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Good horse trainers know that the horse’s mindset is just as important as their body. Young and older horses should be happy while they train. It’ll make them easier to work with and even safer! Luckily, it’s rather simple to keep them content. This advice will help!
1. Sessions should be short.
The key here is to pick something to work on and quit when you get good results. Your session may only be 15 to 30 minutes long and that’s absolutely fine.
2. Be a kind and confident leader.
If you want your horse’s respect, then you need to become the alpha in your herd. Once your horse is respectful, they will be more filling to listen to your requests. With that in mind, you shouldn’t be a bully. A kind, understanding leader is someone your horse will want to be around. An aggressive one will make them fearful and spooky.
3. Listen to your horse’s language.
Horses have their own language that they use to communicate with. As a trainer, you need to “hear” what they’re saying. Let them be a part of the conversation.
For example: You and your horse are trail riding- his head goes up, his back becomes hollow and his steps shorten. This is your signal that he is concerned about something. Your job as the rider is to redirect his attention and get him focused back on you. You should also be ready to do a one-rein stop in the event he tries to take off. He gave you clear signals and you listened.
4. Reward small attempts.
You can’t build a city overnight. It’s essential you reward even the smaller steps. Your horse needs to know they’re on the right track and doing a good job! A reward can be as simple as the release of pressure, a pat on the neck, or bite-sized treat.
5. Treat your horse like an individual.
It can be tempting to compare your horse to others, but that’s setting them up for failure. Your training should progress at a speed both you and your horse are comfortable at. Don’t let competitions, fellow barn mates, and other horses dictate your training.
Every good trainer makes sure their horse is happy. It’s well known that a happy will perform their best!