The Importance of Stretching Your Horse

Stretching is a must-have before and after exercise. Doing your workout without a pre and post-stretching could put too much pressure on your muscles and you end up sore the whole week.

While stretching has become our mantra, did we ever stop and think if horses need stretching too? Just like human athletes, your horse needs their muscles to be on top condition too. If you want your horse to take you to greater heights in your horse riding career, it’s important that you maintain its overall health. Your horse could get its muscle strained, sore, stiff or tight and stretching its muscle is an effective way of avoiding this to happen.

What Are the Benefits of Stretching a Horse’s Muscles?

Dr. Jack Root, DVM, Oakhurst Equine Veterinary Services and Owner, Grindstone 1996 Kentucky Derby winner said, “We do not think enough about injury prevention.  By warming up the horse and then putting it through some stretches, we can increase range of motion and enable the horse to perform more fluidly and to the best of its ability.”

By safely and effective stretching the muscles of your horse, you reap the following benefits:

  • Maximizing the performance of your horse as stretching helps improve flexibility and range of motion (ROM).
  • Prevents injury by helping to guard against tendon shortening and muscle tightness and strengthening supportive tissue.
  • Helps reduce post-exercise muscle fatigue, stiffness and soreness.
  • Helps the horse to relax and improve its disposition.
  • Helps provide early warning signs of a potential injury and can help in rehabilitation of injury.
  • Helps improve the bond between the rider and the horse.

Science Explains Why Stretching Helps

Muscles are made up of several muscle bundles, which in turn are made up of muscle fibers. These muscle fibers have bundles of myofibrils, which are rod-like structures that run parallel to one another. Other muscles can attach other muscles with the help of a fibrous tissue called fascia. Tendons attach the muscles to the bone.

When there is an underuse or overuse of muscle, the afore-mentioned structures tighten or shrink which can result to discomfort, stiffness and negatively impact performance.  Dr. Ava Frick, DVM, explained, “Stiffness can result in injury, leading to inactivity, and eventually speed up the aging of the musculoskeletal system.  To remain supple, the connective tissue and muscles need regular stretching.  Stretching helps resist the gradual shortening and tightening of tissue that otherwise set in from both underuse and overuse, reducing discomfort and slowing the progressive loss of capacity that accompanies tightening.”

Do I Have to be an Experienced Rider to Stretch My Horse?

Absolutely not.

The great news is you don’t need to be an experienced rider to be qualified to stretch your horse’s muscles. Regardless of your riding ability or experience, anyone can learn how to perform horse stretching safely and effectively. There are many instructional videos and helpful articles that you can get your hands on. Read and watch as much of these useful guides as you can.

Andrea Quale of AndreasHorseTraining.com said, “The stretches Ilene taught me were a wonderful addition to my lesson horse, Wyatt’s, regimen. I was so impressed with the results, I started doing stretches with all of my horses, and I taught all of my students how to do stretch too!  I highly recommend stretching to anyone who wants to do everything possible to help their horse be successful in their work and happy in their body.”

Many people overlook stretching when it comes to horse healthcare. As a rider, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your horse is at its optimum health. It’s pretty clear that there are plenty of advantages in horse stretching. Not only does it prevent horse injury, it also helps improve the performance of your horse. Plus, when your horse is at its optimum health, you get to save money on vet and body worker bills.

Guidelines in Horse Stretching

  • Safety first for both the rider and the horse – Prior to stretching, examine your surroundings first and check if it’s safe and conducive for stretching. When helping your horse stretch, don’t forget to practice good body mechanics and ergonomics. Depending on your horse, you can do your stretches in a single tie, cross-ties, a ground tie, or with a holder.
  • Don’t perform stretches on cold muscles as it can cause strains, tears and other issues and injuries. All stretches should be performed on warm muscles.
  • Don’t cheat the stretch. If you want your horse to gain the maximum benefit of stretching, then you must perform proper stretching form.
  • Most stretches can be performed up to 5 days a week as long as your horse is healthy. Tail pull stretches, on the other hand, should not be performed more than 4 days per week.
  • Each horse has different stretching needs. The type of stretches and frequency that are appropriate for a horse recovering from an injury can greatly vary. Just because a certain stretch was effective on a different horse does not mean that it will also work similarly to your horse.
  • The duration of the stretch will vary depending on many factors such nutrition level, conformation, prior injury and muscle tightness. You can start with a 5-10 second hold time and you can increase it gradually to 30 seconds.
  • Never press on a joint to support a stretch or push or pull on joints.
  • Another effective technique in maximizing the benefit of stretching is deep breathing and relaxing your hands as much as possible.
  • If there is a noted pain or discomfort, never proceed to stretching.
  • Not all stretches contained in Stretch Your Horse videos are applicable to all horses. Before you start your stretching regimen, consult with an equine healthcare professional first.

