Horse Training Tips

- Guides and Tips

Horse Training

No matter how experienced a trainer you are, breaking in a new horse is always an exciting and challenging task. Here are a handful of essential tips which will help keep you on track and make sure you are safe, effective, and successful in this endeavour!

Be Safe

To avoid accidents, always stay in your horse’s field of vision and make no sudden movements. Otherwise you run the risk of provoking a defensive reaction which might endanger both of you.

Communicate

Training your horse is about building a relationship with them, and relationships are based on communication. Invoke your inner horse whisperer, maintain a calm and low tone of voice, and speak softly.

Handle the Face
Face Touching

Head and face touching are essential parts of horse training, and you have to get your horse to tolerate this form of contact. Move your hand slowly. If your horse gets nervous when you touch a particular face area, stop your hand there and keep it until the anxiety subsides. Remember to speak softly as you hold your hand in place.

Reinforcement Beats Punishment

While you have to establish a clear reward-punishment system, keep in mind horses respond to praise much better than to critique. Whenever your horse obeys a command, provide immediate positive feedback. Tell them they did well, do something they like, or lift the pressure you were applying to make them complete the task.

Rewards Are Not Only Treats

Remember that your horse is an intelligent and complex being. You do not always have to reward good behaviour with snacks. Establish what your horse enjoys (e.g. neck stroking, nostril-to-nostril breathing, wither scratching) and vary your reinforcements.

Timing is essential

Whether you reward or punish, you have to act swiftly in order to create a clear direct association between the horse’s action and your reaction. Have different auditory signals (e.g. faint whistle for good behavior and tongue click for bad) ready, use them right on cue, and apply the appropriate action to establish patterns.

Be Your Horse’s Leader and Guardian

From the very beginning, you have to establish yourself as the leader in the situation. To achieve this, be consistent, kind, and respectful. Start every training session with a specific achievable goal in mind and work towards it patiently. A determined and caring trainer makes a calm and obedient horse.