How to make him happy

Six sim­ple ways to lift your horse’s spir­its

Your Horse (UK) - - Contents -

1 It’s im­por­tant to be clear, con­sis­tent and calm with what you want from your horse, so prais­ing him when he’s done well is key. Just giv­ing him a stroke on his neck or face if he moves over in the sta­ble for you, or a kind word if he picks up his feet with­out you ask­ing, will let him know he’s do­ing a great job. 2 Tack that fits your horse well is es­sen­tial if you want him to feel his best when work­ing. Get his sad­dle fit­ted by a qual­i­fied sad­dle fit­ter and per­form reg­u­lar checks on all of his equip­ment to make sure noth­ing is rub­bing or caus­ing him any sort of dis­com­fort. 3 When your horse has a ‘eu­reka’ mo­ment dur­ing his work, he should be re­warded. So, make it easy for him to get things right by keep­ing work in the school sim­ple, and he’ll feel great for grasp­ing it. Just 10 min­utes each day, no mat­ter how easy the rou­tine, can give his con­fi­dence a boost. 4 Brush­ing your horse isn’t just good for his skin, it in­creases his blood flow and this makes for an all-round happy horse. This, and mu­tual groom­ing (e.g. scratch­ing him on the with­ers), feels nat­u­ral for your horse and helps to in­crease that feel­ing of to­geth­er­ness. Pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to his itchy spots. 5 A re­ally sim­ple and ef­fec­tive way to make him feel great and re­ally chilled out is to give him a mas­sage. Start around his with­ers and then move your fin­gers in a cir­cu­lar mo­tion across his body, mak­ing sure to give at­ten­tion to his neck, his back and round his belly. 6 As good as you are at read­ing your horse, he’s even bet­ter at read­ing you. He can pick up on your mood, heart rate and breath­ing. So, if you feel great, the chances are he’ll pick up on it. Prac­tis­ing breath­ing tech­niques around him will help him feel pos­i­tive about spend­ing time with this re­laxed ver­sion of you.

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