7 Common Mistakes Horse Owners Make

Mar 26 16:15 2007 Calum Steel Print This Article

Being a horse owner brings with it many responsibilities and an important part of that is not teaching your horse bad habits.

Many serious,Guest Posting and potentially dangerous bad habits in horses started as little annoying (maybe even cute) habits. Stopping bad habits forming is easier than fixing them when they become serious problems. After spending several years fixing these problems for people it was obvious many of them came from some common sense areas as follows...

  1. Not teaching the horse to lead. It is suprising how many problems people have handling a horse properly. Generally you will find a horse that is hard to do anything with on the ground (grooming, loading into floats, etc) comes back to either the horse was never taught to lead properly or has been aloud to develope bad habits when leading. The size and strength of a horse makes being taught to lead properly a very important lesson, and one that should be reinforced whenever you handle the horse. Do not let the horse pick up bad habits to start with.Think about the things you do with a horse on the ground... The majority comes back to leading, loading onto a float, in and out of stalls, moving a horse around during grooming, etc. All of these and many more have a basis in leading. If your horse does not lead properly start teaching it today.
  2. Letting a horse move off when mounting. This is a very common error for people to make. It may not sound like a very big problem until you have seen what can happen. Someone is mounting a horse, the stirrup iron or their boot is a bit wet, the horse starts to move off and they slip and end up on the ground and stood on by the horse.Things like that dont happen do they? Yes and it has the potential to cause serious injury and even death. Dont risk it, teach your horse to stand while you are mounting until you give the command to move off.
  3. Acting as a playmate to the horse. Yes you can have fun with your horse but the horse must understand you are not an equal or lessor in the herd. Horses are herd animals and within a herd there is a hierarchy. You need to have your horse look to you for leadership not see you as its equal or lessor member of the herd.
  4. Rushing the horse when learning something new. Some people do not have the patience to teach new things to their horse and get bored or frustrated quickly. Take your time when teaching anything new to your horse and you will get more progress than rushing.Introduce new things in stages and do not move onto the next stage until the horse is comfortable with the previous stage. Always finish a lesson on a positive note as it makes it much easier to continue the training the next day.
  5. Letting the horse have its head when going home. This is a common mistake for young riders. It does not take young riders long to realise it is easier to make the horse go fast on the way home so why not do it.What these riders do not realise is they are forming the habit in the horse of rushing home. Many horses I have seen that are bolters started in this way. A bolting horse is not only dangerous to the rider but the horse and innocent bystanders as well.The easiest way to fix this problem is not to let your horse get into the habit to start with. Get into the habit of walking the last quarter mile home. This not only helps eliminate this fault but also gives your horse time to cool off after a ride.
  6. Giving up when teaching something new. This is related to rushing a horse when learning something new. Do not start teaching your horse something unless you have the time and skills to complete the task. If you find yourself out of your depth ask for help from someone more experienced. Follow the same guidelines outlined in number 4.
  7. Not checking your tack before use. How does this relate to bad habits? Your horse bucks and you think that is just the way he is... A small splinter of wood in the saddle cloth or saddle digging into my back would make me buck too. Your horse fidgets when being girthed. Same as above or a girth that has not been cleaned and has sweat and dirt embedded in it is not very comfortable. My horse throws its head all the time. That sharp bit of metal on that old worn bit would make me throw my head in objection too.As you can see poorly maintained tack can cause what appear to be bad habits in yur horse. It only takes a minute to check your tack before each use and can save alot of trouble.

These points should help you and your horse overcome some of the more common problems people encounter. Often we overlook the little things when looking for solutions but it is often the little things that create larger problems down the track.

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Calum Steel
Calum Steel

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