No Ifs Buts or Maybes

People often say, ‘Never say never when it comes to horse training.’

‘Oh but,’ they say, ‘If you’re having problems, maybe you’ll need to resort to other techniques.’

I beg to disagree.

No matter how much trouble you’re having with a horse, here are some things that are NEVER EVER okay to do.

It’s never ever okay to tie any horse up to pull and fight.

It’s never ever okay to use restraints or to rope a horse’s legs.

It’s never ever okay to use a flag or a tarp on any horse, no matter how frightened the trainer may be.

It’s never ever okay to run a horse in a round yard in the hope that he’ll eventually come to you or ‘learn to respect you.’

It’s never ever okay to use special halters and gadgets on a horse’s head.

It’s never ever okay to hit any horse around the head.

It’s never ever okay to saddle a young horse and let him buck around.

It’s never ever okay to leave a horse in a yard with a saddle or a bit and bridle on, in the hope that ‘he’ll get used to it.’

It’s never ever okay to push a horse to the point where he’s sweating and distressed.

Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of terrified, badly handled or completely unhandled horses. Horses that chased me out of the yard. Horses that had been taught to kick and fight and buck.

No matter how difficult the horse was, no matter what problems I had and no matter how frustrated I felt, the NEVER EVER list applied in every situation. And it always will.

Please don’t tell me it’s okay to do these things under some circumstances – it isn’t. There are no exceptions.

People come up with all sorts of theories and stories to justify doing cruel and totally unnecessary things to horses.

I’ve heard many ridiculous stories and theories like, ‘I just do this, because I think it’s better / kinder / quicker / easier etc. etc.’

Stop right there – It doesn’t matter what you think, the only thing that matters is what your horse thinks.

Regardless of what YOU think, when a horse pulls back at a post or struggles with restraints or rushes away from a tarp or bucks around with the saddle, he’s telling you that he’s frightened and he doesn’t understand.

So please, stop listening to stories and old wives tales and start listening to your horse.

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