Gain Trust Through Gentle Horse Training
Regardless of how you got your new-to-you horse, it’s important to gain his trust. Rescue horses especially may have experienced neglect and even trauma at the hands of their previous owners, but even if that’s not the case, your relationship with your horse and the success of your training program will benefit from a gentle approach. Here are four tips for gaining your horse’s trust through gentle horse training.
Provide Plenty of Food and Water
Making sure that your horse has plenty of food and water may seem like a given, but especially if your horse came from a neglectful situation, he may have experienced periods of his needs not being met dependably at some point in his past. Earn his trust by making sure he’s well taken care of. Plenty of clean water is a must in all weather, and a good, nutritious diet will ensure that he has plenty of energy to devote to training when the time comes. If your horse is a rescue and underweight or ill, you’ll need to wait until he’s in good physical condition before beginning a gentle horse training program.
Take the Time to Develop a Relationship
As tempting as it might be to launch directly into training your new horse on day one, for both his sake and yours, give him time to settle in… and yourself a chance to get to know him. Give your horse about 24 hours to settle in and explore his new surroundings, and then you can start getting to know him. Start slow at first, asking little and offering lots of praise. Offering grain, mashes, or treats is a good way to make his time with you feel special. Focus on low-pressure, relationship-building activities at first, such as grooming and hand grazing. It may not feel like you’re doing much, but by developing a relationship with your horse, you’re building the foundation for gentle horse training.
Assess What Training Is Needed
Once your horse seems comfortable in his new surroundings, you can start by assessing where he’s at in his training, and what additional training will be needed. Depending on how you got your new-to-you horse, you may not know much about his past history, or what you were told might not be entirely accurate. It’s always a good idea to do an assessment of a new horse’s skills before launching a gentle horse training program. If you plan to hire a trainer to help you, this is a good time to introduce the two of them, as well.
As you begin training your horse, start slow as you get a feel for what he knows and how fast he learns. Every horse is different, and as he settles in to the training program, he may surprise you, but for now there’s no rush! There are a lot of proponents of gentle horse training, but regardless of whose ideas you follow, remember to treat your horse with kindness and fairness, use training tactics that make sense to you, and always prioritize the relationship with your horse.
Win His Heart Through His Stomach
Whoever made up the saying, “the way to his heart is through his stomach,” was definitely talking about a horse! As anyone knows who has heard their horse’s welcoming nickers at feeding time, food is definitely the fastest way to establish trust and build a relationship. For more information on our complete feeds and how they are geared to meet all of your horse’s nutritional needs, contact Sacate Pellet Mills today.