Answers to your questions!
Right. So loads of questions are asked a lot on here, so I thought I'd make an article with answers to the most common. Hope this helps.
Q: Does anyone have any tips on the correct posture?
A: The correct posture does develop in time. It is important to keep your shoulders back and relaxed, back straight and not lean to far forward or backwards. And remember, always keep your heels down! It helps if you are relaxed. Relax but don’t slouch. If you are stiff, your horse will sense you are scared. On the other hand, a horse will loose confidence if you slouch, reins swinging, you not really bothering. People often get the wrong end of the stick when their instructor tells them to relax.
Q: My horse: is she naughty?
A: Lots of people think horses are plain naughty, when there is a reason behind his or her actions. There’s usually a story behind every action. Besides, bad horses are made, not born. I know plenty of situations when a horse has been classed as bad, when he’s reacting to an unpleasant situation in his or her early life. Bad memories are in the horse’s mind forever. For example, a usually placid pony will bolt when she sees a dog. Most probably, she had a bad encounter with a dog when she was younger. But these ‘faults’ can be easily corrected, just like human fears. Patience and persistence pays off in the long run.
Q: My horse doesn’t want to be caught! When I approach her, she backs up!
A: Horses have eyes on each side of their head. They have two blind spots, directly in front of them and behind them. When you approach them from the front, they can’t see you, so they back up until they can see you better. It is a common mistake for this to be thought as naughty behaviour.
Q: My horse runs home whenever I ride out. HELP?
A: She’s eager to get home! Rather than turning around and heading back, try riding a full circle. That way, she won’t know she’s going home. If you are unable to do this, you will have to learn to control her. Being on guard at all times, when you head back. If you are prepared, then you’ll be able to pull her back before she can bolt. Also, exersizing her in an arena before hacking, and trotting her all the way there, will tire her out. Clipping on a lead rope and dismounting if she tries to bolt will work. Basically, clip one on and sling it over her neck. When you turn back, she should quicken her pace. Dismount. Halt her. Circle then re-mount. Repeat this until she seems to understand she needs to WALK.
Q: My horse bolts after jumps!
A: I’d approach the jump at a walk. Obviously, if your going to do this, practice with a tiny jump. Walk her over it, just like it's a trotting pole. After your happy, walk around the arena. Turn her towards the jump, a few strides before, trot. She'll probably go quite slow, so won't bolt. Also, putting trot poles before the jump makes her think a bit more.
Also, try combinations. Put two jumps in front on each other and trot her over them. She'll have to focus more on the striding. Make sure you put a trot pole after the last jump so she won't bolt. Or you could just try cantering her or trotting a circle just before the jump to get the speed YOU want.
It could be pain that’s causing her to avoid it, or maybe a bad memory. If so, gently ease her into jumping with little cross poles at a steady trot and plenty of riding out and flatwork with poles to keep her happy and feeling secure.
Q: Tips on jump position?
Your heels should be down. Don‘t stand up, crouch over the horse's neck. When you approach, check him with your rein and also put your leg on. If he goes too slow, he'll probably either stop or do a massive leap. If you go too fast, you could panic, then he'll panic. Or he'll rush over it and stumble or something. Don’t sit down too quickly, or go into jumping position too early either. Stay with him all the way, until he lifts his front legs off the floor.
Q: I need a stronger bond with my pony!
A: Lots of time spent grooming them and petting them. Carrots always help. Even just hanging in the yard, chatting to them, can help. It also helps if you look after him on a regular basis, rather than three or four people being the caregivers. Sitting the pasture, if you can trust the other horses that could be in there, can help.
Is my horse depressed? I just bought a new horse. He either stands looking sad or goes hyper… help!
How many times did you ride him before you brought him, if the answer is only once or twice, the owners may have doped him to keep him calm. Doping is a drug that humans can give to hyper horses when trying to sell them. Dope makes horses appear calm, but lasts only about a week. There are side effects of dope, the horses poo will come out squelchy, have you noticed this? If the owners sold him for a small amount, then dope is a possible case. True, like you said, he may be missing his old owner. Was he kept in a paddock by himself in his old home? If he was, then that is probably why he stands alone. Is the horse a stallion, they may have drugged him to keep him calm, then, being a stallion, the drug wore off and he went back to his old ways?
Is my horse too old to have babies?
You need to ask yourself these questions:
Does she seem comfortable, well looked after and happy?
Do you have a SUITABLE Stallion?
Is she in health?
Were her former deliveries successful?
If you have answered yes to all off these, then your horse seems to fit the bill.
My horse is scared of other horses!
You could try putting him in a paddock with a smaller horse.
My horse bucks!
When he bucks, pull his head up, if this does not help, relax your hands COMPLETLY, squeeze with your legs, legs foward, lean backwards, hang on. Make your hands as light as you can, this is the most important thing as a horse can feel the slightest touch along the rein, and a slight tug could send him wild again. If this doesn’t work, whenever you feel him start to want to buck, pull on the reins and squeeze with your legs.
If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or asked the question wrong.* ~Pat Parelli