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Horse Training – 5 Reasons Your New Horse Is Behaving Badly and What You Can Do To Improve It Now
Q. I bought a 9 year old mare about two weeks ago. She was backed at the age of 4 and didn’t do much until recently when she was ridden bareback across the fields to help round up a herd of horses. When she arrived at the farm, she was awesome. She seemed to be very confident and moving forward. She only got a little scared when a car suddenly appeared around the corner – but nothing serious. I ride her once or twice a week with another horse then 1 or 2 days at the riding school. But for the past two days, she hasn’t been herself. She’s in good health so I don’t think it’s a physical problem. I’ve never been able to climb from the ground, so I need a helping hand. But it doesn’t stay put. She pulls away and even swings her butt away from me, so I struggle to try and get up. When I’m finally up, I can feel she’s on edge and ready to go. So I have to hold her back a bit. She won’t stop either when I ask. If I tug lightly on the reins, she gets angry and walks backwards or in circles. I do not know what happened. I would really appreciate any advice.
A. It is not uncommon for behavioral and training issues to appear soon after buying a new horse and moving it to a new home. Here are five tips to help you and your horse establish a positive relationship from the start.
1) Behavior is communication – The only way your horse can communicate is through his behavior. If she has behaviors you don’t like, don’t assume she’s just “mean.” Pay attention to his behavior to understand how he feels. A horse that doesn’t want to be caught in the paddock needs to develop more confidence before it comes willingly to greet you at the gate. A horse that does not want to stand up to be ridden may be in pain from ill-fitting tack or uncomfortable with the way it is ridden. A horse that does not want to stand still is stressed and, as a flight animal, needs to move. Take the time to understand the reason (cause) for your horse’s behavior rather than just trying to “fix” the symptom. When you address the cause, the symptom will go away accordingly.
2) Adjustment time – Your new horse has been taken away from everything familiar and now has to adjust to a new environment, new routine, new herd and new people. Imagine how you would feel in a similar situation. It’s important to give him time to settle in and feel comfortable with all the changes in his life. You can help her by simply spending time with her so that you can get to know each other as you begin to build a relationship and develop mutual trust. Get to know your new horse from scratch by grooming it, hand-grazing it, dipping it, and hanging out with it for a few days.
3) Checking the tack – Getting to know your horse inside and out the first few days is the perfect time to check that your equipment is properly fitted and in good condition. Saddles and bits are not “one size fits all”. Physical pain or discomfort caused by ill-fitting equipment, dental problems, muscle or joint pain, or a chiropractic problem leads to behavioral and training problems. Some of these physical problems may not be apparent during a routine veterinary exam. An equine athletic therapist, massage therapist or chiropractor can identify issues, if any. A professional saddler can give you a saddle fit assessment, make adjustments to your saddle, or help you find a saddle that’s right for you. The cost of hiring one of these professionals (usually under $100) is a small investment to ensure your horse is comfortable and won’t have behavioral issues due to pain on the road.
Make sure your bridle and bit are also snug. A forehead band that is too small will pinch and put pressure on the sensitive area at the base of the ears. The bit should be the right width and shape so it doesn’t pinch the sides of his mouth or tongue. If she shows signs that she is uncomfortable with the bit or with contact (i.e. she has a busy or “hard” mouth), have your vet give her a thorough dental examination to ensure that his teeth are in good condition.
4) Training Review – A horse that has been ridden for years may still be “green” depending on the level of training it has received. If it hasn’t been given a good foundation, there will be gaps in its training that may not have been apparent when you tried it before you bought it. If your horse has only ever been ridden by one or two people or only by experienced riders, it may have trouble understanding your signals and become confused. The more sensitive the horse, the more it will be affected by even a small amount of tension, stiffness, imbalance or twisting in the rider. Make your first rides in an arena or paddock and ride slowly and calmly. Make sure she understands your cues and pay attention to any subtle signs that she’s feeling stressed or uncomfortable. Only when you are sure your communication is working – both ways – should you increase what you ask of it.
5) Professional help – Even Olympic-level riders occasionally receive coaching. Take lessons with an experienced coach/trainer as often as you can. If there are no coaches available in your area, search online for coaches who travel or offer video lessons; go to a trainer who offers private training in their own facilities; or attend clinics focused on riding skills or your specific discipline. Having your “eyes on the ground” – even occasionally – gives you feedback on how you and your horse are progressing together. If you’re dealing with a training problem that you don’t know how to fix, enlist the help of an experienced trainer who can help you determine the root cause of your mare’s behavior, then work with the two of you to resolve it. and prevent it from getting worse. . It always takes longer to “unlearn” a behavior or habit than to teach a new behavior.
By taking all the time necessary to develop mutual trust, respect and trust with your new horse, and ensuring that he feels safe and comfortable in all aspects of his new life, you will be rewarded with a strong-willed, confident and confident attitude. partner.
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