Pet Peeves

Grab Hands

“Grab Hands”
It drives me crazy to see people lead a horse by holding onto the halter, instead of using a lead rope. This action is both dangerous and poor horsemanship. Wrapping your fingers around a halter can very quickly and easily turn into a dislocated shoulder, by the horse throwing his head or spooking. Additionally, horses don’t much care for hands in their face and grabbing the horse by the halter positions the handler far too close to the horse’s head and front feet. This close proximity to the horse’s head can lead to claustrophobia on the horse’s part (which may in turn lead to a pull-back problem) and puts the human in a dangerous position which may lead to being butted by the horse’s head or run over. Not to mention how easy it is for the horse to throw his head and get loose. Whenever you handle a horse, use a lead rope and hold the rope 6-8″ below the halter, so as not to crowd the horse’s head and front end.

Grab Hands Read More »

Who’s in Charge Anyway?

“Who’s in Charge Anyway?”
Julie Goodnight, Master Instructor and Clinician, Poncha Springs, CO

Many people mount up on their horse and no sooner is their seat in the saddle and their foot in the stirrup than the horse just walks off, with no cue from the rider. In short order, the horse, which is by now used to making decisions unauthorized by you, is walking off before you sit down and then when you put the foot in the stirrup to mount. We tend to want to blame the horse at this point: my horse won’t stand still for mounting, when we have effectively trained the horse over time to not stand still for mounting by condoning his unauthorized decisions. A horse should stand perfectly still when you mount, as you adjust the saddle and get settled and should wait for you to actually cue him to walk before he goes any where. Allowing a horse to walk off at any time without a specific cue to walk, is teaching the horse that he can do what he wants, when he wants. When I am teaching a group lesson, I like to explain to the riders that your horse may try to walk off when the horse in front of him walks, but to make him stand until he is patiently awaiting y our signal. This is a great exercise for both the horse and rider. If you ride your horse with awareness and control, he will learn that he has to wait for a directive from you in all things and at all times.

Who’s in Charge Anyway? Read More »

No Rubbing

No Rubbing
It can be dangerous and annoying when people do not teach their horse to respect the handlers’ space. Do not let a horse rub their head on you after removing their bridle. You can give them a rub on your terms, but allowing them to rub on you shows a lack of respect. I have seen people knocked over when their horse head-butted them after removing the bridle. This can be especially dangerous with children. When handling your horse, do not allow them to come too close into your personal space unless you invite them in. If they get too close, ask your horse to back up or move over. Your horse will start to see you as the leader instead of someone they can literally walk all over.
Tabatha Gullikson – WI

No Rubbing Read More »