Having a horse is such a joy. They make for fantastic companions and will bring lots of fun rides for years to come. However, owning a horse isn't just all fun and games. It comes with a lot of responsibility as these animals need proper training. An unruly beast is not only challenging to ride but can be dangerous for you and anyone who comes near.
Taking the time to nurture the relationship between you and your horse starts from the ground up. Ground manners are essential for teaching your companion to behave and respect you as his protector and friend.
Here, we cover the primary horse ground manners that your animal should know before you ride.
When taking your horse out of the stable, he should be able to walk quietly beside you and be attentive to whatever command you may have. He should respond to each order with ease and not become frustrated.
Leading calmly is one of the most straightforward but essential horse ground manners that the animal should know.
When walking with your horse, he should never pull you, lead ahead, or fall back. You should always be in control of where the animal goes with you.
Most animals don’t like people touching every body part, and horses are no different. But when it comes to grooming, petting, and riding, you are going to come in contact with many parts of your horse's body.
If your horse hasn’t learned to allow you to touch his sensitive areas—like the ears, muzzle, or beneath his legs—he will object to you handling him.
Grooming can be an essential part of getting a horse to feel comfortable with his handler. But researchers have found only about 5% of horses respond well to grooming.
The same researchers found proper grooming leads to 177 times more positive behaviors on average per horse, so it's crucial to groom regularly. It makes your job easier and helps your companion feel more comfortable when handled.
A horse's feet demand more care than the average animal. They use them to walk and run, so an injury to this area can quickly become life threatening.
They also require regular hoof care. Ideally, it would be best if you trimmed the hooves every six to eight weeks.
It’s vital that you teach your horse to be calm and patiently stand for hoof cleaning and trimming. A fussy horse can kick if irritated with hoof handling, and that can be life-threatening for you.
Paste wormers are medications given to horses that treat and control many species and stages of parasites, bots, strongyles, and more. There are many types of worms, and they can seriously damage the intestines and internal organs. Your companion could suffer an illness, or worse, death.
De-worming will help to keep the animal in the best health possible, so your companion will need to become comfortable with de-worming. They will need to be able to accept oral medications and dental exams.
Horses need to be able to get on a trailer peacefully. Even if you have no plans to transport the animal anywhere at any point in their life, emergencies happen, and you could need to take them to a vet clinic.
If this does occur and a horse can not quietly load on a trailer, it could affect the animal's life.
Trailer loading is one of the commonly overlooked horse ground manners that you need to take seriously.
A horse should be able to listen to and follow commands without getting frustrated. You may need them to standby while you prepare feed or prep for riding.
If your horse doesn’t understand how to wait when commanded, they could barge through the gates or doors when the handler isn’t ready.
This behavior could be dangerous for both the horse and owner. It can also be frustrating to have a horse who can’t follow commands. It makes simple tasks like going for rides a hassle.
All horses will need catching, no matter what kind of lifestyle your companion may live. No matter if it is a competitor, pasture decoration, or just a riding companion, you will have to catch it at some point. Taking the time to get your horse comfortable being caught can save you lots of time and frustration.
If you have a ride or any other activity planned and can’t reign in your horse, your plans will go very wrong.
Also, it can pose a risk to you and the animal. If the animal lashes out or bolts, it could hurt itself and the handler.
Horses are naturally anxious creatures and easily spooked by a plethora of things. Standing tied up is one of them.
Being tied up will make any person or animal feel scared, but your horse has to learn that there is nothing to fear. Horses often need to stand tied for grooming and hoof cleaning, so they must become comfortable with the process.
Teach them to stand tied without pulling or fussing. It will make everyday activities with your companion easier.
One of the biggest horse manners that your horse must know is saddling.
When a horse is young or untrained, they will often buck or pull because of discomfort. The earlier you correct this problem, the better off you’ll be, and the more fun you can have riding your horse.
Nipping, biting, and kicking are a horse’s natural reaction to discomfort or frustration. However, this behavior is not acceptable.
Nipping can make things like feeding, saddling, and riding difficult. Kicking can be dangerous.
Use patience and be consistent in training and your horse will rid of these behaviors in no time.
Having a horse is such a joy, but you want to take the time to ensure your horse has locked in these basic horse ground manners. Once they do, your relationship will be bliss.
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