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How can you be more confident around horses?

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  • Starting to get nervous around new horse

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    10-03-2013, 08:43 AM
  #31
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimeFlys    
I never was afraid of horses. Started riding ponies at the age of 4 or 5. Keep in mind most horses are gentle creatures. I've met a few that were for their own reasons bitters, jittery nervous and might accidentally step on you or move you out of the way when they jumped sideways. I wish I had a good link to set you up with on horse body language.

I have one barn friend that thinks everytime a horse puts its ears back in a resting position the horse is mad. Not so, they just do that while resting. If they have their ears pinned back flat to their head they might be signaling another horse they are wanting them to "move or else". 2 seconds later they will be totally over it. Saying all that to say if a horse pins it's ears back flat to its head its best to just stay away.

I hope you find a great place to hang out and a great horse to bond with. They are out there for sure. I love my Arabians. They are considered the nut cases of the horse by some folks of the horse world but, they can be the smartest, kindest, creatures out there.

One more little story about kids coming to the barn then I'll get off here.: My daughters mare was always a fiery little alpha mare. Some kids about 5yo were here. One of them escaped from out watchful eyes and ran up to my daughters horse and threw his arms around her neck. I was expecting spook, run and her to run backwards away from him. She lowered her head and let him hug her and hang on her neck. She then gave him a rub on his head with her lips. Not a bite just a little affectionate nugey. I was surprised and stood in awe of the ability of horses to connect with people.

That is soooo sweet!
Quote:
She lowered her head and let him hug her and hang on her neck. She then gave him a rub on his head with her lips. Not a bite just a little affectionate nugey.
So would you recommend I start out with a gentle horse? Also...can Stallions sense more than, say a gelding?

Thanks!
     
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    10-03-2013, 09:05 AM
  #32
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by faiza425    
I've always had confidence/assertiveness issues with horses. I'm a very non-confrontational person, so being around horses has really forced me to leave my comfort zone sometimes.

To build up your confidence, be around quiet, safe horses as much as you can. Spend as much time grooming and leading (handling from the ground) as you can. Find out where your problem areas are (picking up feet, leading into stall or pastures, etc.) and slowly work on them until you feel really comfortable.

Have horsey people around you when you work with them, and don't be afraid to ask question after question :-D "What makes him do that?" "When he stomps his foot like that, what does that mean?" "What's the best way to...?" You'll get lots of answers if you ask lots of questions.

If at any point you feel really uncomfortable then let a more experienced person know, let them handle the situation, and ask them what you should do if the situation arises again.

A big thing that helps my confidence is knowing what to do and have a plan going into a situation where a horse doesn't behave perfectly. Learn how to handle spooking, bucking, rearing, learn how to do an emergency dismount and emergency stop. If someday you walk by a terrifying plastic bag blown by the wind you'll have tools in your toolbox to handle it.

A lot of people had said this but fake it until you feel it. Ask the horse nicely but firmly for what you want, but be prepared to TELL them what you want if you don't get it right away. Never rationalize, "That's good enough." If you want the horse to move over two steps, don't only go one, don't go three.

So top four things - spend as much time with horses as possible, learn how to handle emergency situations, and fake confidence until it's real, and don't settle for less than you asked for! hope this helps
Yes, is helps a bunch! I'll have to gather all that's been said and put it in a Word Doc! In fact I think I'll copy all the posts here...so much helpful info!

Yesterday I had a little episode with Wildfire. I do animal chores twice a day(one in the morning and at 3:00 in the evening), anyway, while I'm out I make it a point to go touch Wildfire and brush him down. And I did after I finished my evening chores... I walked over to him(I brought the whip for a little insurance if anything happed), and started to brush. For awhile he was fine, then he started to push me. I cracked the whip once in front of him and he started to toss his head and back off. Then he turned his rear to me, (by this time, I was shaking in my boots!) so I moved because I had no desire to get kicked, and cracked the whip once more. He ran off and circled back towards me running (I was REALLY sacred now!). So I Cracked that whip for all it was worth and he came to a stop, tossing his head and stamping...then just ran away!!
Right then I was kinda upset and frustrated that he just ran away(all high and mightly like!), I wished I could have had him in a pen so I could make him run till he stopped showing me his bottom and became submissive.
Advice?
I'm really not looking forward to going to him today out in the pasture at all...yet in some strange way I kinda am....I think I like the challenge. *grin*

Thanks!
     
    10-03-2013, 09:08 AM
  #33
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by SammysMom    
Oh, and I had to come back to say that no matter how scared you are, try not to hold back because experiences that prove you can handle something are a million times more valuable than trying to work up the courage beforehand. The more you ride, the more "surprises" you'll come across, and you'll grow exponentially with every one. For me, it took a few bolts and a few falls off the horse I was leasing before it clicked for me that the things I was afraid of aren't the end of the world. There was this moment where I was just like, "Well, I did fall. So what?"

As important as it is to be comfortable with horses on the ground, you could spend 12 hours a day grooming a horse and it won't make you any less nervous if you're afraid he'll buck under saddle. But riding through one buck can undo years of fear.
Thank you for saying that! That is encouraging!
     
