We SERVE horses by EMPOWERing humans with the KNOWLEDGE and principles of natural horsemanship.

Lazy Horse

by Teri Sprague, 4-Star Senior Instructor

Before you label your horse as lazy, try thinking about things from his point of view. When you ask him to do something, have you ever stopped to think about what’s in it for him – how it looks from his side of things? Parelli Natural Horsemanship is a form of horse training that asks you to think about things from your horse’s point of view, and you will find that this approach is more helpful than anything for dealing with lazy horses.

You might be all excited about going for a ride, but how does your horse feel? Maybe for him, hanging out with his pasture mates and grazing on grass is more attractive, much less stressful and a whole lot more fun than dealing with the spurs, whips, heavy saddles and the stress of taking you for a ride on his back.

Animals with this attitude are often labeled as lazy horses or stubborn horses, but very often they’re just unmotivated horses because what you’re asking them to do just isn’t much fun for them.

Determining Cause

Natural horsemanship begins the process of solving any horse behavior problem with the question: Why is the horse acting this way? Sometimes lazy horses are actually nervous horses or frightened horses. Sometimes the horse just has a laid back horse personality, or Horsenality™, as we call it in the Parelli method of horse training.

Understanding your horse and what’s actually going on with him is the basis of Parelli Natural Horsemanship. Once you have determined that your horse is neither scared nor sick and is simply unmotivated, we suggest you learn what excites and motivates your horse.

So, have you got a lazy horse and you don’t know what to do about it?

Think about when you feel lazy. Have you every noticed how your laziness disappears in the face of something that interests you? Like humans, horses become lazy when they are bored, disinterested and/or unmotivated. Barring illness, lazy horses are just unmotivated horses.

When faced with a lazy horse, the Parelli natural horse training approach is to determine why the horse is unmotivated when he is with you and figure out what interests the horse. If you can do that, you’ll be amazed at how motivated and un-lazy your horse suddenly becomes!

Horsenality™ and Horse Laziness

“Horsenality” is the Parelli method of figuring out your horse’s basic personality type and learning to understand his psychology and behavior from that matrix. In Parelli lingo, a lazy horse is usually a “Left-Brain Introvert”.

This type of horse thinks humans are downright boring. But once you know what makes this horse tick and learn to engage him in the ways that motivate him, you will end up with a great horse. Even the laziest person in the world can get motivated to get up and do something if you can figure out what they love.

Should you really have to make this much effort to “figure out” your horse? Well, yes. The Parelli Natural Horsemanship approach is based on developing a relationship with your horse, and the basis of all relationships is understanding your partner, not forcing behavior change.

The Key To Success With A Lazy Horse

Unlike traditional horse training, which usually involves using more physical pressure (kicking, spurs, whips), the natural approach is to understand that the key to a successful partnership with this horse is mental, not physical. Physical pressure will only result in more resentment and defiance.

To become your horse’s trusted leader and partner, you need to apply brain power not physical power to shift the horse’s behavior pattern. For a lazy horse, rewards for desirable behavior are the key to success. This horse wants to know what’s in it for him! If you have a general rule about never giving a horse treats (cookies, scratches, rest stops) you might want to re-think that in this case.

Natural horsemanship is flexible horsemanship. Rather than rigid rules, we seek to understand each individual horse and what works for him or her. Flexibility and fluidity – natural horse training at its best.

“Your horse isn’t lazy, he’s conserving energy for what’s important to him!”

The Parelli Savvy Club gives you a place to belong, to learn, to grow. Parelli wants you to be a part of our community of like-minded individuals committed to a better, more natural way of developing a partnership with your horse. We realize that if you have a hard time loading your horse into a trailer, you might be having other problems that can be remedied by a better foundation of learning for both you and your horse. And, we want you to have FUN with your horse! The Parelli Savvy Club is dedicated to your growth as both an individual, and as a responsible horse owner.