As a rule, a horse’s loyalty is highly dependent on the type of training and how it is circled. A horse that has been circled correctly and has obeyed its trainer out of respect is more enjoyable than one that feels fear. Follow these tips when riding around your horse to build trust.
Earn the horse’s trust. Friendship with the horse is a top priority in building trust, which further enhances training. Spend time with your horse every day, at first just being around and combing the mane. Brushing will help you bond with your horse and form a relationship between him and you. Working alongside her in the pasture will give her time to feel confident in you. Talk to her and reassure her if something scares her.
- Horses are often prey, so they can easily get scared. If the horse did not grow up next to people, he may be afraid of them.
- If your horse or foal is too young to train, go ahead and start teaching him how to get used to people and earn her trust.
- You must spend a significant amount of time building the horse’s trust before you start training it.
Observe safety rules. Horses are strong animals and can cause serious injury. When training your horse, you need to make sure you are safe. Stand where the horse can see you most of the time. If you must move to somewhere out of sight, run your hand along her side so that she knows where you are going.
- It is best to stand on the left side of the horse, in line with the ear, at an angle to the head. From this place the horse is easiest to see you.
- Talk to your horse when you are out of sight. That way she will know where you are.
- Do not walk behind the horse. Also, do not stand directly in front of the horse’s face.
- Do not kneel or sit near the horse. When exercising your hooves, bend over instead of squatting.
Do everything in stages. Dressing a horse is a slow process. You have to fully cement each step into a habit before moving on to the next. When you train a horse, each new concept you introduce needs to build on what you just taught. Remember, you must finally develop the habit in the horse, because otherwise, he will not be fully trained.
- Never give up. For the horse, some steps may be easier than others. Dressing a horse is a big responsibility.
- Try to complete each session with success. Even if it has only made little progress, such as when the horse allows the reins to be pulled close to the face.
Never be angry with a horse. Never shout at her, do not hit, do not throw objects or behave aggressively. It can scare her and break all the trust you’ve built. Talk to your horse in a calm, low tone.
- If the horse does not obey you, correct it in a calm manner without showing aggression. Try using the sound “shshh” to tell the horse that it is doing something wrong.
Reward your horse for success. By giving your horse positive reinforcement, you will teach him to do what you want to do. This includes giving her a treat or petting her. You can also use negative reinforcement. This includes tapping with a finger or touching with a whip if the horse is not afraid of it. You can also try light reins, reins, or pressure on your legs.
- Never use negative reinforcement in the form of intimidating or painful action. They should be consistent and calm, not harsh. Continue this negative reinforcement action until the horse recovers. Stop immediately after the horse does the right thing.
Let the horse get used to your hands. The first way to train your horse to bridle is to get him used to the fact that you can keep your hands close to his head, ears and neck. Do it slowly. Stay within the horse’s field of view so as not to frighten him off. Come closer slowly. If you approach too abruptly, she may misinterpret your actions. Keep doing this until you can touch the horse.
- Make sure that every time the horse is successful, you give verbal praise. You can only praise that this time the hand was closer to her face, or she only allows you to touch her for a few seconds.
- Reward the horse for every successful action by giving it a treat.
Let your horse get used to the bridle. Start by letting your horse see and smell the bridle in your hands. For the first few days, just hold it close to the horse and let it watch and sniff it and be aware that it is not dangerous. Then, start slowly placing the bridle on your nose and head. At first, you may want to leave it unbuttoned on it. Once the horse gets used to this, you can attach the bridle behind the ears.
- This may take several tries. Be patient and calm as you try to make a little progress every day.
- After you are finally able to put the bridle on your horse, leave it on it for a few days.
Introduce the bridle. Start introducing the bridle to the horse along with the bridle. Rub the bridle gently all over the horse’s face. Try to keep her mouth open for the bridle. Do it gently.
Add a bit. In addition to training your horse to bridle, you must also train him to use the bit. Slowly insert the bit into the horse’s mouth. Do this for a few minutes first. Gradually increase the time the bit is in your mouth.
- To make it easier to fit the bit into the horse’s mouth, adding a layer of molasses (molasses) will help, and this will give him more pleasure.
Put on the temples. Once the bit is in the horse’s mouth without resistance, place the temples over the ears. Do not fasten your seat belts yet.
- Work slowly to fasten the belts. Remember to let your horse get used to the feeling of the bridle on the head and ears.
Teaching a horse to walk on a line
Understanding how to walk on the line. Pulling, or tethered training, allows you to lead your horse around the arena as you train it. When doing this, make sure to use the largest diameter arena possible. A ring that is too small can damage the horse’s legs, ligaments and tendons. Make sure the circle is at least 18 meters in diameter.
- When you start teaching your horse to lane, you shouldn’t do it for more than 10 minutes in each direction. Gradually prepare the horse for longer sessions, as long stretching can result in overstretching the body.
Train your horse from the ground. Before attempting to saddle a horse, it is important to build trust with dressage on the ground. Attach a cord to the horse’s bridle.
Make the horse feel comfortable with the cord in its mouth. If you hit the bit sharply, you can create inconvenience for the horse. Discomfort to the horse or pain in the mouth will make the horse afraid to line.
