Effort is often overlooked. You get out what you put in!
We expect things to go well, as horse owners, and when they don’t, we are often flummoxed!
-Why did that happen?
-He has never done the before!
-When I got him he was well behaved! Now not so much!
-The horse I used to have didn’t act that way!
I remember early on hearing a Pat Parelli Quote that went something like this
I can take your Level 1 horse and make it a Level 4 horse in 30 days.
You can take my Level 4 horse ad make it a Level 1 horse in 30 minutes. (yes, he said minutes)
What is experience anyway? If you rode as a kid 20 years ago, or took a few lessons (or a lot of riding lessons) you are generally not equipped w enough knowledge to own and care for a horse. You have a good start, but perhaps not the complete picture. This might make some people angry to hear, but as soon as the horse develops thrush, is not doing well weight wise, starts developing some behavioral issues, won’t load on the trailer, doesn’t have a great whoa, starts to nip or kick at you, runs off, has issues w feet an the trim and you are not able to evaluate your farrier and the work done, it gets complicated quickly! But don’t despair, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but it takes some effort. Knowledge is power!
-Find a good mentor locally that can help
-Find a trainer that is not a riding instructor(get a riding instructor for riding lessons) but a horse trainer, that can help you work on issues w you and your horse so you can grow as a team, suggest a feed plan, a stabling management plan, and some horsemanship training for both of you!
-Sign up for an online course in horsemanship
-Attend a clinic
-Attend a show – see how others are doing with their horses
Any one of these or a combination is sure to get you started!
We get many calls from people who have bought or adopted horses and they are in bad shape. Physically, emotionally and usually both. Generally not new to horses and so really wanting to help, but didn’t have the experience perhaps to understand the issues the horse has come with, so all the other things fell apart.
Stable management – your horse needs time in turn out, time w other horse friends and access to hay or forage of some kind basically all the time. Restricting forage, keeping them in a stall, or keeping them alone starts many, many other behaviors which are considered undesirable. A happy horse is a breeze to work with. One that has anxiety, and emotional distress – not only does it lead often to serious medical issues, but safety issues as well. Then the horse is blamed. This is a “bad” horse.
You have always loved horses, now have the time and property to have one for your own, but seeing what pitfalls that are out there, and how to avoid them is so much better than having things crop up and not knowing how to manage them.
Its like getting a puppy and winging it, or maybe taking them to a puppy class. Getting out, socializing them, making and effort, seeing what you can do to avoid those big problems down the road,
Now of course this doesn’t mean every horse while have issues if you don’t do everything perfect, none of us is perfect, we do the best we can. But the average horse with the average owner will see such improvements, or no decline in already good behavior if they make and effort and work with their horse. We do see it all the time!
Another idea – you are always training the horse, either training them the right way or the wrong way, but they are always learning from you. Again, an effort has to be made if you want your well trained horse to stay well trained. If they are green broke, being straightforward and consistent is even more crucial. You are giving them life lessons. One of the most common things we see when picking up a horse is that they are hard to catch. It’s often a joke in the equestrian community, but imagine you came home and your dog RAN from you. That horse is saying something, why on earth would a horse run from you – it’s avoiding what they believe will be a negative experience. Real or perceived, that is what is happening. It’s often hard to look inwards, but when we do, we have the opportunity to learn and change the scenario. Then you and the horse are happy instead of at odds. One horse we picked up, the horse and owner were both very unhappy for almost two years. Two years! When a few simple changes early on would have solved the problem. All the time, money, and angst that they both suffered, over something easily fixed.
The more you surround yourself with other competent horse owners, the more good horsemanship you see and experience, the better you can be for your horse. Make the effort, pick up a book, check out a video, find something fun for both you and your horse and enjoy your time together. Training can be hard work, but it can be fun . We have a great short Introduction to Horse Ownership coming up Jan 15th at 11 am – just $10- what a great place to start learning more about creating a happy and healthy environment for both of you!
Introduction to Horse Ownership Jan 15th at 11am
Enough hay, appropriate amount of the right feed, plenty of turn out, those are kind of a given, but what else do you need to know about owning a horse. The real costs – lets break it down What kind of fencing is best for horses? What about stalls vs run in? Vet care – what’s is needed and when Farrier work Training What basic equipment should you have Riding – not just riding, but riding well A lot of this is pretty basic but we guarantee there is so much to learn, you will leave pretty amazed!
All things are difficult before they are easy – Thomas Fuller
If you have problems with your horse – reach out to us and we can schedule an evaluation Tracktotrailthoroughbreds@gmail.com