Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Horseshoehillfarm Understanding Your Horse's Needs

.Respect. These seven letters are essential to a happy, healthy and enjoyable relationship with your horse. Whether your vision with your horse is of precise dressage circles, long ambling trail rides or eventing, if you don't have respect on the ground you won't have it in the saddle. Gaining your horse's respect is a simple and essential part of horse ownership that helps you build a strong relationship with him, and it starts with understanding why your horse is the way he is.

Understanding Your Horse's Needs

Horses belong in a herd; speaking evolutionarily, horses are prey animals that reap the benefits of numbers. In a running herd, predators have trouble concentrating on and decreasing an individual animal in a combined band of 20. An essential section of this herd is its hierarchy. In the event that you spend a complete day watching your horse in the pasture with other horses you will notice constant movement; initially this movement might seem random and aimless, but if you look closely you will see that all movement begins with one horse that sets off a chain reaction among the others. Horses will move and shift constantly, from patch of grass to piles of hay to watering trough, moved around by the boss of the pasture; while your horse may favor one section of grass or area of the pasture, the boss can move him off at will, pinning her ears and lowering her head, perhaps with a snaky, swaying movement or teeth bared, moving towards what she wants with very pointed energy. If your horse does not move when presented with these obvious physical signs, the boss will proceed with more physical interventions, kicking or biting to have the reaction she actually is looking for. If you can find horses low in the hierarchy compared to the horse that has been moved off, that horse shall check out move another horse, and another then, and so forth until they will have all moved to a new patch of grass or pile of hay.

The hierarchy of the dominant horse is fairly stable but can change; even something as simple as putting on a fly mask or a turnout blanket can shake up the herd and result in squeals, kicks and challenges until things settle down again with a (sometimes) new boss. As uncomfortable as it can look from the exterior, horses feel safer if they understand who's in control and where they fall in the ranks of the herd. A lead horse not merely says who eats what, when and where but additionally keeps an optical eye out for predators and monitors new foals; this horse also controls the speed and direction of movement when the herd must run from a predator.

A Herd of Two

A horse's need to feel safe as part of a herd's hierarchy does not diminish when it is just you and your horse, and there is only one safe way for you two to form your own herd: you must be the boss. If you do not assert yourself, you will become the owner of a horse who is (or becomes over time) pushy during feeding time, eventually you will have a dangerous horse that cannot be trusted on the ground and certainly should not be trusted under saddle. Your horse needs direction and guidance, and if he does not get it from you he will assume he could be the one in control and act accordingly.
The place to start

If your goal would be to create a relationship together with your horse that may last their lifetime, the initial step is building respect, we shall assume your horse's most elementary needs are increasingly being met in order that he is receptive to this type of basic training. and even if you have adopted or purchased a horse that is weak from hunger or illness, you can address some basic respect issues without harming your horse still. In case you are unsure,

For several exercises that follow, which is what you would like: a thoughtful horse. If that is your first-time doing groundwork, understand that you are training yourself, as you work with your horse, your body language and cues will become clearer and better to understand, and your horse will relax and follow your lead.

Basic Exercises

The purpose of these first exercises is to show the horse that you control their feet (direction). Going back to the exemplory case of the boss horse moving the herd from their food, understand that the boss could obtain the other horses moving with eye body and contact language. So that is where we'll start. You want to to obtain maximum response from minimum pressure, so start small and boost your motions until you get a result, then back off instantly.

Many professional trainers recommend using a rope halter with two knots over the nose, and a ten-foot lead rope. The reason for the rope halters as opposed to a basic web halter is that a stubborn horse can lean against a web halter, effectively resisting your cues and rendering it impossible that you can feel their slightest try nearly. In a shoving match, your horse will win, which is not the target to begin with. You want to to obtain maximum response from minimum pressure (a "light" horse), and a rope halter allows you to give smaller cues first and have the response quicker when compared to a nylon halter. Usually do not wait to start out until you have a rope halter; groundwork for respect should begin the second the first hoof hits the property! You can always get a different halter later.

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