Horse stretching may just take a few minutes of your time, but clearly the benefits can go a long way. Before you get on your horse, make it a habit that you don’t just stretch your body; stretch your horse’s muscles too.

For more helpful tips about horse riding, click here.

10 Things You Should Know Before Your First Horse Riding

If you’re looking for something to spice up your workout routine, why not try horseback riding?

Many of us don’t really think horseback riding as a “fitness” activity, but riding on a horse is an excellent form of exercise. This hobby can help you achieve stable core, strong legs and impeccable balance. Plus, spending time outdoor can certainly do your body some good.

Whether you want to try horse riding for an active lifestyle or you’re passionate about horses, you can’t just simply hit the trails. Below are some things that you need to know first before your first horse riding.

1. Safety Should be your Priority

Being a first-timer in horse riding, it’s understandable that you feel giddy and just want to try on the first stable that you come across with. Safety should be your number one priority and it’s important that you take precautions at all time.

The first step that you need to take is do your research and check for the most reputable local stable. Look for establishment that is safe, legitimate, clean and in good repair. Also find a certified riding instructor who has tons of experience dealing with beginners.

Click here to find a certified instructor near you.

Wear Proper Clothing

If you think wearing a cowboy boots is enough, you may need to think again.

Wearing the proper clothing will not only make you comfortable but it will also help improve your performance. Protect your legs from chafing against the saddle by wearing long and comfortable pants. Closed-toed shoes with a small heel are also recommended to keep your feet on the stirrups. Avoid wearing loose clothing and accessories that could get tangled in equipment.

3. Stay Hydrated

It is important that you drink lots of water when horse riding. You can work up a lot of sweat, especially on warm days, so keep yourself hydrated throughout the ride by bringing a water bottle along.

4. Arrive Early or On Time

Being late on your first horse riding lesson is a big no-no.

Arrive atleast 15 minutes before the lesson so that you have time to get to know your instructor, co-trainees and even the horse. When meeting your horse for the first time, stay towards the left side or the front. Horses have smaller brains and they are trained to expect human activity from the left side.

5. Follow the Leader

When you’re leading your horse, stand to the left of its head and hold the reins with your right hand below its chin. Your left hand should be little bit down the length of the reins so they don’t drag on the ground.

6. Be Sensitive to Your Horse

Before you settle on your choice of saddle, it’s a must that you know the basic traits and characteristics of the horses.

All horses, even the ones that are best-trained, are naturally prey animals and they are genetically wired to flee when they sense danger. Horses are one of the most sensitive animals, their sharp eyes can see almost 360 degrees around their bodies and their ears could sense even the faintest sounds. They also have a strong sense of gauging danger or fear.

When you’re approaching a horse, stay calm and be confident. As it can sense your fear, use a low, calm voice and never sneak up to your horse. Avoid making sudden noises or movements as well.

7. Check Your Equipment

Horse riding could be a dangerous activity. There is a risk of falling over and being injured.

With this being said, it’s important that you take your safety very seriously. Before you jump into the saddle, check your equipment first if they are properly placed and secured. Make sure that the stirrups are the correct length, the straps on the bridle are tight but don’t restrict the horse’s breathing and the saddle doesn’t slide around. Though an instructor will help you check if everything is secured, it would never hurt if you take extra precaution yourself.

8. Learn How to Get on a Horse

Getting on a horse without help can certainly be challenging. Your instructor will not be there all the time so it’s important that you learn how to get on your horse by yourself.

To do this, look for a mounting block and position it on the left side of your horse and put the reins over your horse’s head. Stick the left toe in the stirrup and hold the reins in your left hand with its front rested on the saddle. Place your right hand on the saddle’s back and pull yourself straight up gently, swinging the right leg carefully over the horse’s back. Once your legs are on the side of your horse, gently sit down on the saddle and put your right foot in the right stirrup.

9. Master the Horse’s Walk

Most horses have four progressively speedy gaits: walk, trot, canter, and gallop. The walk is the steadiest gait because the horse always has at least one foot on the ground.

Mastering your horse’s walk is quite simple. With both of your shoulders squared and heels down in the stirrups, sit up tall and keep your eyes focused ahead between the horse’s ears. This is the most stable and comfortable position for both the rider and the horse. When walking your horse’s walk, remember to stay relaxed in the saddle and move with your horse.

10. Rein It In

Use the reins to steer and stop your horse. The reins are connected to the metal bit in the mouth of the horse so always remember to be gentle with it. Horses could get uncomfortable when you jerk them around by the mouth.

