Some typical scenes:
- Pony and kid: The pony tugs the kid to the next clump of grass.
- Rider, horse and lunge: The horse pulls on the lunge and finally the rider follows the direction of movement of the horse.
- Horse, rider and vet: The vet needs to intervene because the rider is not able to run the horse fast enough.
In the end all these scenes originate from a lack of leading competence of the rider. The horse needs to accept the hierarchy and that means that he obeys the rules and commands of the rider. Of course this does not mean that the horse completely loses its independence. But also in the natural horse herd all animals follow a clearly defined hierarchy that guarantees order, respect, responsibility and also a prevention against dangerous situations. When it comes to an unexpected and frightening situation the horse needs to know who it can rely on.
The rider needs to show and give proof of his reliability and leading quality – otherwise no living creature will voluntary entrust his life to the rider. A good rider needs endurance and a consequent behavior. Otherwise the horse will not understand what it is asked to do.
The body language can tell you a lot about the relationship between rider and horse. Undoubtedly there is a great difference if the horse welcomes the rider in its box with a friendly neigh or if he only shows his hindquarters.
If the horse clearly shows disinterest the rider can try to stir up the curiosity of the animal. With the help of a special movement or sound the horse becomes interested in the rider. This motivation and a trustful relationship between rider and horse is the basis for a successful training.
The horse needs to learn to react to the riders movements and commands. The daily training already starts in the horse box. As soon as the rider holds the horses rope the horse must not run out of the box. Instead, the leading person and therefore the rider needs to command the speed and direction. As soon as the horse starts to influence the speed or direction the rider loses his leading competences. Horse and rider are partners and therefore need to react to each other directly. This requires a high attention of the horse. If the rider stops or changes the direction the horse must react accordingly. This does not only strengthen the relationship between horse and rider but does also train the horses´ brain activity. And this, indeed, is part of an species-appropriate husbandry. Horses do not only need movement and feed but also a minimum of intellectual work.
The horse should walk next to the rider. In this position the rider can easily notice a change in the horses body language and react to dangerous or frightening situations. It is crucial that the horse does not walk too fast or even in front of the rider. In any situation the rider needs to demonstrate his gentile but undeniable leading competence. The rider needs to be able to lead his horse backwards or to the side at any time and without the use of physical strength. But this, indeed, can mean many power struggles.
General tip: Any kind of training and education can only be succesful if you regularly praise your horse.
If the horse once accepted the leading competence of the rider this will solve a lot of daily problems. Rider and horse will save their energy for the training in the riding arena instead of fighting for their individual power position. The rider can guide the horse at any time (even in trot) and together human and animal can try out walks through nature. This offers a new variety for the daily training and horse care and guarantees a peaceful atmosphere.
- Colorful ideas against dark and endless winter days – ground training
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- The importance of the right communication between horse and rider – how to understand the body language of the horse
- Horse grooming – sometimes less is more