One of the most rewarding things as a first time horse owner should know is how to train a horse. Not only can you be taking care of another living creature, but you can enjoy their companionship. However, training a horse takes time and effort. It isn’t something that will happen overnight. But if you’re willing to invest the time, it could be a great experience for you as well as for the horse. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to train your horse.
What Type of Horse Are You Training?
If you’re reading this guide because you’re trying to train your horse, it’s important to know what type of horse you’re dealing with. If you’re not sure, then inspect the shape of the horse’s head, legs, and body. Certain breeds are better suited for different types of training.
Setting up the new home
Horses are sensitive and intelligent animals. They need a lot of time and patience to adjust to their new surroundings and owners.
When you first bring your horse home, make sure the place is welcoming. Your horse will be vulnerable, so they need to feel safe in their new environment.
Choose a space that is well lit with space for your horse to move around comfortably. This can be an outside or inside space, whichever you’re most comfortable with.
Once you choose the space, introduce yourself to your horse. Get your hand on their mane and let them smell you; this will help them associate you as someone they can trust. Be gentle; don’t startle or scare them by making sudden movements or talking too loudly.
Give them some time before introducing any other people or other horses into the mix; let your horse get used to its surroundings first before bringing anything else into it.
Feeding and Grooming
First, you need to feed your horse. Horses are grazers and like to eat all day long. You should always have hay available so they can graze whenever they want.
Next, groom your horse regularly. This is important because it will keep their coat shiny and healthy. Check for any injuries or illnesses if you find any, too.
Hacks to Train a Horse
1. Start by establishing yourself as the boss
To train a horse, establish yourself as the dominant one in the relationship. Horses are herd animals and instinctually need someone to follow. If you’re not someone they can trust, they won’t listen to anything you say. And if they don’t listen, it will be difficult for them to learn anything. So establish your dominance over them right away.
2. Teach them basic commands
Once your horse knows that you’re the boss, teach them some basic commands like “giddy up” or “whoa.” These are important because you’ll be using these commands constantly when riding your horse. If they know what these words mean now, it will make things much easier later on like teaching how to bow or lunge (plus, it will make you seem like a pro)!
3. Find out what their natural tendencies are
Horses naturally want to flee from danger and instinctively head towards open areas with less cover; We call this flight zone behavior. It’s best to keep this in mind when training your horse so that it doesn’t run away or hide every time you bring out its favorite toy (which happens often).
4. Make sure they’re comfortable with who is around them
Horses are herd animals, and they need to be comfortable with the surrounding people. If you’re a new horse owner, chances are you’ll be bringing new people into your horse’s life. Take some time to get your horse used to these people so that it doesn’t become too stressed.
5. Help them get used to the saddle
Make sure that your horse is comfortable with the saddle before you ride it. You can do this by putting on the saddle and walking around for a few minutes or just letting them stand with it on for a bit. You’ll want to make sure that they’re not uncomfortable or agitated before you ride.
All training starts with a clear communication of the desired behavior. The most commonly used communication is a clicker. Clicker methods are often used because it’s a fast and effective way to communicate with your horse.
A clicker is a small device that makes a clicking sound when you press it. You can use your fingers or palm to make the noise. A clicker is great because the sound is consistent and easy for horses to recognize.
In order to train your horse, you need to determine what behavior you want from them and give them a command at the same time as the clicker. This will help your horse learn what they should do in response to a certain command and will also help create a positive association between commands and rewards.
If your horse doesn’t respond correctly, withhold their reward until they do so correctly on their next try. If they seem confused, give them an easier command first, then escalate the difficulty as they become more comfortable with it.
Horses will do what they ask for food rewards. This is because they’re directed by their stomachs and not their brains. So, if you want to train your horse, make sure you reward them with food every time they do what you ask of them. The more they do what you ask, the more food they’ll receive as a reward.
If you want to train your horse, it’s important that he or she understands they will receive a reward when they comply with requests. The lure-reward training technique is an effective set of steps for training horses and other animals.
It may seem like a simple concept, but the technique is powerful. It uses the best parts of horse psychology: when they see food or other reward; they want it! Even if it’s just a treat, this can be enough to motivate them to do what you ask.
To use this method, follow these steps:
1) Lure your horse near you by dangling a carrot or carrot swab in front of them. Your horse will come closer and closer until he or she sees the food and nibbles at it. You will gently take the food away from them so they don’t eat too much at once. This is often referred to as target training because you are teaching them what you want them to do without punishing them for doing something wrong.
2) Reward your horse after each correct behavior with a treat or praise. When your horse sees another person offer a reward for completing a task, he or she will be more likely to repeat that behavior in the future. You can use food, toys, or kind words.
3) Use different food to determine what your horse likes best. Some horses respond well to carrots, while others are more interested in apples or grain. Experiment with different foods and see which one’s work best for your horse!
4) As you become more familiar with your horse’s likes and dislikes, you can begin using this knowledge as a reward. For example, if a horse loves carrots but doesn’t like apples, then only offer him or her a carrot when you want to train them to do something. This will help speed up the training process!
5) Once your horse has learned to associate the reward with the task, you can withhold the reward until he or she performs that task correctly. For example, if you want your horse to walk on a lead rope without resistance, then you don’t give him or her any treats until they comply with your request.
6) When your horse has “earned” the treat, then you can give it to them. However, if they do not do the task correctly or perform the task without being asked, then you should not give them a reward.
7) Repeat steps 5 and 6 until your horse learns they will only receive a reward when they do what you ask.
The core principles of training a horse should remain the same regardless of the horse’s age. The difference is that older horses have had more time to learn the bad habits than their younger counterparts. In order to correct a bad habit, you need to find what caused it in the first place and then fix it, so it’s no longer an issue. Troubleshooting each specific problem takes some thought and knowledge on how horses think and feel, along with a strategic training plan. By following these above steps, you can train a horse to do just about anything you want and make him happy at the same time.