The Top 7 Mistakes Horse Owners Make
By Andy Curry
Let’s face it. Horses need to be understood for a horse owner to be successful with their horse. The best thing novice horse owners can do is learn how to ride, learn how horses think, learn what works good to shape horses’ behavior, and understand that constantly riding a horse is just about the best thing you can do to have a good horse.
Mistake #1 – Riding A Horse With Little Or No Understanding Of Horsemanship
A typical novice horse owner will ride their new horse not knowing horse-riding skills. It is important to have an understanding of riding techniques because horses react to leg pressure, how you sit in the saddle, whether or not the rider is tense, and a whole host of other things.
Mistake #2 – Not Knowing That Every Interaction With A Horse Is A Training
Every time you interact with your horse you are training it. Even if your horse is well trained with the lead rope, you are training it every time you use the lead rope. Even when you pet your horse, you are training it. Novice horse owners must think through what they do when working with their horse because they can easily and unknowingly affect a horse’s behavior.
Mistake #3 – Not Understanding How Horses Think
Horses do not think like dogs or cats. Horses are a prey animal which means they run from scary things. They have thousands of years of the “flight instinct” built in their brains. To successfully train them takes patience and understanding that they are naturally fearful and cynical.
Mistake #4 – Thinking A Problem With The Horse Is The Horse’s Fault
Although a horse may have some problems, they are typically a result of the horse’s owner. There are rarely horse problems – it’s more likely there are problem riders. For instance, if you can’t get your horse to ride away from home (this is called “Barn Sour”) it’s likely because you don’t have control over it. You can establish control with various techniques such as Doubling.
Mistake #5 – Not Riding A Horse Enough
New horse owners experience problems with horses not because the horse suddenly went sour, but because they don’t ride their horses enough. About the best thing you can do to have a good horse is to ride it and ride it and ride it. Don’t ride just once every couple weeks. Horses need to ridden a lot to make them a good riding horse.
Mistake #6 – Assuming A Horse Trainer’s Technique Is The Only Way To Train A Horse
When novice horse owners begin to experience problems with their horse, they go looking for answers. The first place they look is in books. When the author of the book explains a training technique, the reader assumes that’s how it’s done by everyone. But when they can’t train their horse with that technique, they assume a dumb or untrainable horse. What novice horse owners need to know is that there are typically lots of ways to train a horse to do one thing. If you try something and it doesn’t work, try something else.
Mistake #7 – Assuming You Can Get On Any Horse And Simply Ride
Not all horses are the same. Some you can get on and easily ride. Some are so green that you could be easily injured if you have little or no riding experience. The ones easy to ride are typically older horses. They have been ridden the most and will be the most forgiving of a beginning rider’s mistakes. The younger horses will be the hardest to ride unless they have been thoroughly broke.