Noise con­trol

Your Horse (UK) - - Better Riding -

The sudden, star­tling sound of screech­ing tyres isn’t some­thing your horse hears ev­ery day, so it can catch both of you off guard when it oc­curs. “Of­ten horses will put up with con­stant noise, like the grind­ing of road­works,” says Ian. “What will catch them out is some­thing sharp, like a car back­fir­ing. The key to rid­ing through this is a com­bi­na­tion of prepa­ra­tion and try­ing not to tense up when it does hap­pen.” An un­ex­pected noise may make your horse shoot for­ward, so it’s up to you to be mind­ful of this and al­ways ready to act when­ever nec­es­sary. So wash­ing-line reins when you’re out hack­ing are a big no-no! “You have to be in tune with what your horse is do­ing un­der­neath you,” says Ian, “so there’s no way you can switch off when you’re rid­ing on the roads.” The oc­ca­sional half-halt will re­mind your horse to keep his fo­cus on you and if he does re­act to a loud noise, then im­me­di­ately re­as­sure him and move to a qui­eter area if pos­si­ble. “We of­ten dip out of busy roads to qui­eter ar­eas. Just mov­ing to some­where a lit­tle less stress­ful for a few min­utes can make the world of dif­fer­ence to a horse who’s just been sur­rounded by heavy traf­fic,” ex­plains Ian. Map­ping out a route be­fore you leave the yard can re­ally help if you have a few stress­ful ar­eas on your hack.

The po­lice rec­om­mend vary­ing busy and quiet ar­eas when you are hack­ing to avoid over-stress­ing your horse

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