    10-03-2013, 09:13 AM
  #34
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Salisbury Farms    
This is a great question. I would look for someone in your area who is an excellent rider (of course this may be easier said than done ;). I would then either spend time watching them from the fence, or take lessons with them. Someone who is experienced should be able to talk to you about horse body language, training, and horse psychology. They should give you enough information and "know how" that your feelings of nervousness become more manageable and start to dissolve. Feeling nervous around horses if you are "new-ish" to the sport is smart, there is a lot of hazard potential when working with horses. Getting with people that are good and then spending as much time with them, from my experience is always a good step. Best of luck!
Yes I've been thinking about that. I really do need to find someone around my area here
Thanks for pointing that out, I'll look into it for sure!
     
    10-03-2013, 09:39 AM
  #35
Weanling
I would venture to say that anyone who is not a little nervouse around horses is silly..... Now that said, I don't mean cowering and jumping everytime one farts or swishes a fly, I more so mean aware of whats happening.

I will say after having been around horses my whole life I would rather deal with a stud or a gelding than a mare in season any day of the week. However, one thing I have found helps in any situation is confidence whether its real or feigned. I walk in to every stall, barn , or pasture like I own it. Not cocky or anything, just comfortable, and pretend like I belong there.

I have found herd interaction, or horse/people interaction similar to being the new kid in school. You walk in like the world is yours with a quiet confidence and you can fake most anything.

Probly the best thing I have found to make me comfortable around horses is alot of time watching them interact with one another, Alot of time in the saddle and alot of time just being around them. Make yourself stand there while they eat and get in the paddock, with them. Hell sit in the doorway to the stall with them and read a book, but don't get wierded out when they come over and check you out.

Jim
     
    10-04-2013, 08:48 AM
  #36
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyp    
I would venture to say that anyone who is not a little nervouse around horses is silly..... Now that said, I don't mean cowering and jumping everytime one farts or swishes a fly, I more so mean aware of whats happening.

I will say after having been around horses my whole life I would rather deal with a stud or a gelding than a mare in season any day of the week. However, one thing I have found helps in any situation is confidence whether its real or feigned. I walk in to every stall, barn , or pasture like I own it. Not cocky or anything, just comfortable, and pretend like I belong there.

I have found herd interaction, or horse/people interaction similar to being the new kid in school. You walk in like the world is yours with a quiet confidence and you can fake most anything.

Probly the best thing I have found to make me comfortable around horses is alot of time watching them interact with one another, Alot of time in the saddle and alot of time just being around them. Make yourself stand there while they eat and get in the paddock, with them. Hell sit in the doorway to the stall with them and read a book, but don't get wierded out when they come over and check you out.

Jim
I have to admit, I am kinda nervous when he "comes over and checks me out", or when he comes running! I need to get over it already...
So, would you say stallions sense a lot more things then other horses?

Thanks,
~Ivanna~
     
    10-04-2013, 02:32 PM
  #37
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinaStars    
I have to admit, I am kinda nervous when he "comes over and checks me out", or when he comes running! I need to get over it already...
Thanks,
~Ivanna~
This is a tough thing to learn. Even now when one of mine comes running across the pasture at me I can feel myself getting happy feet..... its not natural to stand while a 1000lb critter comes at you.

Another thing you can do to get used to them coming and checking you out is sit on a stool and hold a bucket and let them eat out of your lap. Usually I will do this to get a new horse used to me, but I imagine it will work to help you also. Just let them eat, whether it takes them 15mins or 2hrs just sit and talk to them, and touch them, I find it relaxes me a little to just sit with them on occasion.

As far as Studs being more aware..... I duno, ours is just a goofball and kind of an in your pocket puppy dog type, and the ones I have been around that were well socialized and trained were the same way. I have never really been around a rogue stud horse.

Jim
     
    10-04-2013, 04:25 PM
  #38
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyp    
Another thing you can do to get used to them coming and checking you out is sit on a stool and hold a bucket and let them eat out of your lap.
maybe if you were doing one on one time

I was out feeding treats to the 2 mares and 1 filly in my pasture -- the youngest one decided she was not getting treated fast enough -- so she turned 180 to point her butt at me -- looked over her shoulder to judge distance -- backed up a step towards me -- and then both back hooves come flying right through the space I was previously occuppying

Luckily I was alert enough to see her setting up for what could have been a serious injury
     
    10-04-2013, 04:52 PM
  #39
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinaStars    
I have to admit, I am kinda nervous when he "comes over and checks me out", or when he comes running! I need to get over it already...
So, would you say stallions sense a lot more things then other horses?

Thanks,
~Ivanna~
No, there is nothing special about a stallion's "awareness" aside from he can pick out a mare in heat.

All horses are highly sensitive to emotions, sounds, and shadows.

And you're nervous because it's kind of against human nature to stand there and have someone (of any species) invade your space involuntarily. If you don't like it, then don't allow him to do it.
     
    10-05-2013, 10:40 AM
  #40
Foal
This is a helpful read re overcoming fear with horses.

Coming to Terms with Fear: the six stages we have to go through before we can move on | Confidence Blog by Effective Horsemanship
     

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