Feb. 22, 2005
When training a horse it is important to be firm but kind. Whether you are on the back of one of these powerful creatures, or on the ground beside one, it is important that you are clear in your expectations for the horse as well as repetitive in your consequences. Horses are fun elegant creatures. But an untrained horse can be a dangerous thing.
When choosing the proper equipment for your horse in is important to remember that you don’t train your horse with equipment, you train them by developing a communication system that uses a full corridor of aids. When riding you should let you hands and legs do the talking. When choosing a bit, remember that that a bit is only as severe as the hands directing it. You should release all pressure. A rider with good hands could ride a horse using a razorblade as a bit, and never hurt the horse mouth. Remember that too much restraint from bit pressure takes the desire out of young horses to go forward.
Horses, like most animals, respond better to a kind hand, while it is imperative to punish a horse for its mistakes, it is also a necessity to reward the horse appropriately. In order for the horse to understand the horse must be calm. Consistency is the key. Immediately reward every obedience from the horse and punish every disobedience. True authority over the animal is a calm force. Judiciously employed without injuring. For example: if you want the horse to stop, first use your voice and say “Whoa” if the horse does not stop, then apply pressure to the bit in a steady or wiggly motion until the horse stops. Back the horse as a punishment for not stopping. Then make it stand there. If he stands quietly for a moment give him a signal to go on again. After a few steps ask him to stop again. If he stops well reward him by giving him some rein or a pat on the neck. If he does not stop then repeat these steps until he does. Repetition, patience, pressure-reward, in this order is the best way to train your horse.
Most new trainers over train instead of under training their horses, trying to go forward too fast, in order to arrive quickly go slowly with careful steps. The first requisite of a Trainer is a complete realization that he or she is not infallible. A teacher must first get the confidence of his pupil. The rider must reduce his or her actions to the very minimum and leave the horse the greatest possible freedom for his actions. Life and Brilliancy in the horse comes from impulsion. The rider’s legs create impulsion and hands prescribe the manner in which it is to be expended. A whip may be used to reinforce the legs. Always quit on a good note with the horse. Basically, let the horse think it is your master, then it is your slave.