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Training My Own Horses

June 1, 2011

June 1, 2011:  When I purchased my first horse, Honor, I became a trainer.  Every time a human is with a horse, the horse is learning something from that human.  Although this isn’t what people usually think of when they think of training, it is something to keep in mind.

How we conduct ourselves around our horses establishes a relationship with them.  Wether we are doing chores, are enjoying petting them, brushing them, leading them, talking to them, riding them and every other activity, our body language and attitude is processed by the equine(s).

My horses know me and I know them.  I imagine it is like knowing your child.  Recognizing their voice, knowing when they aren’t feeling well and when to discipline them.  For me, awareness is the key.  My mind and senses need to be available and alert but relaxed.  I am the leader when I am with my herd and they recognize me as such.

Many times I have heard someone say “my horse is herd bound”.  What does that mean exactly?  What that means to me is that a herd bound horse does not consider the human to be its leader.  It feels safer in the herd or on the home place.  What kind of relationship do you have with your horse(s)?

Although it has taken me many years of odd hours here and there, I can proudly say that I don’t have herd bound horses.  I am so blessed to be able to ride each one alone, down the drive, off the farm, down the road for miles, while leaving the rest of the herd behind in the pasture or tied to the trailer without incident.  It is truly amazing to watch the curiosity and enjoyment that my horses have when we travel alone and create a new memory and “train”.

Today, June 1, 2011, Theeo learned more confidence.  He would prefer to jump over a creek then to wade through one.  He would prefer to turn around and go home rather then face his fear and conquer it.  Today we built more confidence and it was awesome to see how he reacted to his experience.

Theeo & Honor stopping for a photo

At first, I ponnied Theeo from Honor for 5 miles at walk, trot and canter down the road.  We walked and trotted through water crossings several times. Granted, they weren’t rushing deep rivers, but this is a start. No hesitation at the onset, so I was really pleased.  Perhaps Theeo knew that he could trust Honor and me and that it was too wide to jump, who knows.  What I know is that we went without incident and I was very proud.

Stangind In The Water

Behind The Scene

After the 5 miles, I left Honor and rode Theeo alone.  Off and down the road we went.  He saw some new sights that had been unseen and wanted to go home, but with a bit of confidence building reassurance, we kept on going.  I don’t use Parelli or any particular training method.  I try to anticipate my horses reactions, observe them and give them reassurance.  I don’t need some special “carrot stick” or other device, but usually just rock my seat to encourage forward movement and squeeze a bit.  Squeezing is not the same as kicking.

Theeo and I ended up walking and trotting two miles.  We encountered two dogs that were not happy and they weren’t responding to their owner to return home, but Theeo remained completely calm and so did I.  He stood as though they weren’t even there.  What I think the key is here , is that as leader, I remain calm at all times and then my horse thinks everything is fine.  He observed the huge cattle yard and we headed on our way.  I find it so rewarding to be able to experience these times with my horses.  Each horse has its own personality and capabilities.  They are very interesting and precious individuals.  What an awesome end to another great day.

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