Visit even if you can’t ride

Horses in boarding facilities, on average, stare at their stall walls 22 hours of the day waiting for you. You see you horse everyday and spend about two hours a day with your horse (husband willing). You’re the best thing other than feeding time that your horse gets to experience on the daily.

If more horse owners understood this there would be much stronger bonds with horse and their humans. PERIOD.

Think about this next time you visit your horse. You’re his entire world. You are the sole reason they are healthy and alive. You drop the ball, they are at your mercy. Treat them as such. They can’t say thank you or I miss you. They SHOW it. SHOW them you UNDERSTAND. That’s all they want.

Companionship. That’s what makes them “tick”. Like a clock, they are here because of YOU.

Don’t ride and work them so hard they are sweaty. Sometimes just go spend time with them, bring them out to grace, let them be horses in the pasture with you. Be a herd member be their leader. They love you more than you realize. They love you when you look and smell like a foot. They don’t judge they don’t criticize.

Next time you’re at the barn, tell them about your day. Cry on them when the world seemingly is against you. They are always there.

If you can’t catch your horse you need to do more of these things to show your appreciation. Don’t just ride. Visit them. Be the herd leader and herd member they see you for.

If you’re demanding perfection every time they see you and you only catch them so you can ride it’s basically a one sided relationship.

Visit don’t just ride. Find their favorite itchy spot. Sit with them and just watch them be themselves.

Be the person they need you to be and they, in turn, will be the horse you need them to be. It’s a partnership.

Be clear. Be consistent!

This is one of the most common issues I see with anyone who has horses. Make sure no matter what you ask of the horse you use the same cue for the same desired result. Changing cues or mixing them up to get a response is just creating confusion. Once I explain this it will seem simple but you have to be consistent in order to make a change.

While lunging I see 98% of horse owners clicking and kissing at their horse to get it to move around the pen. These same people also complain that their horses need spurs to move under saddle or the horse won’t pick up the trot or lope without extra coaxing.

These issues can all be avoided and fixed from the ground by simply dedicating one cue to one speed desired. For example I click three times to trot from a walk then kiss to canter or lope. this way the horse understands and there’s no miscommunication. Once the horse knows what to expect in the ground they will be more willing to try harder under saddle.

What you’ve created is a grey area and a lack of clear communication between you and your horse. If you click and kiss all the time together the horse doesn’t know weather you want to trot or canter when asked under saddle.

Another huge miscommunication I see that majority of horse owners do is click when asking to back the horse up either on the ground or under saddle. This click is another grey area. You use it to go forward yet use it when backing up. Change to the word “back” for back up and keep click for forward movement.

Keep your cues clear. If the horse is getting confused it’s most likely because you caused it. Step back and think how you can communicate more clearly and simply to your horse.