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by Downunder Horsemanship

Training Tip: Get Quick About Reading What Your Horse Needs in the Moment

Good horsemen are always reading their horses and making adjustments according to what the horse needs to succeed in any particular moment. This tip has two parts to it. The first part is for people who go into training sessions fixated on working on one or two particular exercises and focus solely on the exercise they’re working on with their horse. That mindset slows your horse’s progress considerably.

Here’s what I mean: You might be working on Yield the Hindquarters, but if your horse keeps pushing his front in on you, correct him. He’s telling you that he needs to work on Yield the Forequarters. Or maybe you’re in the middle of a training session and you go to rub your horse’s face and he gets startled and steps backwards. He’s telling you that he needs to work on the head-shy desensitizing exercises.

The second part of this tip is to train the horse that showed up for the lesson. In other words, your horse might naturally be cold-blooded and a bit lazy and you’re used to having to use assertive body language and increased pressure to get him to respond correctly. However, that doesn’t mean he’s going to approach every exercise or situation in that frame of mind. You’d be surprised about the number of cold-blooded, lazy horses who get hot and reactive when you ask them to step through a cowboy curtain or walk through a mud puddle. In those situations, you have to remind yourself to be the leader your horse needs in that moment. Don’t fall into the trap of pigeonholing your horse into a category and never assessing the type of leader he needs you to be.

Have a horsemanship question or looking for more training tips? Check out the No Worries Club.