Every horse is different. There are the hot, explosive types while other horses are very laid back and sometimes not very motivated to work. Generally, you can’t fundamentally change your horse’s basic personality. However, you can certainly find the best way for you and your horse to work together and to create a positive training experience for both you and your horse.
Some of the external factors that may contribute towards your horse’s energy levels include general stable management such as feeding and turnout. Some particularly hot or spooky horses may simply need more pasture time or opportunities to move freely to burn off some of that extra energy. At the same time, sufficient turnout and pasture time may help lazier horses to recharge and regain some motivation. The feeding plan should also be attuned to the temperament and needs of every individual horse. Too much high-energy feed can cause all sorts of problems. If on the other hand, the horse doesn’t get enough of what it needs, it will not be able to perform at its best. Other factors include your horse’s health and tack. Some horses may charge off because the saddle is pinching, or the bridle is not fitted correctly. Other horses may not want to go forward, if they suffer from back pain or musculoskeletal problems.
Once you have checked and optimised all of the above, there is of course the training itself. Your training plan should always be structured according to your horse’s ability. “Building trust and including variety to your training are two of the most important aspects when training any horse”. Variation in your training plan helps to create a more balanced mindset, it motivates and increases self-confidence and helps build trust between horse and rider. For very reactive and spooky horses, it’s important to create a training environment, where they can learn to feel safe. “As riders, one of our main goals in training is to find out how to best connect to every individual horse. To find out how we can motivate them and ‘win them over’ so they really enjoy the training and the time spent with us.” In the following interview, Jessica and Benjamin explain what they pay particular attention to when training very hot or rather unmotivated horses, and how showing appreciation towards your horse works wonders no matter what type of horse you ride.
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