Tips for Training Horses

Now that spring is here, it’s time to ramp up your training program by starting your young horse or doing a “tune up” on your older horse that has been pastured or idle all winter. This time of year often means overweight, out-of-shape horses, who are excitable due to the changes in weather and need to be reminded of how to be well-mannered citizens. With only a couple weeks of work, however, they should settle down into their new routine.

To help you be as successful as possible, here are a few tips for training horses this season.

  • Start slow. No matter where your horse is in his training, it’s important not to skip steps. A green horse needs to learn the basics before he can be expected to understand more complex cues. Likewise, if you are intending to take your horse to the next level in his discipline or introduce him to a new discipline.  You need to build on what he already knows.
  • Be consistent. Just like training any animal, horses need consistency if they are going pick up on what we are asking of them. Asking in a different way every time is bound to produce confusion as your horse tries to figure out what you want. Instead, make sure your cues are always the same. Boundaries also have to be consistent. If your horse gets away with something one time and gets in trouble the next, he is likely to become confused and will frequently test that particular boundary to see if this is the time he’ll get away with it.
  • Monitor weight and energy. While training horses, it’s important to monitor their weight and energy in order to make sure you are feeding them the right amount. Horses in moderate to heavy work programs may need extra feed, while overweight horses may need to cut back and get adequate exercise to help them get back into shape. Determining how much to feed is often a trial and error process. Overfed horses will have a surplus of energy that will make training difficult, while horses that aren’t fed enough to account for their energy expenditure will lose unwanted weight.

Training horses requires an intense commitment, but it’s rewarding to see progress as a result of yours and your horse’s hard work. Just don’t forget about your equine friend’s nutritional needs while he’s in training! Sacate Pellet Mills makes several different feeds to meet a variety of needs. For help choosing a feed and determining how much your horse needs, contact us today.