Training Grounds – Horses!

Training Grounds – Teaching a Horst Respect

By Guest Writer Claire S.
You all know, I am sure, those nervous, jumpy horses who

simply cannot concentrate on you when there are other things

going on. In fact, sometimes you are even scared that your horse

really has no clue you are standing right beside him and might

just run right over you! Take heart! There is a very simple

First, however, we must explore the cause of this rampant

problem. Basically, by worrying about what is going on over the

fence or in the next stall rather than calmly looking to you, your

horse is saying, ‘I don’t trust you to take care of me, I have to

take care of myself.’ To begin with, you should analyze why

your horse is thinking like this. Have you ever let him be hurt by

anything? Have you ever done something around, near, or to

him that really shook his trust in you? Trust takes a long time to

rebuild, and I suggest you start working on that. You must prove

yourself again to your horse. It is far easier to always treat your

horse with respect and look after him well than to try to patch up

broken trust.
Now, on to the ‘practical’ solution. When a horse lowers his

head below his withers an endorphin is released which gives him

a pleasant sensation. Putting his head down to eat, resting it on

the ground when he is lying down, all these things feel very

good to the horse. When he eats or lies down, he is relaxed

because of the endorphin. So, to get your horse less uptight, you

simply must lower his head. You will always lose at tug-of-war

with your horse; he is much stronger than you are, so don’t pull

down on your lead rope! Instead, start by putting your hand over

his poll, right between his ears. With your thumb and middle

finger (or pinkie, if your hand is small) you should feel two

indentations in the horse’s skull at the base of his ears. Apply a

small amount of pressure with your fingers here with your right

hand, while applying soft pressure downward with your lead

rope. It there is no response, wiggle your fingers, gradually

increasing pressure until the horse drops his head away from the

pressure. Immediately release all pressure and praise him! Even

if he moves a millimetre, release, praise, and keep practicing

Getting this exercise down is important, because it helps with a

myriad of horse problems. When your horse lowers his head

when you tell him, you can put a bridle on easier. You can help

him calm down in a scary situation, and you have more control

over your horse.
Want to read more from Claire about horses? Go look at her blog: !

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