Everyone that owns a horse knows that they can be stubborn from time to time. It can be frustrating when you know your horse can do more but they just don’t want to listen.
Luckily, some of the best ways to encourage your horse are through gentle training practices and positive reinforcement.
Here are some tips and tricks to help your horse become a more willing equine partner.
Earn your horse’s trust
To be able to get any horse to listen to you, you need to be able to gain their trust. Especially when starting out, it’s important to understand where the horse is coming from. Horses are prey animals and they naturally view us as potential predators. That’s why you need to approach your horse always with kindness and respect. Use gentle tones when speaking to your horse and avoid using any body language that your horse could perceive as threatening.
Treating your horse with an open heart and awareness of how your actions impact them, over time will teach them that you are not their predator and they will start to trust you.
Reduce your equine partners’ stress
When a horse is stressed, it will not be able to perform the tasks that you want them to at the level you expect from them. Stressed horses are too distracted and won’t be able to focus on what you are asking of them.
That’s why you should stay in tune with your equine partners’ emotional state and act accordingly. If your horse seems stressed out figure out some personalized techniques that work for them. Maybe that’s giving them attention or leaving them in the paddock to roam.
Horses can also pick up on your emotions, so before you start your training session with your horse, make sure to clear your mind of any negative emotions or worries. This can really help your horse remain calm if they can sense that you are coming from a calm, positive place.
Minimize discomfort for your equine partner
Another way to build more trust with your horse is by making sure they are not uncomfortable or in pain. A great way to do this is to make sure you are utilizing a tack that fits properly. It is extremely important to use a saddle that fits your horse in such a way that they can move freely without areas that are pinching, rubbing against them or restricting normal movement.
Signs your horse is uncomfortable or in pain include:
- If their ears are pinned back
- If they bite during saddling
- If they move away from the saddle
- Are reluctant to move with the saddle on
One way to make sure you have the right saddle for your hose is to get your horse’s saddle evaluated by a certified saddle fitter.
Provide your horse with an environment they can thrive in
Horses are herd animals, so they do best when they are among other horses. Provide your equine partner with a daily turnout, the longer the better, with other horses so they can interact with them and feel connected to their herd.
Horses also need to eat continuously all day. If your horse cannot be turned out on grass, you should provide them with good quality grass hay all day.
Lastly, a great way to bond with your horse and help establish more trust is through bodywork. Practices like massage can make your horse not only feel better but can also make them feel more comfortable around you as well. And it’s now easier to learn how to massage your horse than ever before with Holistic Animal Studies.
Holistic Animal Studies offers fully online bodywork courses for anyone that wants to learn how to massage their horse or take it another step further and become a certified equine massage therapist!
Learn more about Holistic Animal Studies courses and incorporate bodywork into your horses regime today!