The Ins and Outs of Horse Training

Horses are beautiful, graceful, and loving animals. However, people
do not realize that our equine friends are still very instinctual animals.

In the wild, if something jumped on a horse’s back, it was there for only
one thing. That horse was its next meal. Even today, horses have retained
the instinctive defense of running away, bucking, and kicking. Because of
these instincts, training a horse is a tedious and challenging process. A
trainer must understand the way a horse’s mind works and use the
information to obtain a goal. The reward for this process is a loving and
trusted counterpart. Horse training includes introduction and gaining
trust, familiarizing the horse with equipment being used, and finally
riding the horse with confidence.

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The first step in training a horse is the introduction. The wrong
introduction can lengthen the training process by months. Horses are
curious by nature. The trainer uses this as an asset in the introduction.

Rather than roping the animal and choking it down to touch it, a person
needs only to be in the pen with the horse. Eventually the animal will
become curious and approach the person. When the horse approaches the
trainer, the trainer should blow directly into its nose. A horse will
react naturally to this behavior since this is the way horses introduce
themselves in the wild. The horse is only getting a scent from the new
thing in the area. The horse should determine at that point that the
person is horse-friendly and allow the trainer to lift a hand and apply it
to its body. At this point the trainer must just touch and talk to the

By the end of the introduction, the trainer should be able to calmly
apply a halter. Once the halter is on the horse, the trainer must teach
the animal to lunge. Lunging is the process of putting a long rope on a
horse and having the horse walk, trot, or run in a circle around the
trainer. Lunging is a useful tool in gaining the horse’s trust and
teaching it basic word commands. Lunging and talking to the horse should
be done as much as possible. At the end of each workout, the trainer
should take extra time to brush out the horse. This has the same
therapeutic value to the horse as a massage. While in the process of
gaining the horse’s trust, the trainer should already have step two in

Now the horse is ready to be introduced to its equipment. The horse
should be introduced to its equipment in a safe and secure place, such as
where it eats and sleeps. The new equipment should be put into the area
before the horse is. It should be at eye level and no loose straps or
ropes should be attached to it in any way. The animal should eat and sleep
with this equipment for at least two days before the trainer integrates it
into the daily workout.When bringing it to the training enclosure, the
trainer should be firm about the goal. The horse may still view the saddle
as a wild cat that is looking for a scrumptious equine dinner. The saddle
should become a daily ritual, and it should be used for lunging as often as
possible. During the first few work-outs, the saddle should be loose and
progress up to a nice tight cinch.

At this point, the horse should be trusting of the trainer, familiar
with the equipment, and have a good understanding of word commands from the
trainer. The animal’s confidence should be high in the work area. If the
horse is still showing signs of insecurity, step one should be repeated
until the desired result is obtained.

Once the horse is secure with the trainer, area, and equipment, the
trainer should prepare to ride it. When the trainer mounts the horse, the
horse should be looking directly at the trainer. The trainer should be
very verbal at this point, with a very reconfirming voice. When the
trainer is on the horse, the horse should already have a firm grasp of go,
stop, and turn due to lunging.

Once this process is completed, the trainer will have a trusted
counterpart and loving friend. A well-trained horse can bring many hours
of joy into the life of a trainer.


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