Updated: Apr 10
Bad habits are learned habits and chances are, you're to blame! Good news, those learned behaviors can be "un-learned." Welcome these pesky moments as opportunities to connect and to communicate with your horse to deepen your relationship.
CONFIDENCE: Horses are herd animals, the pecking order establishes the strength of the group and the hierarchy of decision making. Your horse needs you to be the leader so they can gain the confidence in themselves to know that you will show them the way.
CALM: A characteristics of confidence. When we feel confident our fears melt away and we charge forward knowing that we have the strength within ourselves to conquer the day. Horses feed off of our energy and intention. The next time you find yourself in a frustrating moment, take a breath, a deep one, chances are your horse will too.
FOCUS: Make a plan and try to stick to it. Be prepared if you need to change course but remember that if you know where you're going your horse will follow calmly and confidently.
PLAY: Have fun in everything you do whether it be work or just plain goofing around. Play excites the soul and livens up the creative center of our brains and that hit of dopamine ain't bad either ;-). Play hide and seek or tag and see how much fun you can have just living in the moments of joy with you horse.
RESPECT: Respect is a two way street that is both given and earned. A young horse may not understand that your space is sacred and that his is too. Blurry lines can have negative consequences. The pat down from your horse for treats in your pocket might seem cute but I promise that bite out of frustration wont be. I suggest you learn to teach and enforce boundaries from Day 1. Same goes for you! Respect your horse's desire for space and when you make a promise, keep it! Trust me, they know...
HEALTH & VITALITY: Does your horse seem "off"? Not lame, not injured... just "off?" Horses are very sensitive and also very strong. A stoic or disengaged horse could be hiding something on the inside or could be feeling emotionally "off." Just like we have bad days, so do horses. Could be "that time of the month" for moody mares or a tied up ovary. That leg that stocks up every time the weather changes could be a sign of an immune disfunction. Don't ignore even the slightest changes.
PURPOSE: We all need something to do and our animals are no different. Your young horse is eagerly awaiting the day that he/she is given a job and more importantly that pat on the neck for a job well done! Even our senior or retired horses need purpose. Maybe they can teach that little cowboy or cowgirl how to feed treats, pick feet, brush and tack up.
DIET: Keep it simple and consistent! So many different feeds and supplements out there it can have you and your horse confused in no time. Again, creatures of habit. Horses eat grass/hay... they're foragers. Did you know that the sight, smell or thought of food stimulates the digestive system to start producing enzymes and acids? A horses' stomach will also empty when it's two-thirds full whether digestion is complete or not. This means that a hungry horse is literally digesting with or without food and a horse that is fed big meals only a couple times a day is likely not properly digesting. Feed simply and feed often for optimal digestion.
COMPANIONSHIP: Horses are herd animals. They are not meant to live alone, they need to be with other horses. If that is not possible, consider a barn cat or a companion animal... there's that goat again, hmmm.
SAFETY: Horses like routine because it is dependable. In world that is controlled by predators (us), horses crave the safety of knowing they will be fed on time and water is always available. Colic is a number one killer of horses and, most of the time, it is stress induced. Try to find a routine that works well for you to reduce any last minute changes. Horses are also walking disasters that can and will get into everything. Are you prepared to deliver first aid should your horse require immediate care? Take every precaution you can now to avoid a costly accident later.
Pssst... did you know Rewind Equine also teaches Equine First Aid?
Get in touch today to save a life tomorrow!