Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Top 7 Mistakes Horse Owners Make

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The Top 7 Mistakes Horse Owners Make By: Andy Curry

#7 – Assuming You Can Get On Any Horse And Simply RideNot all horses are the same. Some you can get on and easily ride. Some are so green that you could be easily injured if you have little or no riding experience. The ones easy to ride are typically older horses. They have been ridden the most and will be the most forgiving of a beginning rider’s mistakes. The younger horses will be the hardest to ride unless they have been thoroughly broke. Mistake #6 – Assuming A Horse Trainer’s Technique Is The Only Way To Train A Horse When novice horse owners begin to experience problems with their horse, they go looking for answers. The first place they look is in books. When the author of the book explains a training technique, the reader assumes that’s how it’s done by everyone. But when they can’t train their horse with that technique, they assume a dumb or untrainable horse. What novice horse owners need to know is that there are typically lots of ways to train a horse to do one thing. If you try something and it doesn’t work, try something else. Mistake #5 – Not Riding A Horse Enough New horse owners experience problems with horses not because the horse suddenly went sour, but because they don’t ride their horses enough. About the best thing you can do to have a good horse is to ride it and ride it and ride it. Don’t ride him just once every couple weeks. Horses need to ridden a lot to make them a good riding horse. Mistake #4 – Thinking A Problem With The Horse Is The Horse’s FaultAlthough a horse may have some problems, they are typically a result of the horse’s owner. There are rarely horse problems – it’s more likely there are problem riders. For instance, if you can’t get your horse to ride away from home (this is called “Barn Sour”) it’s likely because you don’t have control over him. You can establish control with various techniques such as Doubling. Mistake #3 – Not Understanding How Horses Think Horses do not think like dogs or cats. Horses are a prey animal which means they run from scary things. They have thousands of years of the “flight instinct” built in their brains. To successfully train them takes patience and understanding that they are naturally fearful and cynical. Mistake #2 – Not Knowing That Every Interaction With A Horse Is A Training Exercise Every time you interact with your horse you are training him. Even if your horse is well trained with the lead rope, you are training him every time you use the lead rope. Even when you pet your horse, you are training him. Novice horse owners must think through what they do when working with their horse because they can easily and unknowingly affect a horse’s behavior. Mistake #1 – Riding A Horse With Little Or No Understanding Of Horsemanship A typical novice horse owner will ride their new horse not knowing horse-riding skills. It is important to have an understanding of riding techniques because horses react to leg pressure, how you sit in the saddle, whether or not the rider is tense, and a whole host of other things. Let’s face it. Horses need to be understood for a horse owner to be successful with his horse. The best thing novice horse owners can do is learn how to ride, learn how horses think, learn what works good to shape horses’ behavior, and understand that constantly riding a horse is just about the best thing you can do to have a good horse.
About the Author
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of several best selling horse training and horse care books. For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com. He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Matching Horse And Rider

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Matching Horse And Rider By J. Foley

Just as with humans, horses have very different temperaments and characteristics depending on their breeding; talents, and how quickly or slowly they grow up. There is no such thing as a 'bad-tempered horse', merely one that has reacted
antagonistically to some bad experience. 'Bad horses are made, not born.

Apart from training the horse properly, to ensure these bad experiences do not occur and leave a negative imprint, it is as important to match the right horse to the right job as it is to match horse to rider.

A highly nervous, quick-reacting thoroughbred will lose confidence with an experienced handler just as quickly as the handler will. Similarly, a laid-back, big-framed cob forced to go fast in a jump-off every week is going to be just as unhappy as its frustrated rider who fails yet again to win a prize. In these situations, it is less an admission of failure than one of common sense to acknowledge that both horse and rider would be happier with a partner better suited in temperment, objectives and riding skill.

As a general principle, a young horse needs an experienced rider and a novice rider is better off on a steady, experienced horse. While we should not attribute human emotions to animals, it is correct to summize that horses can feel emotion, that they can pick up 'vibes' and react to a negative or positive environment. Trust and harmony form the basis of any relationship, and it is the same with horses. When these qualities are present, the relationship between horse and rider is capable of bringing much reward and pleasure.

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Article Written By J. Foley