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3 Tips For Better Training With Your Horse

Horse riding is very rewarding but also a big responsibility. Whenever we ride a horse, we are training them – intentionally or not. Take your time laying the right foundations for a long term partnership with your horse. The more you understand about correct training of horses (i.e. training that makes sense to horses), the less confusion and frustration there will be for your horse. Being a better trainer (rider) in turn means having a safe, relaxed horse and enjoy every minute in the saddle. Are you ready to make that positive change? Then read on. 

1. Be clear about what you want

Break your horse’s training into small steps and focus on one thing at the time. Are you trying to perfect your downward transitions? Great, spend the whole session focusing on the best downward transition you can get. Make sure you give clear and consistent aids (cues). You can start at the same marker (same place in the arena) as horses are great at linking location with a response – use it to your advantage when training new things. If you get three good transitions at the marker your chose, move on. Ride the horse forward in trot or given them a break – depending on what your horse finds rewarding.

2. Reward effort

Reward any effort and progress the horse makes. The horse does not know what is right or wrong – they don’t read horse riding manuals 🙂 They simply try different ‘answers’ to your ‘questions’ (aids/cues) and over time with correct training that response becomes conditioned (meaning: if you ask, you get the same ‘correct’ answer). How do you reward the correct response? For example pressure release, either relaxing the reins when the horse slowed down (even if they slowed down only a little bit) or relaxing your lower leg when the horse moved forward. The key is to reward (pressure release) as soon as the horse offers the response or something close to the response you want. You can also reward your horse by giving them a break, a scratch or a treat – you know your horse best and know what motivates him – use it to your advantage!

3. Listen to your horse

Listen to your horse and feel what is happening – it is a conversation. Every horse is an individual and there are no fixed limits on how long certain training stage or task should take. Horses vary in  their conformation, fitness level, previous training and personalities. Horses are not machines and we love them for that. It is ok to get it wrong and ask too much – the more important thing is that you listen to your horse and change your training plan accordingly. Nobody is perfect and we are all continuously learning from our experiences. If you find yourself stuck, get help. Asking for help, preferably from an experienced riding instructor, is not a sign of weakness. Quite the opposite, it shows that you are not afraid to admit that you don’t know everything and that you put your horse’s welfare above your ego and pride.

I hope you found these helpful and I would love to hear from you if you have any specific horse and rider training questions.

Are you looking for a horse riding instructor with a prove record of helping riders achieve their riding goals? Book your first lesson now with an experienced BHSAI  freelance riding instructor in Hertfordshire and start your journey to success.


For horse training, rider coaching &  equestrian career tips, visit my blog or follow my page on social media.  

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