‘Horses of Habits’
Horses are creatures of habit. When it comes to teaching horses we must first understand how horses think. Why do they react or respond the way they do to certain situations?
First off, we have to understand, the horse doesn’t reason as we do. They don’t know the strength they possess. If they did, we would have a terrible time if at all any chance of teaching them. The horse would always know he could over power us.
This is not, thank goodness, the way a horse thinks. But, on the other hand, if he has been allowed to get away with things because of improper handling he will know he has the strength to overcome or over power us.
We can program the horses brain through proper teaching concepts which will allow us to control the horse. The horse should be taught to have a specific response in certain situations. For instance, getting the horse to stop, you teach a specific command or body movement and the horse should know to stop immediately.
Have you ever seen this cartoon, or you may have been the cartoon at some time or another.
We go to catch our horse; the horse begins running down the fence line; we try to cut him off and he just speeds up and runs past us. (Horses are into pressure animals). We continue to chase after him until we get him cornered; we halter him; we get to the barn; we brush him; we give him grain; and by the time we do all of this, we’re too tired to saddle up so we turn him loose. Do that three time and on the fourth time, we go to catch the horse he looks at his buddies and tell them, well, I have to run for 30 minutes, go in the barn and get a massage and some candy and I will be back in a little bit. It’s funny what we teach them. Horses are creatures of habit.
In teaching horses, it’s best to teach one thing at a time until they understand it. You don’t want them to get confused. It may take a short while or it may take a long time. You just have to stay with that one thing until the horse understands. (We MUST not get frustrated, take the time it takes).
You encourage and reward the slightest try. If this is done correctly he will have the same response each time in this situation.
Your horse may have been taught bad habits or allowed to form bad habits by mishandling. It could have been in an abusive situation you we not aware of before you got it and he has a reaction to certain things. Understanding what the situation was you can begin where the horse needs you to begin. You need to understand, until you can teach your horse to do the right thing and reward the right thing with release of pressure or treats or whatever will work for your particular horse, he will react the same each time the situation arises.
The bad habits can be overcome. Some are more difficult than others but with the time and effort and the know how, all can be overcome.