Horses are pretty simple in their needs. We as humans make more of it then we have to most of the time. I think that’s because the folks that make stuff for horses have pushed us that direction. Things like, supplements, blankets, soap, conditioner and the list goes on and on. We are told that if we provide our horses with these things the horse will feel better, look better and we will prove ourselves to be good owners. If we don’t provide these things for our horses we are not very good horse owners. Please don’t get me wrong, none of these things are, in themselves, wrong. I have at some point and time purchased all of these things, but these things are not what the average horse needs.
While we were in Tucson last week, where we were camping they were having a 6 week long show jumping competition. There were folks from all over the U.S. there and, these folks know how to pamper a horse. The horses looked great and so did the riders. You would think that horses in this environment would be comfortable and have everything they needed. I watch one jumper after his run get off his horse and when he did the horse was freaked. He was freaked in the show pen and was freaked when the rider dismounted. A groom was waiting for the rider to dismount and as soon as the groom touched the reins of the horse he stopped bouncing off the walls. His head went down to the ground and he calmed down instantly. Why? The horse was COMFORTABLE with the groom. He knew that the groom was going to take him some place where he could relax and be with other horses. The groom was going to provide the horse with the two things he needs, food and comfort. For the horse, the rider/owner only wanted and took, he never gave back to the horse.
I have applied what I have learned about horses to help the horse survive in a world of humans and to help the human to understand what the horse needs, and show the human how to provide that to, and for the horse. In my clinics I am always reminding students to allow the horse to rest during his workout. Try to let the horse rest for as long as he worked. For example: if it took your horse 5 minutes or 10 minutes to understand and get an exercise, let your horse stand quietly for 5 or 10 minutes and rest. Why? Because, if you do he will come to understand that it’s not all about the work, that there is a reward for getting the right answer and that reward is rest. Not food, but rest. If you do this your horse will try even harder to figure out what you want, why? Cause he knows if he does he will get what he wants and needs, rest.
Horses need two things in life: Food and Comfort. Remember a horse will forgo eating in order to be comfortable, that’s how important it is to a horse.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.