When your horse does not perform as you hoped and when the dream becomes the nightmare for you or your horse, it’s not more gadgets and stronger bits that will save you, it’s more savvy.
You need to know how to solve your horse’s emotional problems with contact and training.
Horse Behavior Problems
Horses resist and explode for three reasons:
Of course, pain can also be a reason, but if you are reading this, you have probably spent thousands of dollars on vets, chiropractors, and healers, and yet your horse is still having issues.
It’s time to learn about life from your horse’s point of view. How does he see you? How does he feel about training?
Warning: Do not click unless you truly care about hearing your horse’s point of view! Sure, some horses are more challenging than others, but you need to know why Pat and Linda can change your horse and how you can emulate that!
Horses are prey animals; humans are predators. You have probably heard this, but do you know how this applies to your situation?
Most people misinterpret fearful reactions. They think the horse is being disobedient and tend to use more force or punishment to control and correct them. Put yourself in your horse’s shoes for a moment. If you were reacting in fear and someone smacked you or forced you to do something, would you become more confident?
The most important strategy for a fearful horse is to help them become more confident—in you, in themselves as a learner, in their environment, and among other horses.
How do you know your horse is fearful? Think of the following:
- Tendency to spook
- Can’t stand still
- High headed
- Doesn’t learn well
- Easily distracted
Most riders and trainers tend to use more force, but the answer is more confidence. Do you know how to build more confidence in a horse?
There are five areas in which to do this
- Self confidence
- Confidence in the leader (you)
- Confidence as a learner
- Confidence in new environments
- Confidence among other horses
Even if your horse is confident in one or two of these areas, they might be really unconfident in the others. Learn how to teach your horse to be confident. Get savvy. You will be amazed at how much your horse will change for the better.
Once a horse knows that you are not going to kill and eat them (predator behavior), they can become pushy and argumentative. You need to know that’s really what it is because a lot of people misread resistance as disobedience and have no idea that it comes from fear.
How do you know your horse is trying to dominate you?
Check the following:
- Tendency to nip or bite
- Shoves you with his nose
- Lazy, unresponsive
- Wants to go up more than forwards
- Pins ears and threatens you, may even charge at you.
There are many more signs, but these are the most visible and tangible indicators. Most riders and trainers tend to use more force, but the answer is more respect. You cannot smack respect into a horse without causing fear or resentment.
Do you know how to build more respect in a horse? Our definition of respect is “The appropriate response to pressure.” Horses do not naturally have that; we have to teach them how to respond with respect and without fear of losing dignity.
Do you know how to teach your horse to respond lightly, politely, and willingly? When you get savvy, you will. Not only will you be amazed at how much your horse will change for the better, but you will also need to decide how good you want to be at this!
We’ve all felt it in the classroom, in a lesson, or as a directive or order from a superior. What are they asking for? What do they want? What is 2 + 2?! Well, simply put yourself in your horse’s shoes. Sometimes they just have no idea what it is you want, and often it’s because their mind locks up in a learning or performance situation.
As prey animals, a horse’s first instinct is to resist, to push against pressure, and to fight for freedom and survival. That’s why they have trouble responding or understanding contact from the bit, leg, seat, and rein.
When a horse is confused, it will send them in one of two directions: towards fear or fight, and when this happens, you need to back off. This is really difficult for humans because, as predators, we have the tendency to apply more pressure when things aren’t working.
The real solution is to slow down, get clear. Simplify it for your student—your horse. Most people never think about their horse being their student.
Learning how to teach a horse is something that every horse owner, rider, handler, and trainer should know, and when we say “teaching,” we mean getting to the horse’s mind; that’s what psychology means.
We need our horses to understand what we want rather than simply give up and mindlessly obey. Of course, some people like it that way, and if that’s how you want to treat a horse, then the Parelli program is not for you. Our approach is all about love, language, and leadership in equal doses but not more one than the other.
No matter how much of an expert or how experienced you are with horses—from trail to competition arena and from recreational to professional—knowing how to teach horses and get them to love learning is an art. We’ve made it simple and accessible.
The first step is to learn the language of horses, and then start to explore all the strategies and concepts that will make you the best thing that ever happened to a horse. You can solve your own problems and lay the foundation for your horse to be a great success.
You Can Do It, We are Here to Help…
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