Author: Julie Goodnight

Horses Give More Than They Get

When you own horses, and especially if you keep them at home, sometimes it seems like your whole life revolves around doing their bidding—food service, housekeeping, valet service, maintenance. Most people who dream of bringing their horses home (after boarding them forever) are stunned to discover they have even less time to ride. Why? Because of all the other chores that need doing!

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A Devoted Horse

Horses rise or fall to your level of expectation, no matter how high or low. If you think he’s going to spook at something, he generally will. If you think he is going to throw a fit about getting in the trailer, he will oblige (especially if his emotional outbursts have gotten him what he wanted in the past). On the other hand, when your expectations are high, and you have clear parameters of obedient and compliant behavior, he steps up.

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Think Forward: Ride Yourself Out of Rough Spots

When was the last time you felt a lack of control while riding your horse, even if only for a moment? Was he spooked? Did your horse freak out because the other horses took off? During a tantrum your horse threw about leaving his herd mate?

In the moment of panic—let’s say right after your horse spooked at a rabbit—most riders grab the reins and clench hard when they first feel a lack of control. Often, they fail to shorten the reins first, so the reins are too long, causing the rider to lean back, hands flailing and out of balance too.

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My Horse Won’t Stay on the Rail

Horses are smarter than we give them credit for and any horse that’s been around an arena more than once, has figured out that it’s a much shorter distance around when they cut corners and leak in off the rail. No horse stays glued to the arena fence unless he is well-trained and obedient. All horses feel the pull of “gate gravity” or “barn gravity,” but only the horses that think they can get away with it will act on that feeling.

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