Horse training problems
Do you have horse training problems? It happens more often than you think. I am NOT a professional horse trainer, but I do work with my horses. I know I’ve certainly had my share of problems.
I’ve been out there, working with this horse or that one, trying to accomplish something. It might be that I want them to stand still when I get on. Or maybe I want them to pick up the correct lead when we lope off. But for some reason, they won’t do it.
It’s frustrating. I think I’ve given them clear signals; communicated my message clearly. It seems like they should know what to do and just do it. But that’s not always the case.
Why doesn’t “it” work?
I admit, my first thought is sometimes that they are just being naughty. Or stubborn (Oh wait; that’s me). But is that really the problem? The more I’ve worked with horses, the more I realize that naughtiness isn’t usually it.
I’ve come to the point where I start running through the list in my head. Once I remember to check, I ask myself
- Was I focused on my horse? Maybe I wasn’t paying attention to the subtle signals my horse was giving me.
- Did I give my signal clearly and consistent with what we’ve done before? Maybe I did something different and confused my horse.
- Does my horse understand my signal clearly? My horse may not have learned the signal as well as I thought.
- What is going on around us? Is there a storm, large equipment, or other chaos going around me that has distracted my horse?
- Is there some physical reason why my horse isn’t responding? It could be that the saddle is pinching somewhere or they have some pain.
- Is my horse having an off day? Horses have them too. Maybe my horse partner just needs a little understanding and patience.
More often than not, my horse isn’t being bad. It’s some other reason why we’re having horse training problems. And the thing is, they are usually trying to tell me what the problem is, but I’m too distracted by my own plans to notice.
What to do about it?
Pay attention to your horse. The way to improve your partnership with your horse and decrease your training problems is to try to understand and respect them.
Most of the time, given a chance, they’ll choose to work with you. They’ll usually do their best to follow your lead. If things aren’t flowing, make the effort to find out why. The problem could be you. You are partners and partners work together.
The answer isn’t always what you want, but it’s important to remember that your horse is a living, breathing, thinking being; not a machine. I wouldn’t enjoy my horses nearly as much if they were.
Training horses, and other animals for that matter, can be really tricky for us humans. It takes effort to understand what they’re understanding. For more, read Horse training from a trainer’s perspective or Training your pet; what is it?