Your attitude and how you think about horses, is the most important part of horse training.
Your ability to handle horses isn’t worth a dime if your underlying thinking is flawed.
Here are a few examples:
1. If you think your horse is being bad or naughty on purpose, you’ll punish him for reasons that he doesn’t understand.
2. If you think your horse is from a bloodline that’s hard to handle, you’ll adjust your lessons to suit your way of thinking and it won’t be long before you prove yourself right.
3. If you think your horse doesn’t respect you and you have to be his leader, then you’ll chase him and frighten him when he doesn’t understand what you want.
4. If you think your horse needs to be desensitised, then you’ll harass and annoy him when he doesn’t understand what you’re doing.
And here are a few home truths that you must remember every time you go near a horse:
1. There’s no such thing as a bad or naughty horse.
2. There’s no such thing as a certain breed of horses or a bad family of horses who all buck, bite, kick and are hard to handle.
3. Horses have no concept of right and wrong.
Your horse is never wrong and he never does the wrong thing.
Horses simply do what they see as being easiest under the circumstances.
4. Horses don’t think that you’re another horse.
Horse herds, leadership, respect and pecking orders have nothing to do with horse training.
5. Horses can’t be desensitised.
However, they can be taught to be confident and relaxed.
6. Horses have no concept of winning or losing.
You should never think that you’re trying to win, in any training situation.
7. The only part of any horse that you can teach, is his mind.
You can’t teach his mouth, nose, ears, jaw, neck, legs, back or any other part.
8. Horses don’t automatically know what you want them to do next.
They must be taught every step of the way.
And here’s the most important and valuable train of thought you can have, whenever you work with your horse:
No matter what happens, it’s never the horse’s fault.
You must never blame your horse when things go wrong.
Instead of blaming your horse, you must ask yourself:
‘What have I done to cause the horse to react in this way?’
‘What can I do next time to avoid this happening again?’
‘How can I improve so that I’m better prepared next time?’
Some people work with horses for years and years, yet still blame their horse when things go wrong.
They say the horse is ‘mad’ or ‘bad’,
or he’s a ‘bucker’, a ‘kicker’, a ‘biter’ or a ‘fighter’.
For these people, there’s always an excuse close at hand –it’s the horse’s fault!
Don’t fall for this trap.
When your horse has just bucked you off or kicked you or bitten you, it’s the hardest thing in the world to keep your temper and ask yourself what you did wrong.
No matter what happens, always try to keep your cool.
Don’t yell at your horse and don’t hit him or punish him.
Try not to react at all.
When you can do this and blame yourself, you’re on the road to becoming a much better horse-person.