How to give a horse confidence?
I've always wondered...what's the secret behind those horses that will do anything, go anywhere, with any type of rider, no fear, resistance or refusal? How do you make a horse like that?
You do not make them as much as you select them from birth and then give them the support and exposure to be confident.
Riders can either give confidence by riding their horses or instill fear by making the horse feel like they are on their own by just sitting there being taken for a ride. Rhythm and support with hands and legs is important to any horse but especially to the ones that are a little insecure. If you offer support to a confident horse they will charge into anything you ask them to. you can develop a horses confidence to a point, but mostly confident horses are born not made.
Just to save myself a ton of typing.
The Road of a Horse Trainer: Watch the line.
smrobs, that IS a really fine article!
In a nutshell: Your horse can only be as brave as you are. --Pat Parelli
I'd suppose just get them used to things of all sorts, and don't make a big deal about getting past it, just show them that it is okay. (Not in a babying manner, however.) And reward them forgetting past it, but slowly wean them off the rewards. That is how I would do it, but I'm not that hardcore of a rider so I haven't tested my theory that often.
My horses are pretty much bombproof with any loud noises, however. Seeing as they are used to it. They are pastured near a road, so they see vehichles of all sorts. (Semi-trucks, cars, trucks, Skidsteers, tractors.) Aswell as joggers, birds, dogs, children, random debris, etc. Don't try and tiptoe around a horse's feelings constantly. Then they will learn that that stuff is just absolutely terrible and to make a big deal out of it every time they see it.
That horse you speak of doesn't come out of the womb that way. While some are more predisposed to others to insecurity or braveness, it all comes down to the individual horse and it's training.
I try to keep it simple. Be consistent. Don't baby them. Don't overface them. Push them a little more each time and let each horse develop at it's own pace.
Horses are pack animals, they decide what to do based on the most dominant mares reactions. Be the pack leader, and your horse will have confidence and trust and take its leads from you.
You develop a horses confidence with small steps that teach a horse how to deal with fear. You can't stop a horse from being scared but you can teach a horse to react in a different way than it normally would.
The whole message that is lost on the Big-time clinician crowd with the tarp and large bouncy balls is not to teach your horse to walk over a tarp or chase a six foot red ball but to react to scary things in a different way then is normal for them. I have been riding horses for 27 years and I have yet to come across a situation where I had to walk over a large blue tarp or chase a large ball. Since you can't plan for every eventuallity you have to prepare your horse to react the way you want it to when confronted by unexpected outside stimuli. If you walk over the same tarp in the same place you are setting yourself and your horse up to fail. If you allow your horse to refuse you are doing the same thing. Expose your horse to new things and do it in a manner that strenghens your leadership and develops the horses curiousity.
Smrobs love that article. The same can be said about people.
Kevin's, I think exposing your horse to tarps, balls, and things is also as much about the horse as the rider. Both of you learn how to deal with a stressful, scary situation.
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