Horse Pulling Back
Horses, by nature, are claustrophobic. They are terrified of restriction. It is part of their nature and most basic survival instincts. In order to learn how to stand tied, they need to learn how to override everything nature has encoded their DNA to resist.
Parelli natural horse training encourages those interested in natural horsemanship to understand horses by seeing the world from the horse’s point of view. When dealing with a head shy horse, put yourself in your horse’s shoes for a minute.
There you are, standing quietly. You raise your head for some reason and something grabs you from behind your ears. What would your response be? Probably PANIC. For a prey animal such as a horse, the panic comes in the form of this message: Must be a huge predator. I’m going to die!
When a horse pulls back it’s not about being tied so much as learning a new response. In Parelli horse psychology, we talk about “Left-Brain” and “Right-Brain” personalities – explained in detail in our Horsenality™ – “Horse Personalities” DVD. In the case of a horse that pulls back, it’s very much about the horse learning to how to remain ‘Left-Brain’ in a ‘Right-Brain’ situation.
Most horses that pull back are reactive types: insecure, nervous, unconfident and bracy. They are completely confused by the meaning of pressure in the human world. In the wild, the feeling of pressure invokes the fight or flight response. In “Humanville” it should mean “don’t worry, yield and relax.”
No wonder your horse doesn’t know the appropriate response to human pressure – it’s the opposite in his world. This is something you need to patiently teach your horse because it totally goes against his instincts. In the Parelli method of natural horsemanship, ‘teach’ is the operative word.
Traditionally speaking, horses are ‘taught’ to tie through the sink or swim method. They are tied to big strong posts with big strong ropes and sometimes a rubber inner tube so there’s a bit of stretch. Some horses make it; some break their necks.
This is not a kind solution to the problem of pulling back. The Parelli horse training solution is based on communication, and learning to read and understand horse behavior through understanding basic horse nature and your horse’s particular Horsenality.
By teaching your horse to use the left side of his brain and teaching him an appropriate response to pressure in the human environment, you will solve the challenge of a horse who pulls back, and you’ll see the amazing results of natural horsemanship that uses love, language and leadership instead of force and punishment to improve the horse-human partnership.
To learn more about tying and teaching your horse to respond appropriately to pressure, check out our Four Savvys DVD Packs - just $149.95 USD each for Parelli Savvy Club members, $399 USD each regular price.
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