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One of the reasons I strongly encourage horse owners to train their own horses rather than ship them away to a professional trainer is familiarity. Quite simply, an unfamiliar party will not understand your horse nearly as well as you, and this understanding of a horse is the backbone of any successful training plan.
This is not to suggest that all horse trainers are clueless individuals that bumble along hoping to do something right, because most professional trainers will take the time to understand a horse before ever thinking about saddling him and training him to ride. But all too often an impatient or inexperienced "trainer" will misread a horse's problem or intention and react incorrectly due to his lack of understanding. Too many of these incidents can prolong the training process (thereby costing you money) and potentially mentally scar your horse for life.
Far too many head-shy horses can be attributed to inexperienced or abusive past trainers and/or owners who lacked an understanding of the horse they were working with. Once a horse has developed this mistrust or fear of people it can take a good while to reassure the horse that another cuff is not waiting around the corner. And who can blame the horse? If every past exposure with a dog resulted in the dog biting you, chances are you would be very wary, if not outright panicked, by future exposures to canines.
To correct an improper action it is first important to understand the motivation that lies behind it. For example, let's say that you are training a young filly to walk alongside you to your left. Suddenly without permission the filly slams against your side, but being that she's still young it doesn't do much more than get your attention. What would you do?
1. Ignore the behavior - no harm was done after all.
2. Jab your elbow into the filly's shoulder and growl at her to remind her to respect your space.
3. Take a moment to detect the reason why the filly brushed against you.
If you selected the first option, you chose wrong. Although your heart is in the right place in your willingness to "write off" a seemingly harmless action, eventually if you ignore these things they can compound to worse problems. Your filly won't always be so small and light!
If you selected the second option you might have reacted correctly if the filly was gently asked to respect your space previously and elected to ignore the request out of defiance. In such a scenario you would need to reinforce your authority lest she view herself as being the alpha leader amongst you.
But what if the filly stepped against you because the wind was carrying along a plastic bag that startled her? In such a case if you discipline your horse you do her a huge disservice because she's not trying to be defiant or challenge your authority - she's scared and she wanted your reassurance! If you start cuffing your filly for violating your personal space she will be like a deer caught in a car's headlights; the bag to her left and the handler to her right are scaring her and she'll either bolt or become paralyzed.
Had you understood the root of her concern you could have forgiven the invasion of your space and instead showed your filly the plastic bag was nothing to be concerned about. Such reassurances would have put her mind at ease, allow her to regain focus on the task at hand and hopefully become desensitized towards future encounters with plastic bags.
A trainer that believed in the "one size fits all" philosophy would probably have chosen option two in the above scenario since at face value that would be the correct reaction, but without understanding the horse or the motivation behind her action his "correction" would have further compounded the problem. It is essential a handler take the time to understand a horse's behavior before attempting to correct it since one size most definitely does not fit all. And who would better understand your horse than you?
In addition the training process does not have to be the stressful battle of wills that most of us initially believe it to be. Taken slowly, both the horse and the owner can actually look forward to advancing along the lesson plan. As the owner and horse work together, each will develop an even better understanding of the other's mannerisms, personality and expectations? and with understanding comes success.
Jeffrey Rolo, owner of AlphaHorse and an experienced horse trainer and breeder, is the author of the above article. You will find many other informational articles dealing with horse training and care as well as games and other horse fun on his website: http://www.alphahorse.com
U.S. News & World Report
Madison Veterinarian Clinic for Homeless Pets to Expand ...
U.S. News & World Report
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Knowing she would likely be homeless after moving back to Madison, Ray Straub was looking to board her two cats while she got back on her feet after years of medical problems.
The Denver Post
Colorado program connects senior pets with senior citizens
The Denver Post
She agrees to take the animals and board them for free if the owner is hospitalized or unable to care for their pet. She has placed some dogs multiple times after the first owner died. She'll also take animals back if a client's living situation ...
San Bernardino County Sun
Unlike many domestic violence shelters, this one in Victorville also houses pets
San Bernardino County Sun
Cheryl took Jazz home to San Bernardino where they became inseparable. “I love my dog, my dog is my baby,” she said. It was that love and sense of loyalty to Jazz that led Cheryl said led her to endure several months of abuse at the hands of her then ...
Your Pets Can't Put Your Aging on 'Paws' - Healthy Pets - WebMD
The British researchers pointed out that some studies have suggested that pets can improve psychological health, perhaps by easing loneliness or providing companionship.
Tips to help protect your pets paws this winter
Veterinarians say there are a few things dog owners should be conscious of, walking dogs on ice melters and making sure they do not ingest it. Veterinarian Elizabeth Alton says putting anything on the street to melt ice is going to be a chemical. A pet ...
Using social media for good...to find lost pets
Lisa McKay, the animal control officer for Bridgewater and East Bridgewater, said since working as an ACO, Facebook has become a “game-changer” for making people aware of lost pets in the area as well as increasing the success rate of finding them. “I ...
The Herald Bulletin
Maleah Stringer column: Event honors pets, both living and dead
The Herald Bulletin
The Animal Protection League and Loyal and True Pet Cremation Services will host the seventh annual Winter Solstice at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Loose Community Room, 200 W. 53rd St., Anderson. We'll be decorating Luminary Bags from 6 to 7 p.m., and the ...
Firefighter injured, three pets killed, in Monson house fire - The ...
The Boston Globe
Four residents escaped the fire at 12 Margaret St., but two cats and a dog perished, a fire official said.
Pets that need homes
Save-A-Pet helps find homes for animals at the Dothan Animal Shelter and can also provide information on how to be a sponsor, volunteer, donate items or how to foster animals. Call Save-A-Pet at 334-796-7727 or 334-796-7728. The organization is in need ...
Animal Shelter to deliver adopted pets on Christmas Eve
Shelter pets find homes for Christmas
Pet of the Week: Bob
This handsome boy is a Russian Blue Maine Coon. He is 3 years old. Bob is a very loving and laid-back guy that gets along with other pets. Bob would be an awesome companion or addition to any family. Bob's Christmas wish is to finally find his forever ...
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