First Impressions of Horses or Humans, Can We Trust Them?

First Impressions of Horses or Humans, Can We Trust Them? | SLO Horse News

Whether it be regarding a horse or human, we all make quick judgements when we first see a horse or meet someone for the first time. We judge appearances, we judge body language, we evaluate speech and facial expressions, and make first impression conclusions based on those qualities.

The look of a horse’s eye either draws us or makes us cautious, we read their ears and the switch of the tail and determine how approachable the horse is.  Similarly, the look in a human’s eye, the facial expression, the clothing, plus a person’s demeanor and body language all give us immediate clues of what we might expect from interacting with them.

How often though, are first impressions actually wrong? When I look back at my interactions with humans I can say usually my first impression has been mostly correct. I can also honestly say each pet I’ve had the pleasure to own drew me at first sight. However, here’s a story from my Carriage driving days where my first impression was drastically wrong, and it made a profound impression on me.


Will The Oxygen Tank Fit?

“Do you take people for rides?” asked a woman with straight hair, parted down the middle, dressed in scrubby jeans and a white tee, who puffed on a cigarette.

“Yes,” I replied, “We have three different rides . . .” I continued to describe the three carriage ride options we offered from the Apple Farm Inn in San Luis Obispo. Her boyfriend/husband listened in. He was similarly dressed in scrubby jeans, a black tee-shirt, had long hair plus a tattoo and also puffed on a cigarette.

“Oh, we’ll have to see if my mother would like a ride. She’s handicapped due to seven neck and back operations in the past two years. She is also on oxygen. Will the oxygen tank fit in the carriage?” replied the woman.

. . .

Upon our return to the Apple Farm, the husband helped the mother out of the carriage and the daughter came forward to pay me. She had the biggest smile on her face while she exclaimed, “Sharon that was so special and so much fun! You and Star were wonderful!” Then she hugged me. Her mother and husband had equally positive “thank you” comments as I waved good-bye to all of them.

Later that night, Star and I were just about ready to take another group out for a ride. The woman and her husband were walking out to their car. “Sharon! Oh Sharon!” calls the woman while reaching her hand up towards me, as I was sitting in the carriage driver’s seat. Taking my hand in both of hers she exclaimed, “My mom has not stopped talking about Star, Sharon and the carriage ride! You really made a difference in her life. She is so much happier now than she has been in years. She has the will to live again!” The final comment stunned me and brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful gratuity. My first impression of these folks was definitely wrong.


Excerpt from the e-book Carriage Capers – Magic Moments Leave Marks on our Hearts – Stories of a Horse Carriage Driver in San Luis Obispo County by Sharon J. Jantzen. Get this story and eight more Carriage Capers delivered to your in-box by clicking this link: Carriage Capers


Step away from the chaos of life. Enjoy excerpts of actual moments and quotes from people interacting with a carriage driver and horse riding down the streets of San Luis Obipso. To keep these stories at your fingertips you can get this FREE Hot Sheet which will direct you to a few Carriage Caper stories. We’ll continue to add carriage driving stories to our website. You can stay up-to-date by becoming a SLO Horse News herd member. Get your Carriage Capers Hot Sheet here >.

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Former Pony Clubber, Eventer and Dressage rider who balanced training and showing with getting a college degree (from Cal Poly SLO), becoming a wife and raising a family.

1 Comment

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    Reply September 16, 2017

    ann spencer

    congratulations on your new book ! We can put an article about it in the Brass Oak Driving Society monthly newsletter. They have an up-to-date web site with contact info !

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