Here are a few tips to help your beginner horse training to move along more smoothly.
1. Horses are fearful creatures
By instinct of preservation, horses are naturally fearful creatures. Because they are a prey animal, they may exhibit reservation with other animals and people in new situations. If the horse doesn’t know you, it will judge you based on your actions, before finally deciding that you are not someone with bad intentions. It bases its decisions on your body language and believe it or not, your thoughts, and will respond accordingly based on what it perceives. The horse will either flee, embrace your friendship or study you further.
2. Gradual training is essential
One must understand that it takes a while for horses to warm up. Training often needs to be a gradual process. You must learn how to tame the horse correctly and effectively. Like dogs, horses must see its trainer as its leader — gender is rarely an issue. It should be noted that some horses are natural leaders, therefore, dominant. If you own one with such characteristic, training can be a bit tougher. Make sure you are asserting dominance at all times. Tough love can be the best thing for both of you till you structure the pecking order of the “herd”.
3. Horses are herd animals
Horses are herd animals and they naturally function in this manner. They will always want someone to lead them. Remember to speak their language in your training. This will speed up the process immensely. Do your own due diligence on the language of equus and natural horsemanship.
4. Riding the horse is not the first step
Before actually riding the horse, you must do some ground work and training. There is no shortcut especially for beginners. Longing and bending is a must at first. Teach commands while longing before putting your rear on the saddle. A horse must be body-aware and desensitized. If you want to get bucked off, skip your groundwork.
5. Proper manners on lead
Lead training is absolutely necessary. A horse MUST display manners with humans on the ground. Teach the horse to walk beside on a lead while giving it basic commands like to turn or stop. Some horses will test your dominance during lead training. It is vital to let the animal know who’s boss.
6. Warm-up the horse before riding
Even with a horse that is already trained, it is still advisable to warm-up your horse physically and mentally before riding it. Do a bit of longing or some exercises in groundwork, so the animal will know what to expect.
7. Cooling the animal off
Training sessions must end with a cool down period. Just as with a primed athlete, the animal must be give a chance to settle his muscles. Let the animal relax and wind down. A tired and frustrated horse is very difficult to train. As a rule of the thumb, make every training session a pleasant experience for the horse, always ending on a good note and before the animal has a chance to loose interest. The animal will be happy to learn and do some training again when it knows that the experience is worthwhile. Remember…. Positive reinforcement is a crucial key to success.