Horse Riding is meant to be fun....
Of course it is right?
Just like in the movies, we all have our dreams, galloping along with the wind blowing through our hair. Or hanging out with our horse in the paddock soaking up the sunshine.
What ever your dream – this is not always the reality.
For many people, their horse time is spent dodging and weaving to avoid being stepped on, pushed over, pulled over, or, in extreme cases, flying hooves and gnashing teeth!!
Many of these horses (not always – please don’t get upset…) are the rescues, OTT’s and the “give aways”. Some of these horses are made worse because the good-hearted humans who take them home do not have the skills to deal with the problems. The horse gets worse, then sold (or given away), then continue to get worse until they can either become downright dangerous, or so insecure that they can’t help but be a danger to themselves and the people around them. It’s a terrible cycle – and, sadly, the horse is ultimately the loser.
Horses are so quick to learn – they are extremely smart and clever and can put it over the unsuspecting person before they realize what happened. Horses are the supreme masters of body language and what the horse does can be so subtle, the untrained person misses it until it has built up to a problem.
Some examples of this is the horse crowding you at feed time, which builds into putting his head in the bucket (cute right?) and then builds into ears back chasing you down for feed (not so cute anymore). This behaviour and similar problems start from the smallest of signs. We need to have clear boundaries for our horses. They are big animals, who live by ahierarchy system and we need to make sure of our place in the pecking order. The only way to do this is to learn it and live it. Our horses don’t rub on us after a ride because they love us – they do it because their head is itchy and we are something soft to rub on and it can be a show of dominance. I’m not saying don’t scratch your horse or love on your horse – It is great for your relationship to find their itchy spots and scratch them for them, but make sure it’s on your terms.
Your horse will love youif you offer them leadership, this is what makes a horse feel secure in their surroundings – to have the belief in their human that they will be kept safe and that their human understands him.
My blogs always come back to a common theme, and that is foundation training. It is the basis of everything – it is like the holy grail of horsemanship.
Sadly, a lot of people want to get from Point A to Point D and bypass B and C altogether, leaving a gaping and possibly dangerous hole in their training foundation.
The other thing is that they will only ever achieve a medium level at their chosen equestrian event as they will not have the tools required to take them beyond “D”.
Even if you don’t want to be competitive – having a solid foundation with your horsewill create a trusting and rewarding relationship and, above all, you will have fun!
We have put together a 6 month training program to develop people’s horsemanship skills and set them up for safety and success. Our first course is now fully booked and I commend those who are participating. In doing this course they have made a commitment to themselves and most importantly to their horses. I am very excited about this program as it will enable us to make real achievements with people and horses to support them on their journey.
We have now introduced a second class this season. If you are interested, please get in contact with us, this class will run the 1stSaturday of each month commencing October.
Remember: “Horse Riding is meant to be fun”