Beginnings - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-05-2018, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Beginnings

I've been into horses recently. Somewhat new to the community. I've watched my sister ride and I've personally volunteered at a local ranch that has horses. I really want to get into riding and want to understand more about horses. Any future advice for getting to know horses? I also know basic grooming.
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-05-2018, 12:04 PM
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Learn to see the world from their point of view, so you don't send the wrong signals or have unrealistic expectations. Interact with them under guidance of someone who can keep you safe and explain what is happening in front of you in real time. Observe them interacting amongst each other, without human interference. Always stay 1 inch outside the kick range. :)

Be kind whenever you can, firm whenever you must. Learn about release. Whenever you interact with a horse, you train it. Giving timely release is a major component in training a horse, whether it is intentional or unintentional - the horse won't know that difference.
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-05-2018, 03:02 PM
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you want to understand more about horses. ok. I think that people sometimes struggle to understand horses because they think of them more like other animals that humans have domesticated, and live closely with, and have affectionate relationships with, such as cats and dogs.
They see the way a rider pets his horse, and stands close to it, and asks it to do things, etc, and they maybe assume this is like a human and her dog.

h m m . . . . not really. Horses are much different from dogs or cats, even while we still can consider them 'pets', but it must be in a very different way.

the most fundamental difference , and it's huge, is that horses are prey animals, we are not, nor are dogs and cats. Horses' entire existence is one of asking this question, "Is it safe?"
Their entire paradigm of life is that "I am in constant potential danger, so must be ready to react first, think later . . . . or I will be dead".

that is why it takes so much training to overcome the horse's natural and very strong sense of self preservation, and get them to where they allow us to do all the things we do to them, which are counter to their instincts.

the fact that they DO allow us to do these things is often the reason why people call them 'dumb or stupid'. And, becuase even with the best of training, they can still erupt in unpredictable, and dangerous behavior, reinforces that reputation for being stupid beasts.

But, their 'intelligence' is how they have knit their existence into "Herd life". in this way they survive and prosper, and part of that is a very strong, inate desire to 'get along' with others. they seek out leadership. they WANT to fall in behind or beside a ' brother or sister' and enjoy the sense of flowing together, just as birds flock and fly in random turns, in unison.
that 'linking' desire is what makes the horse seek out leadership, even from humans.

So, some people feel that the horse must be humiliated to be made to work for the human. Must be stupid to allow that, when he could escape or resist. Maybe. but his happiness at being , just BEING, in the company of 'others' is something that we humans could admire , and emulate.
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-05-2018, 04:12 PM
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but his happiness at being , just BEING, in the company of 'others' is something that we humans could admire , and emulate.
Oh, I really like this, as well as your comments about taking their good nature for granted. If you ever saw a horse with a belly full of hay, just standing in the freezing rain, next to the empty run-in shelter but with one or two buddies - it does put "needs" and "desires" into perspective.
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-05-2018, 04:22 PM
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yeah, the way horses just want things to be smooth, unchanged, calm . . . . it's really not stupid at all. if you want to learn how to BE present and enjoy life, spend some time with happy horses!

Once, when I was leading X up from the pasture and we were just plodding side by side, slowly up the road, and I knew he was feeling good about being with me, and I was feeling all sweet and warm and loving to him, I reached back and petted his nose.

the instant that I did that, I realizd that in some way I had lessened the fine moment we'd been having. the horse was happy, just 'being' with me. I, however, had to have more. I had to touch him, and have my pet on his furry head. that actually 'broke' the calm, smooth mental state of the horse, because he had to look at the hand coming toward his head, and it broke him out of his state of 'wa' ( peaceful steadiness and balance, Japanese Zen). I greedily ruined his idea of a perfect happiness by taking what I needed; to reassure myself by expressing my love with a pet.
I could have made him feel MORE happy to be with me by just walking next to him and leaving him in peace.

Last edited by tinyliny; 03-05-2018 at 04:28 PM.
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-06-2018, 04:04 AM
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it matters how you are with them because these small interactions mean a lot more than it does (sometimes) with people. I think it's absolutely true that spending time with a horse by grooming, cleaning his paddock/stall with him there, bringing him his food, etc. are guaranteed to build up a "relationship" because he's going to learn your smell and all animals build a bond by using smell; different profiles, and all that. They're big animals and at the end of the day, he if wants to push you around, physics are against you. The point is to establish that you are ahead of him in the pecking order; you feed him, you keep him safe. We should always be able to have authority without being violent or abusive, and we should equally be able to show compassion without letting ourselves be a doormat. Knowledge of understanding any animal can come from direct interaction and also by reading books by people who are sharing their experience. Both are important to gather information and learn the sensibilities of an animal that you love. Respect here is important because horse riding is not a very safe activity when you take into account all the things that can and do go wrong, so you can never assume that the connection you have with your horse will protect you from accidents that can sometimes lead to... death...lol It's so, so important to remember that and to always pay attention to your surroundings and try to learn to react before the horse does. The other day I was removing the mare I ride from her paddock and the electric fencing started to snap and she would've knocked me down if I hadn't noticed. it's equally important to know how to react after the fact because sometimes you can't see ahead of time and you only have a split second to decide how you're going to deal with a bad situation. People who don't respect the size and mental routine (flight) of horses can get hurt because of it.

And, because I am now thinking about death:

never put your foot deep into the stirrup when you mount because if the horse spooks before you're in the saddle you will get drug, no questions asked.


I like going to half priced books and getting informational stuff from the equine section. Centered Riding by Sally Swift, The Longeing Book by Judy Richter, and Mary Twelveponies 'There Are No Problem Horses, only problem riders' are some of the books I've highlighted the most.

"Remember- a horse doesn't take advantage of you fear. He takes advantage of your indecision. Work to be firm, quiet, and matter-of-fact. You will not only be building confidence in yourself but also be training your horse so that you can have confidence in him. Being afraid is no disgrace. It can be the gate to becoming a better horseman than the rider who has no need to learn to control a horse properly. "



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post #7 of 7 Old 03-12-2018, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaxbuddy2 View Post
I've been into horses recently. Somewhat new to the community. I've watched my sister ride and I've personally volunteered at a local ranch that has horses. I really want to get into riding and want to understand more about horses. Any future advice for getting to know horses? I also know basic grooming.
Spend time with your sister. If she's into horses, its the best way to learn by tagging along with someone who's involved. Do some research for local stables and look at contacting them to get more information on what they offer and how they can further teach you about horses. Welcome to the equine addiction.

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