After 25 years of teaching and training I have formulated a few good horse-training-tips to help with the basics of....
“getting along with your horse".
I use the words “getting along with your horse" because that is what most of us want, right? No matter what the task we want our horses to perform, we want it to be safe, enjoyable and pleasant for both of us.
There are as many training methods and training techniques as there are horses. All of them claiming to be better than the next. The amount of paraphernalia that sometimes goes along with those methods is confusing enough to leave us bankrupt and crazy.
So lets keep it simple.....
Training, for most riders or handlers, can be broken down to
Creating a horse that is safe to handle and will perform a certain task.
Maintaining the level of safety that the horse had when you acquired him.
Lets face it. When you first start off riding or owning a horse you realize fairly quickly that:
....Horses are big.
....They require a lot of space.
....We don't communicate in the same language
So lets break it down even more....
and keep our sense of humor. :)
Horse training for the beginning horseperson is the art of making a #1000 pound mammal (a horse) and a 150 pound mammal(a person) get along safely ……in a man made environment.
Beyond that, you will want to learn the method for advancing the horse’s training, to whatever specific equestrian discipline is chosen. But first, as I said..Let's keep it simple.
So how do we get started?
- Learning some basic facts about horses and how those facts influence the way they act.
- Take your time to study and observe your horse's behavior.
- To what you learn and observe add some good old common horse sense, otherwise known as good judgment.
Now you are saying to yourself…But what about “horse whispering”,“natural horsemanship","horse psychology"..etc
The answer is simple:
You would not expect your doctor to give you a video, DVD or book on how to perform surgery and then go out and try it. But your doctor can advise you on certain practices to keep healthier, and prevent some ailments from occurring.
Likewise, horse training is an art or a specialization that is learned and perfected over many years of working at it, studying and observing, ie. experience.
Certain people in any trade have a special ability for “catching on" or truly understanding that trade. This is talent and differentiates the piano player from the “virtuoso”, the artist from the Michelangelos. The idea that you can teach an artist to be a master or a musician to be a virtuoso is nonsense . It is also a romantic fantasy that is exploited by some otherwise good horsemen.
So I will stress the point again: For the beginner horse-person ...LET'S KEEP IT SIMPLE
- We like horses.
- Horses are bigger and stronger than we are.
- We want to get along safely with our horses in a man made environment.
- Horses and humans don't speak the same language
So now lets get started, and have fun with it.
Learn some facts about horses that influence the way they act. Know some of the reasons why horses act or react.
These links might help get you started in the right direction.
Facts about horse behavior
Facts about how horses see our world.
Facts about how horse hear .
Understand how these facts relate to the behavior of horses.
Horse-training-tip Intro #3
Use your knowledge and understanding to practice good judgment.
Horse-training-tip Intro #4
Learn through observation, gain experience through practice and most of all.....increase your ability to LISTEN to the horse with all your senses.
Never get discouraged...Remember
You are actually not ready to learn and understand a training or riding concept until you have actually experienced it albeit in a non cognitive way.
Meanwhile..armed with some good basic principals and a guide to help you practice your riding, you can achieve these experiences with a knowledgable instructor and by doing what we enjoy .....Ride..Ride...Ride
When we feel more secure about the concepts of The Introduction to Horse-Training-tips move on to the next step.
( Coming Soon :) )The Foundation of the training system will teach you the why and how of a systematic approach to increasing your horse's ridability.
So you want to train your horse?
Over the years of working with horses, I have learned this much:
What tools or equipment do you need?
- Horses teach you patience
- humble you
- inspire you to act with dignity
Quote for a Monday
"I've started horses since I was 12 years old and have been bit, kicked, bucked off and run over. I've tried every physical means to contain my horse in an effort to keep from getting myself killed. I started to realize that things would come much easier for me once I learned why a horse does what he does." Buck Brannaman
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