There has been much written about the eyes of the horse and what they mean. Most of it comes up short of the total picture.
It has been said that ‘the eyes are the window to the soul.’
As near as I can tell the statement dates back to Cicero around 100 BC. In my immaturity I would often use it. My observation. It intimidated people. I have come to doubt the veracity of such a statement. Assuming it were true, there is only One who has the ability and the right to peer into the soul of any other living being. That being King Jesus.
If you are taken in by looking at the eye and making a determination of the temperament of a horse you have unwittingly made a judgement. That judgement will find root in the subterranean rivers of your subconscious. You will end up responding, training and acting out towards that horse in agreement with that judgement. Failing to take in the whole horse limits one’s ability to help him, and ourselves. To arrive at that pleasant place we all desire will become exceedingly difficult.
How many times have we witnessed a horse being ‘worked’ in a round pen with the accompanying statement “ he is focusing on me, notice the inside ear”. That is not the whole picture. The eyes are the primary focus of the horse’s thought. The ears are the secondary. More explicitly, the left ear can be the secondary, the right ear the tertiary or vice versa. Beyond that I have no clue as to the quaternary thought, or how many possibilities beyond that the horse is capable of.
The easiest and most successful pathway to alleviate worry in the horse? Pay attention to the primary thought and keep tract of the secondary. The less worry your horse has to deal with, the more he will take away from the work with a positive and lasting effect.