5 Tips to Building a Life-Long Partnership with Your Horse

Horse hug. Image - Teri Virbickis / Flickr.
You can have an amazing and long-lasting partnership with your horse following 5 important tips. Image – Teri Virbickis / Flickr.

Guest Post
by ALICIA JOHNSON

Believe it or not you can have an amazing and long-lasting relationship with your horse. However, it must be based on mutual respect for each other.

To gain respect and build that partnership with your horse, there are five major things that must happen.

Earn Respect
The first lesson you must learn is that you should never demand the respect from your horse. This is something you need to earn. Horses don’t react well to a strong hand or someone that is demanding and forceful. The key to gaining respect is to teach your horse by being a leader. Show your horse that you care for him.

Be a Leader
Being a leader for your horse means that you cannot dictate, but lead the horse as your partner. Remember that you’re a team that has to work together. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to let the horse run all over you. You don’t want to be scolding the horse all the time telling him that he is not doing anything right. As well, you don’t want to just let your horse do whatever they want. You have to find that happy medium with your horse.

Educating Your Horse
Your horse wants to be able to please you and needs to know what you expect out of him or her. You need to define what you want your horse to know, and then take the time to teach them that. In doing so, you must be consistent. As long as you are consistent with your trainings and keep them routine day after day, your horse will begin to see quickly what you expect and he will give that to you. The horse will feel confident in you and you will feel confident in the horse when they feel they know what your expectations are and when they can please you.

Prepare the Horse
By preparing a horse to have him to what you want, you need to find a way to give them a cue or hint. This is called a pre cue and it is a sign that you want the horse to do something coming up soon. Preparing your horse also means that you need to have a warm up session with them before exercising. The horse that is prepared physically before he springs into action is a horse that will be happy. Your horse will pick up quickly on the signs that you are getting ready to engage in exercise when the warm up begins. This is their sort of cue.

Timing, Balance, Release
Last but not least, you want to develop the feel for your horse with his timing, balance, and release. When you know when to ask your horse to do something, you’ve got timing. If the horse is not doing as you expect or doing something wrong, apply a fair bit of pressure. This may just be leg pressure to the horse’s body, but he will then know to look for the release. When you release the pressure he knows that he is now doing what you expect him to do. The balance comes in when you are applying pressure to the horse. You want to have the right instincts to know if you need to apply a bit more pressure or if you need to back off a bit. Your horse will know how to balance your wants by consistently following this procedure.

All of these things will help to build a long, lasting partnership with your horse. Along with that, you will develop a mutual respect and confidence in each other! Who knows these traits may rub off on other relationships in your life.

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Alicia Johnson writes about horses, family and finance.

Image source: Teri Virbickis, Photographer – Photostream on Flickr