Touching, rubbing, talking is important for your horse to get to know you

Touching, rubbing, talking  is important for your horse to get to know you

When I’m working w/ a horse for the 1st time I touch & rub them a lot plus talk to them.  Horses love to be scratched & you’ve probably seen horses in the pasture scratching each other.  Most of the time they’re helping each other by scratching areas they can’t reach, but they’re also buddies & very familiar w/ each other.  When I’m curry combing a horse sometimes I’ve seen him wiggling his nose because it feels good. Grooming your horse & in a kind way is the 1st part to let your horse know you’re good.

When a horse is rideable I use the reward of touch & voice when they’re doing something right.  You need to respond fast so they understand what they just did is good.  Wait too long & they won’t associate what action was good & what you wanted, so praise them w/ touch maybe by rubbing the neck & also talking to them.  They learn fast by your repeated actions.

We had a big black Saddlebred Horse that I constantly talked to when I was working him by saying walk when I wanted him to do that, trot when that’s what he needed to do, & the same w/ canter.  When cantering him I would gently  pull on the rein toward the rail & say “canter”, & he’d canter w/ the correct lead.  Our son was 10 & started showing him in Country Pleasure Classes & did a wonderful job because the horse was trained to voice commands.  The horse was great on association & even while cross-tied I would always start grooming him the same way.  I would get a hoof pick & immediately he would have his leg up ready for me.  I’d go to his back left, & his leg was up ready for me & same thing on the rest of his legs.  He knew I was heading there & he associated what to do next w/ my actions.

I’ve also used praise when teaching a horse to rack.  This is a gait that isn’t natural for a horse.  I have my horse shoer put heavy shoes on his back feet & leave him barefoot on the front.  When a horse trots his diagonal feet come up @  the same time & this is  bouncy so the rider usually needs to post.  If a horse is pacing both side feet come up @ the same time.  A rack is very close to a pace, but his side feet come up not quite @ the same time.  If you’d work your horse outside on firm ground, when he’s trotting you can hear a 2 beat of the his feet hitting the ground.  Most of the time the rider will need to post in his saddle.  A pace is smooth, will have a slight swing motion & is smooth for the rider.  This will have a 2 beat too.  The rack is also a smooth ride, but the beat will be different.  You will hear a 1,2, 3, 4 beat if the horse is doing it right.  When I’m 1st starting a horse to rack & I know they’re doing the correct beat, I will stop them & praise w/ voice & rubbing their neck or back.  Then we start again.  They understand they had done something correctly & usually continue further each time.  It isn’t long before we’re traveling quite a few feet racking.

All animals enjoy being rewarded , especially horses & remember to praise them a lot when they’re being good.  A mean rider hitting his horse when he thinks it isn’t doing something right will make a mean horse.  He will not learn very fast plus you’ll both be miserable.