How to make him happy
Six simple ways to lift your horse’s spirits
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.