Horse Training – How We Inadvertently Train Horses

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We are always horse training

This is a common question I get. The answer of course is because you trained him to do it!
Whether you believe it or not you have trained him to do it. What ever ‘it’ happens to be. Bad or good we have probably trained the horse to do it.One of the most common things people do is to ‘humanize” or anthropomorphize horses. That is to say we give the horse human feelings and believe that they think like humans. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We, as humans tend to humanize what the horse is thinking and that gets us into trouble. For Example why does my horse buck or kickout at me?

You know how dangerous a kicking or bucking horse can be for the rider, trainer and other people in the area. So why would a horse kickout or buck while being ridden? This has happened to me and one time the horse even kicked me on the bottom of the foot while I was riding.

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Having the correct bridle is important

I asked the owner what she did when the horse bucked or kicked out like that. She told me she got off and took the horse back to the stable. The owner had inadvertently ‘trained’ that horse to buck and kickout.
Here is the summary:
The horse owner gets on the horse and the horse bucks, acts up or kicks out. The owner gets frustrated and dismounts and takes the horse back to the stable.
The owner has brought an apple for the horse so before she leaves she gives the horse the apple.
What has the horse learned from this? get ridden and when I get tired I buck or kickout

  • I get taken back to the stable
  • Then I don’t have to do anymore work AND
  • I get apples

Basically you have just rewarded your horse to buck or kickout. You can substitute most any vice and you could probably follow it back to a root reward.
Why does my horse (and these are some of my favorites):

  • Step away from the mounting block, just as I am about ready to mount
  • Stop to poop while Im riding
  • Bite
  • Throw its shoulder into me when I lead it (more on this later)

What are you doing on a consistent basis that may be causing your horse to act in this fashion? Are you inadvertently rewarding the horse for a behavior you find unacceptable?

Are you taking your foot out of the stirrup and stepping around following the horse giving the control back to the horse?

  • Are you passively waiting and sitting in a passive manner while the horse completes its ‘business’?
  • Do you reward a biting horse by soothing him and saying good boy?
  • Do you allow the horse to put its shoulder into you and turn him toward you?

You may have inadvertently trained him to do all these things!
Stay tuned for tips on how to correct these and other issues of control.

If you need help immediately with your horse. Please feel free to email me so I can give you some insight and help with you and your relationship with your horse.

About Laura

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