Horse Behaviour & Psychology

When Things Go Wrong in the Show Ring...

By Lindsay Grice - Highlighting the common mistakes judges see riders making in the show ring, and how to prevent them is important. We should consider why things go wrong in the first place. From minor errors such as a chip before a hunter fence or a slight over-spin in reining, to major blunders like a refusal or a spook (after which everything disintegrates), the source of the problem can often be found through the science of equine behaviour.

By Lindsay Grice - I approach training on the basis of behavioural science which can help explain how horses think and learn. We’ll never know what it’s like to be a horse, but there is a wealth of evidence pointing to the way horses are wired...and they’re not wired like humans!

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Most people who are involved with horses have at some point ridden a horse with a “hard mouth.” There is a lot of advice and equipment designed to deal with this problem but understanding how the mouth became hard would be more help than a stronger bit. I believe that there is no such thing as a hard mouthed horse; they are “hard minded” horses.

By Will Clinging - What does your horse do for a living? Does he need a change from your routine to keep him mentally fresh and physically rested, or does he need a challenge mentally and physically to make him safe to be around? In this article I will concentrate on horses that are working regularly and horses that are seldom working. Both of these scenarios can be detrimental to the horse’s mental and physical well-being.

Equine Behaviour & Learning Patterns

By Will Clinging - The behaviour and learning patterns of the horse play a major role in his training process. These patterns are established by instincts, genetic makeup, and environment. We are not in total control of these patterns but to some degree we can help or hinder the direction they go in.

Treats in Horse Training

By Lindsay Grice - Although food rewards can definitely reinforce a lesson, in my experience the drawbacks of using food rewards far exceed the benefits. While it is important to reward horses to affirm every correct response, I feel there are other more valuable ways of doing so.

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Without a doubt, an awareness of the way horses learn has helped me to train more efficiently, effectively, and safely. Like a detective, I approach issues by asking the question, “Why might this be happening?” I look for clues and go through my mental Rolodex of equine behaviour facts to solve the puzzle.

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Riding Vactions in California with Jec Ballou