A Beginner’s Guide on How to Train Your Horse

Being a first-time horse owner is unarguably fun. Nothing beats the euphoria of having to take care of a live animal.

Owning a horse is not all a bed of roses and walks under the sun though. First, you need to know how to train your horse. Horse training can be a daunting and challenging experience.

If it’s your first time training a horse, it’s best that you stay away from young horses. They are too unpredictable and will just give your training a harder time. Leave the young horses to the experienced trainers who have lots of knowledge and skills on how to handle them.

Below are some of the tips that you need to take note when training a horse for the first time.

1 What You Need to Know Before You Begin

In order to have safe and effective horse training, you must learn a few things before you begin first. You should know how to approach a horse and what training methods are effective. You should also know how to gauge if your approach is working or not and what to do if it’s not working. In addition, you must know when to tell if your approach is working.

Having a round pen in horse training may not be necessary, but it’s beneficial if you work in an enclosed space such as a round pen, small paddock, arena or ring.

2 What Your Horse Needs to Know

It takes two to train a horse. Whilst it’s important that you need to have yourself educated, you should also need to study the other side of the party which is your horse. Learn everything that you must have about horses.

Below are some of the essential horse manners that you need to train your horse:

  • Lead Quietly in Hand
  • Allow Every Body Part to Be Touched
  • Stand Quietly to Have Feet Handled
  • Accept Paste Wormers
  • Get on a Trailer
  • Wait
  • Be Caught
  • Stand Tied

Click here to learn more about training these essential horse manners.

3 Safe Things You Can Train a Horse

Below are some of the safe tricks that first-time trainers can train their horses.

  • Neck Rein

It’s a useful skill to be able to neck rein or steer your horse with one hand. Neck reining makes things like swishing away flies while trail riding, carrying something, or opening gates without dismounting easier. It is also a fun, safe, and easy thing you can teach your horse even if you are not advanced rider.

What You Need:

  • A ring, arena, or place where you feel safe and your horse is attentive.
  • Your horse, saddle and bridled
  • Direct Reining

Direct reining or plow (plough) reining means you hold one rein in each hand. The right-hand uses the right rein to cue for a right turn while the left-hand cues for a left turn. It’s a very basic skill that you must learn and as you gain more horse riding experience, you’ll learn how to guide your horse more precisely and use the reins with more finesse.

What You Will Need

  • Your horse, saddled and bridled
  • Thin riding gloves to improve your grip on the reins.
  • You can initially work at a flat obstacle-free area and as your skills progress, you can add more obstacles.

It’s also fun to train your horse with some tricks. It’s quite enjoyable to watch your horse perform some tricks. Giving a hug and giving a kiss are two of the most basic tricks that you can teach your horse. Remember that it’s not safe to teach your horse how to kiss though if he tends to bit ‘mouthy’ and nips.

4 Training Ages and Stages

Horse owners often wonder what stuff they can do with their horse at a certain age. Knowing when the right time to train is very important. Training a horse is similar to training your kid. You can’t expect your toddler to wash the dishes and empty the trash.

What can a foal do, and can you teach old horse some new tricks?

As a general rule, new trainer’s horse owners are safer to train older horses. Younger horses may not be as suitable. There are more good reasons of buying an older horse for a beginner rider and owner.

You may be tempted to buy a younger horse thinking that you will have an easier bond and you get to spend more time with him. Younger horses though tend to be unpredictable so training them could be harder for those that don’t have any experience. Despite its age, older horses have a lot to offer. As long as you take care of him properly, even an 18 or 20-year-old horse can have many years to live.

5 Common Training and Behavior Problems

There could be several reasons why behavioral problems arise. In handling any training problem, it’s important that you get to the root cause and identify why a horse is behaving that way. Once you have a full grasp of the situation, you’d be able to successfully find a way on how to resolve the problem.

Below are some of the possible causes of common misbehavior:

  • Physical Discomfort – A horse can be in a substantial amount of pain without showing it; however he may resist doing activities that can cause him more pain. If your horse is disobeying you when you command him to do an activity, especially the ones that he performs well, you might consider checking if he’s unwell or in pain.
  • Lack of Education – Lack of education could be a cause of behavioral problem, especially for young and untrained horses. For example, it’s common for a foal to resist having his hoof held and lifted as this activity is not natural for a horse.
  • Interrupted Education – Horses are like people, they tend to forget things over time.
  • Mis-education – Mis-education of horses is not uncommon, especially if the training was done by amateurs. One of the most common practices is using too much pain and threat in training.
  • Conflicting Education and Signals – Consistent treatment is needed if you want your horse to show a consistent behavior. Having conflicting signals and different education will lead him to confusion and misunderstanding.
  • Environment, Stress and Boredom – Many horses are kept from their natural environment and this could lead to boredom and stress. These factors could lead to misbehavior.

Click here to learn more tips on how to become a better horse rider and trainer.