How to Reward and Punish Your Horse

If you want your horse to be improving, you need a few things. You need your horse’s respect and you need him to pay attention to you. You need your horse to respect you, but you do not want him to be scared of you. Your horse needs to know that you will keep him safe. You can achieve that by asking him to do only the things that he is capable of learning at the moment.

You also need two other crucial things. You need to be able to reward your horse and tell him that what he did was correct.  You also need to know how to punish him when he does something that you didn’t want.

The best ways to reward or to punish your horse. So you can keep improving and your horse can stay happy.

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How to reward your horse

You can tell your horse that he did something well by just not asking him to do it anymore. For example, if I want my horse to do a side pass and he does it well considering his current abilities, I am not going to ask him to do again in the next few minutes. I can just walk around with him, stay still and let him rest for some time, or do something else.

It is important to know when your horse did something well enough considering his current abilities. We have good and we have bad days, and it is the same with horses.

How to punish your horse

Now let’s talk about how to tell your horse that he did something badly or just not in the way that you wanted. You can do that by simply immediately asking him to do the same thing again and trying to improve it.

If you do it six or seven times in a row, always badly, then it might be time for you stop and think about whether you are doing something wrong. Maybe it’s not your horse’s problem. Maybe you are doing something wrong. When this happens, I go back to basics and I try out all the exercises that my horse already knows well.

“Punishing” your horse and telling him he did something badly doesn’t really mean beating him. I like examples so I will give you one.

What to avoid

When you are learning how to count and you make a mistake, your teacher can either smack you and tell you to count it again, or he can show you where you are making the mistake and let you do it again. What would you choose?

Sometimes horses start making mistakes just because you are trying to push the training too fast and you don’t give them enough time to learn all the things.

You know what helps me when my horse does things badly and I don’t know what to do about it?

I think about whether I would want to be my horse.

How to Reward and Punish Your Horse
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