Saturday, May 20, 2006

Handling And Understanding Your Horse

horseback riding

Handling And Understanding Your Horse by John Foley


If you've been taking regular riding lessons, you already have had some handling experience. Handling describes the activities you do with a horse while on the ground such as catching him, leading him and working around him. Its very important to learn correct handling for your own safety. Horses can be unpredictable, and even the quietest, most senseible horse can spook and run off. When a horse is upset, he will step on you or knock you over without a thought because his instinct is to escape whatever is upsetting him. This is why you should always be aware when your around a horse. Almost anything could happen. Understanding your horse's behavior helps you to know how to react if your horse acts badly or does something that seems strange. Here are a few things to consider : 1. Horses by nature are herd creatures. They like to be in the company of other horses. 2. Horses would rather run than fight. Running is their primary defense; that is why they spook or shy (jump or run away from a scary object) so much. If they spot something they think is dangerous, their natural reaction is to run away from it, a response that may have helped them to survive for millions of years. 3. Horses take their cues from other horses.If one horse becomes antsy, for example, in the warm-up arena at a show, it is likely that othera will catch on and act badly too. 4.Horses have remarkable memories. This can be good and bad. A good memory is a plus when you teach a horse a new task and he remembers it the next time. But if he has a bad experience such as a terrible ride in a trailer or a painful visit with the veterinarian, he will remember it for years.A horse's body language can tell you what he's feeling and help you predict what he's going to do. Accidents can be avoided if you pay close attention to your horse's body language. Here are some interpretations of horse body language : * Pinning his ears back means he feels angry or threatened. * Pawing with front hooves means he is impatient or hungry. * Swishing his tail violently means he is irritated or grumpy. * Swinging his hindquarters toward you means means he's afraid of you or he may kick. * Lifting a leg could mean he is preparing to kick. * Ears forward, head reaching toward you means he's interested in you. He may be asking, "Hey,do you have a treat for me ?" * Resting a hind leg could mean he is tired or simply feeling relaxed

horseback riding
Article Written J. Foley