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Break-in Or Educate Your Horse

When you hear someone say they are breaking-in a horse what comes to mind? Do you think of cowboys bucking a horse around a yard until it stops? If you hear someone say they are educating their horse what comes to mind? Do you think of someone working quietly with a horse?

It is perhaps unfortunate that breaking-in contains the word break, when we hear that we think of breaking the horses spirit, making the horse yield to us. This is not what it should be about. Go back not so many years and that is what it was about but this is 2006 not 1896. I like to think we understand our relationship, and appreciate it more than they did then.

Unfortunately there are still people out there that think you need to break a horse’s spirit but this is not the case. What these people need to understand is you get a much better horse when you educate and work with your horse. Hollywood (and some people who run workshops) would like you to believe that horse whispering is some mysterious art that is unachievable by the common person.

There is no mystery to horse whispering it is simple a matter of understanding the behaviors of a horse and being able to read the horse you are working with. A horse is a herd animal, it has a basic fight or flight instinct. Although a horse is a beautiful animal it has no magical powers. Understand these basic things and you are well on your way to being able to work with your horse.

Working with your horse is the main point I want to get across as it is the cornerstone of and good rider/horse relationship. Getting back to the breaking in versus educating if you work with the horses natural instincts you will achieve great things in little time. Do not start a fight with the horse as it is much bigger and much, much stronger than you. Use the horse’s natural instincts to your advantage when educating it.

I have worked with all types of horses and ponies over the years and following the simple rule of working with the horse have never had one buck during educating a green horse. By paying attention to when the horse is ready for the next step in training and not rushing them things will progress faster in the long run than if you go too fast and have to go back over things.

Break your training into sections such as basic ground work, intermediate ground work, advanced ground work, basic mounted work, intermediate mounted work, advanced mounted work, etc. Do not move to the next stage of training until your horse is ready, it will be one step forward two steps back if you do. Take the time to watch your horse and learn to notice little things like the position of the horses ears, the movement of the horses tail, the horses eyes, they all tell you how the horse is feeling. That is reading the horse, noticing the horse’s body language.

By following these simple steps you may not have the fastest, best jumper, best dressage horse in the world but you will have a friend who will do their best for you when you ask, be willing to try anything for you and be reliable. I think that is more important.

Submitted by:

Calum Steel

C Steel started http://www.horseponyequine.com to enable horse people to share their knowledge about horses. He has over 20 years experience working with horses in many different disciplines including polo, trail riding, re-educating problem horses, racing stables to name a few.




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