- Move with your horse so that the line has even tension. Eventually, the horse will perceive this contact and walk in a circle in a way that maintains it rather than pushing or pulling.
Lead on the lane. Pulling is a demonstration of leadership in the arena. Spend time on the line at least once every day. Use gestures to guide and accelerate. Gradually build up the speed and intensity of your lining until she can walk at a canter, all the while listening to your signals.
- You should never touch your horse during training; all signals must be given by changes in energy and body position, or by the direction of the tension at the end of your cord.
- Line driving is an exercise in trust; whenever the horse obeys your command, train to obey the gaze and loosen the applied tension.
Train your horse to follow your commands. Teach her to walk right next to you when you lead with the chombur. While the horse is moving in a circle, you need to teach him voice commands. Introduce the horse to the commands: bridle, stop, walk, and back. Be sure to teach the horse to understand the bridle and walk commands before doing anything else. Then, you can start introducing her to other faster commands, like trot.
- Try to use “wow” instead of “bridle” as some of the commands sound similar in English, such as “halt” (bridle) and “trot” (trot), can confuse some horses.
Teach your horse to be respectful of your space. The horse can test you as you train. She may try to push you out of her space in order to understand who is in charge. When the horse comes very close to you, press on his ribs, about 30 cm beyond the shoulders. The leader of the herd does the same to discipline the horse. The horse will move to the side and give you space.
Teach your horse to respond to pressure. The horse must learn to react to the pressure on the bridle. Attach the chombur to the bridle. Stand on the right side of the horse. Pull the chombur to the right to apply tension. The horse must understand and turn its head towards you thanks to this command.
- Repeat on the left side. Do the same back and forth by pulling the bridle in the desired direction.
- The horse will learn to follow the pull so you release it.
Introduce the saddle. The horse must become familiar with the weight and sound of the saddle on its back. Just like with the bridle and bit, take a few days to get the horse used to the sound of the saddle, the smell, and how it looks.
- After the horse has become accustomed to its appearance, hold the saddle over the horse’s back without touching it.
Place the saddlecloth / blanket on the horse. After the horse is used to the saddle, place a pad (saddle pad) or blanket over the horse’s back. Leave it on for just a few minutes. Then remove. Repeat a few times. Do this on both sides so that the horse gets used to doing it from different sides.
Place the saddle on the horse. Introduce and place the saddle carefully on the horse. Be sure to calm your horse well by talking and stroking it. Leave it on for a few minutes. Do this on both sides of the horse.
- Make sure to remove the stirrups and harnesses while you saddle up.
Attach a girth to the horse. Do this very slowly. Tighten the girth a little every day, especially if the horse is shy. If the horse seems to be very scared, stop and let it adjust to the harness.
- When the horse allows you to fully tighten the girth, gently lean towards the horse’s back.
Let your horse get used to the stirrups. Next, ride on a line with a saddle and a deflated stirrup. This will help the horse get used to objects on the sides such as legs. Also start putting the straps back on the saddle.
- Do it slowly. Enter one new item at a time. Let the horse shake off the fear of him before you introduce something new.
Lead with a saddle. When the horse is accustomed to being saddled for a longer period of time, begin to lead the horse on the line in the arena with the saddle on its back.
Training a horse to be saddled
Prepare your horse to climb. Before these horses, I probably only saw you at or below eye level. Move your horse closer to the intersection of the fence posts. Climb onto the pole and stand high so that you are above the level of the horse’s head.
Introduce the horse to the feeling of weight on his back. To help you familiarize your horse with the weight of a person on the back, involve an experienced rider. First, the rider will throw his leg up and lie across the saddle. He needs to gently lower his weight onto the horse so that the horse doesn’t get scared.
- If the horse accepts this, pet it and reward it.
Climb onto the horse’s back. The rider should slowly and carefully place his left foot in the stirrup. Keeping the weight on the horse’s back, ask the rider to swing the right leg over the horse’s back without hitting the horse in any way. The rider must then place his foot on the right stirrup.
- Remind the rider to bend down, as the sight of him on the horse’s back will scare her. Keep the rider firmly in the saddle, but do not grip the reins tightly, as if he is thrown off the saddle, this will frighten the horse even more.
Lead your horse slowly. With the rider on his back, slowly drive the horse, gradually moving away from the animal.
- Ask the rider to collect the reins and make contact with the horse’s mouth, gently so as not to frighten him. Have the rider gently ask the horse to walk with verbal command and gentle pressure.
Try to climb on a horse. After an experienced rider has climbed on a horse, now you need to climb on it. Climbing a horse for the first time can be very dangerous and should not be done without the guidance of an experienced groom or trainer. Gently climb onto the horse without hitting or pinching the horse collar. Let the horse walk a few steps, stop and get off.
- Gradually increase your saddle time over several weeks or months. Do not try to increase speed until you feel 100% comfortable with the horse while walking.
- It may take a full year or more before you can trot or gallop on a horse. Therefore, do not rush the process, as this will teach your horse to be fearful, or he will adopt bad habits.