To steer left, move the left rein towards the left as if you’re opening the door. If you want your horse’s head to move to the right, do the same motion with the right rein. Gently pull back on the reins while sitting up tall and pushing the heels further down if you want your horse to slow down or stop.

Horse riding is not only fun and exciting; it also gives your body the exercise it needs. Click here for more useful tips and articles about horse riding.

Basic Safety Tips That You Should Know in Horse Riding

When you see riders galloping on their horses, you’d be impressed at how sophisticated and agile they look. You must know though that horse riding is not an easy activity and it could also be a dangerous one. I’m sure you have heard a story or two about someone getting hurt or injured while riding.

The danger that comes with horse riding should not hinder you from learning this activity though. With precautionary measures, you can stay away from injury and have a fun and exciting ride. Accidents can certainly be avoided as long as you put safeguards in place.

Below are horse riding safety tips that you must know:

Equipment

The first thing that you have to consider before going for a ride is what safety equipment to bring. Just like how a warrior goes to battle with his shield and armor, you should never go out empty handed. You certainly don’t want to be caught without protection.

So what is the necessary horse riding equipment that you must have?

Below are a must to give you a safe and enjoyable horse riding experience.

  • Underwear – Wearing the right underwear can drastically improve your performance. For women, a good sports bra is a must. This takes the strain off both the spine and the bust. For men, wear underpants or briefs that don’t have any seams that can rub against your skin when you’re riding.
  • Upper body – It could get hot when you’re working or riding in stables. To avoid being warm and getting cold, wear some type of functional clothing closest to the body to transport the moisture away. Wear a jumper or jacket on top that can keep your body dry and warm by wicking the moisture. Avoid wearing large and loose clothes as well as jackets equipped with hoods. Soft and close-fitting clothes are recommended.
  • Riding breeches and chaps – Riding breeches reduce the risk of blisters and help you have more stability in the saddle and sit better. Riding breeches can be made from various materials – the most commonly used are elastane, micropolyamide, polyester and cotton. Chaps are simple and practical way to pull on overriding breeches. Most chaps are made of napa leather or suede, but new models are made of waterproof nylon.
  • Gloves – Protect your hands when working with a horse or in the stables by wearing gloves. Three-finger gloves are ideal for winter riding.
  • Spurs and whips – Spurs and whips can help you reinforce your aids when it comes to giving commands or signals to your horse. There are various sizes and designs that you can choose according to what fits you and your horse.
  • Helmet – You could really hurt your head during falls or accidents. To lessen the risk of injury, it is important that you wear an appropriate helmet the whole time. Choose the one that fits your head snuggly.
  • Safety vest – Young riders and even experienced ones should wear safety vest to protect your torso. Aside from wearing the appropriate equipment, you should also make sure that your horse is comfortable and the saddle and everything else fit properly.

Your Horse

Choosing the right horse is not only essential for new riders, it is also important for everyone else. Some accidents happen because a rider chose a horse that is too powerful and too big for him. Make sure that you choose one that has a compatible size and strength as you are.

Most riders take time to get to know their horse first, especially if it’s a new one. They take their new horse out to feed or spend time with them first before breaking them in and riding them. You will be building a relationship with your horse so it’s important that you study every action and behavior of your horse. If you’re new in horse riding and want to take your green out, make sure that someone accompanies you just in case something unexpected happens.

Always strive to be calm and exude happiness when you’re near your horse. Horses can read all of your actions and emotions. When you’re happy, your horse will be in a better mood too. Avoid making jerky movements or sudden raise of tone. This could make your horse feel uneasy and tensed.

If your horse suddenly became agitated or disgruntled during a ride, you must remember not to deal with the situation while you’re still riding your horse. Dismount and try to calm your horse down from the ground. Trying to soothe a disgruntled horse while riding invites accident or injury.

Click here to learn how to calm your horse down.

Horse Riding Tips

Aside from the tips above, learn these general horse riding tips by heart.

  • Don’t ride alone – This is especially true when you are still new to this sport. Horses can get unpredictable and you don’t want to be alone when accident happens. Have a friend or a trainer accompany you on your practice. If riding alone is inevitable, let someone know where you are going and what time you should be home. This way, they know where to look for you should something unexpected happens.
  • Be cautious of your surroundings – Another skill that you must learn in horse riding is learning how to be cautious. Aside from being aware of your horse’s movements or reactions, it is also important that you study your surroundings. Horses can get startled quite easily so take extra caution when you are in a noisy environment.
  • Have an experienced rider or coach/instructor – This is especially true if you are just learning to ride. Horse riding could be dangerous sports so don’t ever try it alone. Take lessons from an experienced coach or rider. Aside from learning all the basics in a short period of time, you also reduce your risk of accidents or injuries.
  • When riding in a group, keep at least one horse length between each horse. Having all horses in a closer proximity could lead to a horse kicking another one.
  • Reduce the severity of injury when being trampled by the horse once on the ground by learning how to fall and roll away from the horse.

