After you’ve mastered the basics of horse training, beginning horse trainers will be ready to move onto more intermediate skills to teach their horse. Basic leading, training your horse to take a bit and to stop and start on command are important skills to build on. Here are 10 tips that will help you take your horse to the next stage of training:
Horse Training Tip #1: Follow a Pattern. To get your horse to accept any of the following commands and skills, it’s important that you remember one thing. Every direction or order you train your horse to do should follow the same teaching pattern: motivate your horse, pick one part of his body to focus on when eliciting a response from with your new command, choose a direction you would like him to take that body part, and then reward him when he does what you want.
Horse Training Tip #2: Motivation is Key. The motivating factor for your horse will change according to what you’re trying to teach him. If you’re trying to teach him to take direction via the reins, then it should be uncomfortable for him to do anything but turn in the direction you are requesting. Pulling on the reins, for example, exerts an uncomfortable pressure that he can release by turning in the direction of the pull. Motivation!
Horse Training Tip #3: Focus on a Body Part. By picking just one part of your horse’s body to focus on-i.e., pulling at the bit turns his head, and when his head turns his body follows, and then his legs follow-you train your horse to move his entire body without overwhelming him.
Horse Training Tip #4: Choose a Direction. Direction is hugely important when training your horse to learn a new command. There are six choices-up, down, back, forward, left, right-and it’s important that it is clear to your horse which way you would like to move the body part that you have focused on. This means that when you introduce a new command to your horse, you must make sure that the introduction is more than just verbal.
Horse Training Tip #5: Reward Good Behavior. Rewarding your horse for following through with a command correctly is hugely important. Immediately follow up a correct response to a command with a reward and then repeat the process of the command to reinforce his good work… and reward again!
Horse Training Tip #6: Ready to Ride. Taking on a rider is a huge step in training your horse. If you don’t feel like your horse is ready or you don’t feel safe, don’t rush your horse to take you as a rider.
Horse Training Tip #7: Good Sides and Bad Sides. Remember that your horse has a good side and a bad side, and these are ever-changing. From five minutes to the next, it will vary. Don’t let it steal your focus; just continue to work on the bad side.
Horse Training Tip #8: Straight, Left and Right. Teaching your horse to go in a straight line starts by teaching them to turn. When first teaching your horse to take the reins, never take more than two steps in a straight line and then lead him right or left. When they’ve mastered turning, going in a straight line will come easily.
Horse Training Tip #9: Keep Your Seat. Make sure you keep your seat correctly while training. It will take your horse longer to recognize the weight of a rider and learn the way you want him to respond.
Horse Training #10:A Relationship with Your Horse, A Relationship with Training. Once you’ve completed training your horse, it’s never over. Just like any relationship, you’ll have good days with your horse and bad days as well. Just keep at it, tuning them up when needed, introducing new advanced horse training commands when you feel like they’re ready.
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