For reasons too convoluted to explain, my husband and I have found ourselves to be the proud owners of 3.5 horses – two Quarter Horses, a gaited pony and a mini horse. We have had to learn to ride and care for these very large pets over the past two years. If we had undertaken this 25 years ago, we would have learned some tips that might have saved some trial and error in child rearing, business practices, personnel management and mental health:
- You cannot force a 1000 pound horse to do something he does not want to do – you have to convince him that he wants to do it.
- Pressure puts a horse in the frame of mind to learn; learning happens in the release of pressure.
- Anger, fear, and anxiety are counter-productive.
- The leader of the herd takes the front position because it is the safest – the others watch his back. In turn, he keeps the peace and takes his turn standing guard while others sleep.
- You cannot reason with a horse who is afraid.
- Helping a horse overcome his fear is exhilarating for the horse and the rider.
- Saddle your own horse.Safe riding requires being prepared and paying attention to everything going around you and the horse.
- Learning how to fall gracefully is an essential skill.