Who’s in con­trol?

Your Horse (UK) - - ASK THE EXPERTS - Kirsty Scott, Berk­shire

QI know there’s an on­go­ing de­bate about whether you should be your horse’s friend or his leader. What works best — es­pe­cially if you've a horse who mucks about and spooks a lot? Sarah says... This is a very good ques­tion. I be­lieve we can be both a friend and a leader to our horses, de­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion and the horse. I don’t think a friend and a leader should be thought of as be­ing po­lar op­po­sites. Let’s for a mo­ment con­sider the horse in his nat­u­ral set­ting, graz­ing in a herd. Some horses will have a ten­dency to be con­fi­dent and take more of a leader role, while oth­ers find se­cu­rity in hav­ing a con­fi­dent buddy and take a back seat from mak­ing de­ci­sions. In any horse pair­ing, one horse is al­ways more con­fi­dent and the other sub­mis­sive (or less con­fi­dent). This is nat­u­ral equine eti­quette and is an es­sen­tial part of en­sur­ing the safety and sur­vival of all herd mem­bers.

Fol­low the leader

When we take the part of leader, it gives our horse se­cu­rity, which in turn makes him feel more re­laxed. It’s in­ter­est­ing you say your horse “mucks about and spooks”. This sort of be­hav­iour can in­di­cate that the horse feels he is the more con­fi­dent mem­ber of your part­ner­ship. He may feel that he’s the one re­spon­si­ble for keep­ing ev­ery­one safe, at­tempt­ing to make the de­ci­sions and so on. By kindly show­ing your con­fi­dence, your horse will be­gin to look to you for se­cu­rity and guid­ance in­stead. He will feel more re­laxed, so spook­ing and at­tempt­ing to take the lead will lessen, as he will know you’ve got his back. Try some kind and pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship bond­ing touches, which sig­nal to your horse that you're con­fi­dent and he can look to you for as­sur­ance. For a demo video, go to bit.ly/2vN­fazr.

Be con­fi­dent when you ride and your horse will look to you for di­rec­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.