Saturday, February 9, 2013
How A Horse Should Behave Part 1
What should we expect?
The title of this, How A Horse Should Behave, sounds like a statement of fact. The truth is, the out come is whatever the expectation is. It is true to my findings that a horse will do exactly whats expected of them. So if we expect them to behave in a certain way, we must behave in a certain way in order to communicate our expectations. The reason a horse misbehaves or doesn't respond the way we would like, is do to us not having a clear understanding of our own expectation and/or we are not showing it clear enough. Expectation is very much like intention. Its more than a thought or an idea of what we want. If we expect something, we must show it clearly and follow it through to the end. It takes action and persistence to get what you expect. The relationship factor has to be in place also. If you expect to much from a stranger, you won't get anything at all. Sometimes our horses don't know us well enough for us to expect much from them either. Even horses that have been raised by you and lived with you for years, may still not know you well enough for you to expect much from them. So if you haven't done so, properly introduce yourself to your horse, and really get to know each other.
So, how should a horse behave? If you ask 100 people you may get 100 answers. But the only answer that matters is the one you give. If you don't have high expectations and don't care, that's fine. Its also fine to have super high expectations and not want anything less. Its all about what works for you and your horse. Now if you are using your horse in lessons or in a therapeutic program, you should have super high expectations. If you don't you will most likely put people and horses in danger. It doesn't matter for you and your horse, but it does matter if other people or horses are involved. We must also think of the vet, farrier, or anyone who may come work on or with your horse. Their safety should be taken into consideration.
In this section I will explain how I expect my horses to behave. It may be hard to explain in writing but I'll do my best. We are doing 2 demonstrations on this subject, one March 30th and one April 27th. Both demo's will also cover what we will be doing in our 4 other clinic topics. This will help people decide if they want to participate in one, or which one would best suit their needs. You can find a complete schedule at www.rjaysfarm.com on our upcoming events page.
The most important thing I expect of my horse is, that they give me 100% of their attention whenever I am around them. To me this is so important. Not only does it help them always know where you are and keep you safe. It also helps them to be more aware of the rest of your expectations. If they are paying attention to you they will understand you better when you ask them for something. Also this helps teach them to look to you for advise if something should trouble or confuse them. I also expect a horse to at least stand still while I approach them. I don't want them to run away from me at any time, even when I release them after taking their halter off. I never want a horse to think its a good idea to hurry up and get away from me. If I release them, I expect them to walk away slowly or stand there and let me walk away. When putting on the halter, I expect my horse to reach forward into the halter when I present it to them. Keeping their head nice and low so that their poll is bellow my armpit. This way I can, or even a child can put the halter on and see both eyes and ears from above. Being sure not to interfere with them during the process. When leading, I expect them to allow me to lead. Go when I go, stop when I stop, and back when I back. Never trying to pass me or pull on me. I expect my horse to stand still when tied and during grooming and tacking. Not allowing them to move around at all. I also expect them to stand still during mounting, no matter how hard it is for whoever is mounting, they need to stay put and not move until they are asked to. While riding I expect my horse to stay soft a supple, staying focused on me and the direction we are traveling. Not looking all over the place, this just leads to panic. I expect smooth transitions, and full cooperation.
These to me are things everyone should expect. If you don't, like I said earlier, that's fine. As long as there aren't other people or horses involved. They are things you will have to build up to. They will also need maintenance. Every horse out there will test and try to change the rules. Just like us humans do.
In Part 2 of this topic we will discus what it takes to get a horse to behave in a way that suits you. In order to do that we too must behave in a certain way. Thanks for reading.