Don’t Rush Your Horse

I’ve ridden, trained, bred, and competed in the horse world for over 50 years now. I learned the same thing that just about everyone does:

  • that you need the right bit to stop and control your horse.
  • you kick to make the horse go.
  • Spurs are to make them run faster (or spin harder or whatever)
  • Whips are for punishment.

Every bit of it is wrong. Yep, WRONG.

Took me a long time to learn that, but I finally did. Here’s the truth:

  • Your seat stops your horse–you don’t even need a bridle or reins.
  • Your weight and legs direct your horse-bits and reins really are superfluous.
  • Likewise, the way you  use your seat and legs can be the throttle that increases or decreases speed, increases or decreases relaxation or collection.
  • Spurs and whips should be used for signaling only. There are very few instances when punishment is warranted. Why? Because 99% of the time, YOU are the one who missed the signals the horse was giving and was trying to tell you something was off. YOU are the screw up. So if you just want to beat the crap out of somebody, go take yourself out behind the barn.

Now then–about that waiting on your horse stuff. 10790_592824257459405_128563812_n

Let the horse tell you when they are ready for the next step of doing anything. Break everything down into SMALL steps. For example, I have a trailer with a ramp. So to get one to load onto that trailer, I start with just asking one to pass by me and walk ACROSS THE RAMP. Then maybe I’ll feed them with the feed way up high on it so they have to reach for it-maybe even putting a foot on the ramp to get to it. No pressure-just if you want, go after it. Then maybe I’ll load a pasture mate and feed them inside.  Then I ask the newbie to just approach-they don’t have to load, just approach. I’ll let them stand-think about it-back up, then we’ll work for awhile. Repeat. After awhile, they start getting the idea “hey, if I approach the trailer, I get to stand and rest, but if I’m out here, I’m out running around”.

Usually takes about two hours to get one on for the first time. Let them eat, then back off and put them up. Let it soak. Don’t force it. Let the horse ask for another try at it. Let them get comfortable in there. Just grab a cold one and sit in the shade.

How do I know this works? I used this on my CTR horse. That horse would load any time any where-and what’s more, he’d stand in that trailer until I asked him to come off. One time I dropped both the ramp and the butt bar, but got called away before I unloaded him. He was still waiting for me 45 minutes later. He was not tied, but just waiting on me.

Don’t rush your horse.

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