Horse Behaviour & Psychology

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Sadly, ponies get a lot of bad press. Even so, their reputation as being lazy, stubborn, and difficult to train, plus their seemingly inherent displays of poor behaviour, have less to do with their innate nature and more to do with a lack of training.

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Vibrant Life Beyond 20 - Recently, I spent time with a horse named Sparky who is estimated to be over 40 years old. Understandably, you may be visualizing a tottering shell of a being, held together by medication and hay cubes, but this could not be further from the truth. Sparky is a sound, vital, cheeky, engaged fellow and the leader of the pack, although his teeth no longer work well for chewing hay. Out of curiosity, I studied his lifestyle, diet, way of being, and exercise routine with hopes of gleaning some insight to help me support my more “mature” equine clients as well as my own mare Diva, who turned 22 years old this past May.

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For generations, riders and horse lovers have been enthralled by the mystique of horsemen (and women), but many struggle to define what a “horseman” actually is. Is a horseman someone with a laundry list of skills such as starting young horses, nailing on shoes, being knowledgeable about horse care, and having the ability to train horses to the highest levels? Or is a horseman someone who lives in the moment, has mastered their emotions, and understands a horse’s mind? Perhaps a horseman embraces all of these attributes; perhaps none.

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My horse is great in the arena, but easily distracted as soon as we go out of the ring. He’s good when he’s by himself, but when there are other horses around, my horse’s mind is not with me. My horse is fine when his herd-mate is nearby, but as soon as we try to separate he loses his mind! Sometimes he’s with me… and other times it’s like I’m not even there. If you can relate to any of these statements, the tips in this article will help you understand your horse – the ultimate tourist – and how to get his attention.

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A Guide to Getting Jack Into the Box - The most common transport-related injuries to horses are from failure to adequately and properly train the horse to load and haul. It’s solely a matter of investing the time and having the willingness to teach the horse in the way he can best learn and accept the concept. Think about the second half of that statement for a moment; as with any form of teaching, if method A isn’t working, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet!

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You are who your friends are. That adage can apply to horses, too. How we treat them will often be reflected right back at us - for good or bad. Sometimes the difference between a harsh cue and an appropriate one can be subtle. Pressure can be effective, but intensity and timing can make all the difference.

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From The Horse's Perspective - Until recently, no major studies had been conducted about the effect of travel on horses. The best advice most folks could hope for was to glean some pearls of wisdom from the ocean of opinions and tales of other road warriors.

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