It is very important that you and your horse have good communication in all aspects, wether it be handling or riding. Volta is repeatedly taught every day to respect our space and to make sure he is always looking out for us , NOT US LOOKING OUT FOR HIM! Because he is a colt one needs also to make sure as the handler you are always in charge and he has the utmost respect for us all the time. This is not just done every now and then, it is done in every little task we manage with Volta. He does not have a pushy nature so this makes things a lot easier but he is a thinker and does try it on sometimes, we are sure he thinks ,”Oh I might give this a go, whats that and what will will happen if I do this?” One reprimand is all it takes with Volta, he learns very quickly and because Wes expects respect he decides to behave. Volta is a very happy colt, he is playful and very loving. We are sure his good nature will show in his future progeny.
Here is Volta having a quick ride on the sand arena before going out into the open paddock for the very first time.
Communicate better with your horse
Many clinicians make large amounts of money teaching games and tricks to managing your horse better. There are many things you can do at home that cost you only time.
Many people say “My horse is hard to catch” or many argue as to the intelligence of horses. One big thing to remember – the horse is an action creature. If you put two horses in a yard, unlike the movies, many times there’s no vocal output. Many times there’s a flurry of activity. Almost every time someone says their horse is hard to catch – the horse isn’t. The PERSON is TELLING the horse to run….and completely unaware of it. Horses read body language. Someone is stressed,. they snatch the halter and rope and at the end of a bad day stomp out to the paddock – where the day gets worse because the horse runs away. What they seldom realise is their tense, aggressive and hostile attitude comes through in their body language, and the horse reads that. Ease up and calmly, quietly, non-threating reach for the *neck*, loop the halter over it and secure it on the head. Why the neck? Because the horse has been getting “run” messages – reach for the head means he either challenges or submits – submitting means getting out of your way or bending the neck. If he’s fearful leaving will be the only option that enters his brain.
Many times it seems we cannot eliminate fear from the horse. They are a prey animal. They have two responses to fear – fight or flight. Some aggressive stallions are motivated by fear (“I’ll come after you so you leave me alone.”). For most horses though, flight is the option. Keeping this in mind horses are a whole lot simpler. It explains why they panic and thrash around when caught in wire – it explains why they shy from aggressive dogs and run from scary things. However, we can MANAGE that fear. We can give the horse tools to use to deal with the fear.
So how do we manage fear? We show the horse a few things. That we won’t ask him to do something that will get him hurt (this is a BIG COMMITTMENT when you think about it!!). That we will “defend” him from scary stuff. That things aren’t as bad as they seem.
No two horses are exactly alike. However, there are things *most* react to predictably. Something head high flapping in the breeze will send most running. Some just keep running; some run a “safe” distance and turn to look back; some back away.
Observe your horse – learn to read his actions. He’ll use his eyes and ears…he’ll wrinkle his nose and express himself without speaking. Observe what things bother him. This is important because you can USE that to be aware before things unexpected happen!
Most horses WANT to please – they WANT to do what you want…you have to make it crystal clear what that is. Telling him whoa while body language says run confuses him…and he’ll go with action over voice almost every time.
Stay tuned because next month we put Volta over a few little jumps with Wes riding him to see how he goes!
By for now……….
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