Click here for more helpful tips about horse riding.

 

Tips on How to Become a Better Horse Rider

Continuous practice is very important in everything you do. Regardless if you’re training for the Olympics, trying to beat your housemate on the highest score rank of Angry bird or pushing your luck to get in American Idol. Once you think you’re already doing well, don’t stop and push yourself even harder.

The same goes with horse riding. You may think that you have acquired all the necessary skills to be a good rider, but you just simply should not stop there. You should always strive to improve your horsemanship.

So how do you make yourself even better?

Below are some of the tips that you can apply to become an even better horse rider.

1. Practice Riding at least 3 Times a Week

If you want to improve your riding skill faster, it’s important that you practice as much as you can. You should invest a lot of your time in horse riding. Practicing at least three times a week can advance your skill tremendously.

When you’re only practicing ones in a blue moon, there won’t be much of a progress on your skill. It’s more likely that you forgot what you learned on your previous session and had to relearn the skill or technique. Not only it’s a waste of time but going around the circle could be frustrating.

Three times a week of practice is already a good number, it would even be better if you can increase the frequency of your training.

2. Keep Your Eyes on Your Goals

Whether you’re horse riding professionally or leisurely, all of us have goals that we’re aiming to achieve. In most cases, the road to our goals is not an easy one. You would meet a lot of humps and bumps along the way. No matter what the obstacles are, always remember your goal and focus on it. Road bumps could bring you down, but you should not allow them to be the cause of losing your focus.

Patience is another key. You may be eager to hit the finish line, but you should be patient enough to never skip any step. Never rush your horse just because you want to finish faster. Being impatient can do more harm than good.

3. Know the Basics First

It’s almost impossible to master something more difficult without knowing the basics yet.

If you want to be as good as Valentina Truppa, you have to take time to know the basics first. You should spend time researching and learning the basic skills needed in horse riding. You should also learn the rules of the game, as well as the do’s and don’ts when it comes to etiquette.

Once you have mastered the basics, you can then proceed to the more complicated stuff. Learning is always a process and you just can simply skip to the next step without taking the necessary first few steps yet.

4. Have Consistency When You are Near Your Horse

Horses may look big and strong, but they are very sensitive animals. They observe all of your movements and react on how you behave near them.

Always be consistent when you are near your horse. Training your horse does not only happen when you are in the saddle, it’s a holistic experience that goes beyond being on top of your horse.  Avoid jerky movements or sudden gestures when you are near your horse. A sudden raise of tone could send a different signal to your horse and it could cause him to panic or become uneasy. Keep yourself calm all the time. When faced with an unexpected situation, learn how to gather yourself and control your reaction. You certainly don’t want your horse to run frantically just because you saw a big rat at the corner of your eyes.

5. No Two Horses Are The Same

We should never come to a generalization that all horses are the same.

Just like human beings, each horse has its own unique qualities and characteristics. That is why it’s important that you treat each horse differently. Just because you had an easy time with the previous horse does not mean that you will experience the same with the new one.  Gauge each horse that you come across with and take time to get to know them.

You have to be patient if you want to become a successful horse rider. Don’t think that the technique that you learned from the previous horse will work exactly the same with the current one. It may take you more time to warm up on some horses but what’s important is the end result. Just continue on pushing through and all horses would eventually love you.

6. Pay Full Attention to Your Horse

You and your horse would spend a lot of time together.

When you are together, you have to pay full attention to your horse. Learn all of his movements and observe his reactions to your actions. By getting to know your horse better, you lessen the risk of accidents and injury. You will also have a better performance if you are sensitive to what your horse feels.

Horse riding is a team work. You won’t become successful alone; you have to consider your horse as a team member and knowing everything about your horse can certainly go a long way. After each training session, try to evaluate your performance as well as your horse’s. Take all the cues and clues from your horse and use these to improve your techniques.

7. Maintain a Happy Attitude

Your horse can pick up your different mood swings.

Horses are smart creature and they can sense if you are nervous, anxious or depressed. Having a negative mood can also affect your horse negatively. Try to create a happy aura instead whenever you are near your horse. Get rid of the negative emotions and focus on the positive things. A happy rider begets a happy horse.

Do you find this article helpful? Click here for more tips on how to become a better horse rider.

