Horsemanship Training 5 Tips to Avoid Frustration

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    Feb 24, 2014
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Horsemanship Training 5 Tips to Avoid Frustration Photo by Ian Kirkham

We all have a limited amount of time to train our horses.  But in even small time periods can lead the way to improving our horsemanship.  We want to know that we’ve significantly made tomorrow’s ride a better one.  Frustration tends to be born from believing our actions are futile; like when the muddy pawed dog walks across the floor we’ve almost finished cleaning.  That’s frustrating!  Here are a few tips to make horse riding and training more enjoyable.

1 - When we hit a problem, let’s not think of it as a problem.  It’s an opportunity to improve our horse.  The wonderful thing is that when we advance one area of your horse’s training, at least ten other areas will be affected in a positive way.  Ask the question, “What would I really like my horse to do?”   It is easy to list the things we don’t like about our horse’s behavior.  But that really does not affect the solution.  (Actually, dwelling on what we don’t appreciate can make achieving the answer we really want even harder to reach!) Write down how you would like your horse to respond to your cues.  Put a picture of your horse in mind and outline the lesson plans to bring that vision to life!

2 - Our words affect our actions.  Avoid speaking negatively about your horse.  Don’t call him an idiot, stupid or stubborn.  As your horse’s teacher, think of him as a student in your school.  Even if a teacher’s technique is text book correct, he may still not reach his pupil’s full ability if he doesn’t believe in the student’s potential.  Your horse’s potential is locked behind a door to which you alone hold the key.  Dedication, hard work and belief in your horse will improve your horsemanship.

3 – Spend time learning from others.  There are valuable sources of horsemanship education online to glean from.  Like the Lyons Legacy Online School of Horsemanship.  We often get frustrated because we don’t see an answer.  But there are answers that could make your horse training easier and your riding more enjoyable.   

4 – Don’t get too emotional about horse training.  Riders often get preoccupied with thoughts about whether or not their horse “loves me” or “trusts me”.  This can get in the way of being an objective and simple teacher for the horse.  Horses are very straightforward creatures.  They need our leadership more than they need our treats or hugs.  Whenever you are working around your horse, treat him fairly but with specific expectations. 

5 - Give your horse a hug! The more we enjoy our horses, the better we will treat them.  Horses bring far more to our lives than we could ever measure.  There will always be difficult days, times when we are tired, emotionally worn out and burdened by the trials of life.  Laying the ground work in a well-trained horse will pay off in many unexpected ways. 


Author's Profile

A biologist with a PhD in animal behavior, and a writer for much of his career, Ian now focuses on one of his lifelong passions – horses & School of Horsemanship. He’s owned and trained horses in Canada, US, Zimbabwe and Costa Rica. Ian divides his time between horse riding and training, horsemanship education online

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