Thoughts on Horsemanship
Thoughts on horsemanship: 9 things to avoid with your horse, what do I mean by that. Well you may have seen someone with a horse that is overexposed, perhaps it has happened to you before. I know I have been in that situation before, you can’t blame yourself for getting into this situation. If you have been around horses for any consistent amount of time you will come across it. What we want to work on is learning from our experiences so that we avoid putting our horses in this state.
Let me share a story that I am not very proud of, but I learned a lot from it. One thing that I hope it has helped are my thoughts on horsemanship. So here is the story, I have been working with my horse off and on (the first issue) for a while and things were going fine from what I could tell. At the barn we got a couple cows to start working with and I was very excited about this. It is a goal of mine to be handy with my horse and have him at a spot that will allow he and I to work cows. Well I decided to go down one night where the barn was doing some roping practice with the cows. Now I was smart enough to know that I wasn’t to the point of roping with my horse yet but I wanted to go hang out in the arena to introduce him to some of these things. What ended up happening was more than I bargained for. There happened to be a neighbor that was throwing a party in his backyard for about 50 or 60 people with a lot of music as well. Not normally a huge issue but then add a couple of cows running around, 5 more horses and riders sprinting in the arena and you have a rodeo waiting to happen. At least in my case at this time that was what was brewing. My horse was getting overexposed by the minute and I was stuck trying to get him to do stuff for me. This isn’t the best situation to be in, if I was paying attention to what was going on I would have been able to avoid the rodeo that I ended up participating in.
One of the good things that came out of this event is this series of posts “Thoughts on Horsemanship” where I started to dedicate more time to making sure I was learning and using the correct methods to help my relationship with my horse.
So let’s get to the 9 things to avoid with your horse.
1. Thoughts on Horsemanship – Tying your horse
Now obviously we all tie our horses and have to from time to time. This is not what I am saying to avoid. What we need to make sure we do is make sure our horses are ready to be tied. Then need to understand that they are expected to stand and that is okay. Horses in the wild do not stand tied ever, it’s not in their nature but they can learn it. So we need to make sure that we do not tie them prematurely.
2. Thoughts on Horsemanship – Hobbling
This is another one that I expect to be able to do with my horse eventually, but he needs to be able to yield to pressure on his legs. If I don’t work on this before I start hobbling my horse than I can expect to have some overexposure with him. Possibly even some injuries.
3. Thoughts on Horsemanship – Spurring your horse
I feel that often spurs are over used on horses, but they most definitely have a place. Just like most things there is a reason they have been around so long but we loose the methodology of how and why to use these tools. My biggest point on this one is to make sure you horse knows that there is a spur there before jabbing him with it. With that I would say don’t just jab him with your spur as well, make sure it is a needed action.
4. Thoughts on Horsemanship – Falling off your horse
Now I think we can all agree that this is one that neither you nor your horse want to have happen. This is one thing that can cause a lot of overexposure to your horse, and to the rider. Slow and steady is the key here and making sure you don’t try to go to far on the first few rides.
5. Thoughts on Horsemanship – Hitting your horse’s teeth
I don’t think most people go around punching their horse in the mouth, that isn’t what I am talking about here. I do happen to see this happen from time to time though and I can’t imagine that the horse likes it. When going to put a bit in a horse’s mouth it seems to be often people forget not to rake the snaffle or what ever bit they are using across the horse’s teeth and freaking them out.
6. Thoughts on Horsemanship – Stepping on the reins
I’m pretty sure that people are good at not stepping on the reins themselves but I see all the time that people let the horse step on them. Or more often letting them step on the lead rope, how would you like to be walking along and then having your head jerked towards the ground and back, without knowing why? You can expect some bucking from most horses after having this happen.
7. Thoughts on Horsemanship – Fly spray
I use fly spray every summer, although I don’t spray it while my horse is tied up unless he is to the point of not trying to move away. I want to make sure he stands while being sprayed before I spray him with anything while he is tied. This will help him not learn to pull back while being tied which leads to a lot more issue and problems.
8. Thoughts on Horsemanship – Trailer Loading
This is coming from seeing people force their horse into a trailer, a dark foreign box, and then shutting the door and driving off. I can only imagine how the horse must be trying to get out the whole time and quite frightened. Then when they get to the destination, I would guess that the horse doesn’t step out of the trailer quietly. Get your horse prepared for these things and you’ll have less issues getting in and out.
9. Thoughts on Horsemanship – Allowing the saddle to turn
This one isn’t very common unless you are starting colts, but letting a saddle turn and sit under his belly will be a very hard thing to fix after it happens. So to avoid this problem, make sure your cinch is tight enough to not let it turn down under his belly.
Those are some of my thoughts on horsemanship, do you have any suggestions to add to the list? What else have you seen that seems to be that someone doesn’t think all the way through let me know in the comments below.