘talk’ to animals requires a certain conviction that animals have a consciousness, a sense of self with emotions and opinions, and many people find this hard to take in. Communicating with animals is shrouded in an aura of hocus-pocus that sometimes brings out the giggles in people who consider themselves to be rather down-to-earth. Animal interpreter Symone Ottevangers immediately puts this in the right perspective: ‘Being able to communicate with animals is not a gift or something supernatural. All people have this sense, but choose not to use it. So everybody can learn to do it. It is in fact a skill that can be trained, just like horse riding or playing football. But just like not every football player is a Messi, not everyone is a talented animal interpreter.’
Mindset is important
If there is one thing that Symone has learned in recent years, it is that horses pick up a lot more from people than we think. Symone is keen to give people one point for consideration: ‘Be aware of how you behave around your horse. How do you talk about your horse to others? Imagine that your horse would be able to hear and understand what you’re saying. The intention which is at the bottom of your interaction with your horse makes a world of difference. Two riders with similar riding skills and technique can give a totally different experience to horses. Riders should be more aware of their mindset when approaching a horse, that would be a huge help in understanding the horse’s reaction.’
Free of pain
Do horses actually like being ridden? Symone leaves no doubt about it: ‘Most horses like working with people. She goes on: But there’s a big ‘if’ and that is that horses must be free of pain. That’s where owners have a huge responsibility, to make sure they use suitable training methods and equipment. If in any doubt do consult an expert, which can be a competent veterinarian, a physiotherapist, a saddle fitter or an animal interpreter.’