Remember that a horse is a horse and not quite the same as a person! Some things about people and horses are similar; some things about horses and people are very different.
This horse training information is worthy of reading and understanding so that you develop a strong and trusting relationship when training your horse or pony. Understand from your horse's point of view and you can be successful working with your equity partners.
Consider this when you are training your horse or pony.
Your horse or pony likes to have friends around them. Your horse or pony feels most happy with other horses. Horses and ponies would prefer to be in company rather than alone. Most times they would like to be somewhere where they can actually play. At the least, they need to be able to see other horses or animals or people. You would think that a happy horse would be much easier to train!
Horses have a herd instinct and a flight instinct. They work out where they stand in a herd – the so called 'pecking order.' And they go with the crow rather than stand alone. Be aware of this. As a trainer, you can use this to help your horse and become his or her leader. You then become their focus and they are attentive to you.
A good leader can be a good trainer. If you want to be a good horse trainer, be consistent. Develop a trusting relationship between you and your horse. And remember how you communicate with your horse through your aids – both natural and artificial – and rewards.
Be patient with horses. Remember their fear and flight response. Their first response is often to go. And think later! That is where the trust comes in. Training your horse to the aids is often to go against their instinct. Training your horse or pony is long and rewarding job. He needs to feel secure and safe in his environment.
Your horse or pony's senses.
We use our senses of sight and smell and hearing and touch of course to help us but remember that horses use them in different ways and at different levels than we may.
Your horse's sense of smell is well developed. Watch when the horses are out in the paddocks by themselves and they smell something on the horizon. It catches their attention!
Your horse also has a good sense of hearing. A group of horses assisted in the paddock together can identify not just their name being called but their owner's voice – the one that feeds them! And watch their ears, they are often moving around like a radar picking up all the sounds that are happening around them.
Your horse's eyesight is not as good as your eyesight if you have what is considered 'normal' eyesight for people. While we are able to focus on an object in front of us, in contrast, your horse or pony needs to actually move their head up and down and around to see particular objects. Remember that when you are leading or riding your horse and their attention is called to an object that you recognize yet they can not immediately work out that that object is.
How sensitive do you think that your horse or pony is to touch? Have you seen him or her when a fly lands on their skin? Have you noticed how they respond when you touch their whiskers? They are very sensitive to touch! Their level of sensitivity is very high. Remember this too when you are using your aids. When you may not get the response you expect thenhaps rethink what you are asking instead of just reapplying the aids at a stronger level.
Notice your horse's eyes, your horse's ears, your horse's nostrils, your horse's skin, your horse all over! Are your horse's ears pricked because he is alert, or is his attention elsewhere? They are laying flat back on his head because he is angry or upset and mistrustful of you. Is he snorting lots like he is afraid of something or just not settled or is he snorting softly, sometimes like he is content?
Be alert around your horse. Be calm but alert. Be observant. Know what is going on.
All of this will help you become a better horse trainer and partner with your horse or pony because indeed you do know what makes your horse tick!