A:

EQUUS - - Conversati­ons -

You’re cer­tainly cor­rect that your horse’s be­hav­ior poses a se­ri­ous dan­ger--to you as well as to any­one else who turns him out. He could eas­ily run over you or kick out at you in his rush to the pas­ture. Another down­side you might not rec­og­nize is that his last thought about you be­fore he gains his free­dom is “Let me go, and get lost!” Over time, this lack of re­spect for your au­thor­ity will trickle into other as­pects of your re­la­tion­ship.

I also agree with your vi­sion for how you’d like your horse to be­have at the turnout gate, and I be­lieve it is a goal you can reach. The train­ing steps I’ve out­lined be­low are a gen­eral guide­line. You may need to spend more time on one stage of train­ing than on the oth­ers, and if your horse be­gins act­ing up again, you may need to back­track to re­mind him of what he’s al­ready learned.

The re­train­ing process will take time, and I’d sug­gest that you sched­ule the first ses­sion on a day when you can de­vote a sig­nif­i­cant chunk of time to it and prefer­ably after a long ride. This way he is more in a frame of mind to take in a les­son. Then con­tinue to make time to deal with this is­sue for at least a few min­utes each day. The fact that your horse’s be­hav­ior is the same whether or not his herd­mates are present in­di­cates that this is a wellestab­lished habit, and you will not be able to change it in one ses­sion. It is im­por­tant that you do teach him turnout man­ners reg­u­larly be­cause the re­spect you earn from him will af­fect all of your ac­tiv­i­ties with him. Dur­ing your train­ing ses­sions, re­mem­ber that your pri­mary goal is not specif­i­cally to turn your horse out, but to change his be­hav­ior as you do so. Of course, in the end, you will get him into his field,

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