8 Common Horse Riding Mistakes New Riders are Guilty of Committing

Are you planning of learning how to horse ride?

Horse riding is a fun and exciting activity. Many of us are quite hesitant to try it though because of fear and apprehensions. Whilst learning to ride horseback could indeed be challenging, the euphoria of being able to conquer your fear and successfully ride a horse like a warrior beat all the learning bumps. It’s   also important that you equip yourself with as much knowledge about horse riding as you can.

Below is some of the most common horse riding mistakes that new riders are guilty of committing. Taking note of these mistakes and making sure that you won’t do them will give you heaps of a head start in your journey of learning.

1. Gripping Tightly With Your Legs

First thing that you should remember is that riding is not about grip; instead it is more about balance. Keep your muscles active but not too stiff and tense. When you grip your horse’s back tightly with your legs, not only will it make you feel tired but it could send a wrong signal to the horse. Gripping and clenching will make your body tense and this could affect how the horse will respond to your signal.

How to fix it: Your leg should be hanging from the hip when you sit in the saddle, with your weight falling down on your heel. Instead of allowing your leg to swing to the front or back, it’s better if you keep your foot under you. Create an imaginary straight line from your ear, shoulder, hip to your heel.

2. Hands in the Air

Many beginner riders are guilty of putting their hands way up in the air when they start to feel insecure. Whilst it’s basic instinct for us to use our hands and arms in balancing, doing so when horse riding may not be a good idea. When your hands are up in the air, you lose control of the horse since you’re leaving the reins much too long.

How to fix it: Practice on following the horse’s movement with your core and seat. Keep your hands at hip level while your reins should have a light and even tension. If the horse pulls the reins loose, readjust them. If you are direct reining, there should have a straight line that goes from your elbows, forearm, wrist, hands, reins and to the bit in the horse’s mouth. If you are neck reining, there should be a slight tension on the reins when you are pulling back. Your elbows should be at your side while your hands should be kept at hip level.

Click here to know how to use direct reining to turn your horse.

3. Ramming Your Feet Into the Stirrups

Avoid ramming your feet into the stirrups. Not only it will cause you discomfort but it could also be dangerous especially if you are not wearing proper boots or using safety stirrups.

How to fix it: The stirrups should be at the proper length. It should just hit your ankle bone when your legs are hanging free. Put your foot in the stirrup so the ball part of your foot rests on the stirrup. Practice on achieving proper leg position.

4. Standing Tippy Toe

This mistake is often committed when riders are first learning to post the trot. When you rock up to lift yourself out of the saddle and standing tip toe, it’s more likely that you will fall behind the trots rhythm. Double bouncing heavily on the saddle could make you involuntarily put your hands in the air to counterbalance yourself. This could make you uncomfortable and could affect the mood of your horse.

How to fix it: Practice on your leg position. Keep your lower leg still and your feet under you. Learning how to effectively use your core muscles is a big help on posting the trot.

5. Drawing Up Your Knees

When getting in the saddle for the first time, many new riders position themselves like they are sitting in a chair. Some of them may look forced down with their feet pushed forward while others draw their knees and heels up. Some new riders even mimic the jockeys.

How to fix it: This is the same with leg clenching. Hang your leg downwards from the hip and keep it properly aligned. Avoid pinching with your knees.

6. Slouching

Slouching is a common horse riding mistakes whether you’re trying to imitate hunched over cowboys you saw in the movies, feeling terrified about riding or embarrassed of your height. Some new riders tend to curl into fetal position when they feel anxious and nervous. Controlling a horse while in a hunched position would be hard, plus slouching also affects your balance. When your balance is compromised, the ability of your horse to perform its job is also compromised.

How to fix it: Relax your muscles and sit straight up, but not too ramrod straight. Your chin should be up and your gaze should always be on where you are going. Don’t squeeze your shoulder blades as it can make you feel tense. Open up your chest and let your breastbone float upwards instead. Keep yourself calm and tension free.

7. Holding Your Breath

Some riders tend to hold their breath when they are concentrating too hard or feel very tensed. Even experienced riders are guilty of holding their breath when faced with something new.

How to fix it: Try to relax yourself and take your mind off the pressure. Do whatever you can to stay calm – breath in rhythm, hum a tune or smile.

8. Looking at the Horse

Horses are beautiful creatures and many of us can’t help gazing at them. When you look down at your horse though, you stiffen your spine and your gaze is not on where you are going.

How to fix it: There’s a partial truth to the saying that you should look between your horse’s ears. Your eyes should only be on where you are going. Having your chin up and eyes forward will put you in better balance.

Click here for more tips on horse riding.

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.