How to teach your horse something fast

Everyone eventually needs to teach their horse something, or try to get him to unlearn something. Teaching your horse something easy might take just a few minutes, some more complicated exercises might take a few months.

Keeping a few simple things in mind can help you make everything a whole lot faster. In a lot of cases it will cut the time you need to learn something in half.

Do this and your horse will improve much faster

The simplest way to get your horse to learn something faster is to correct him immediately when he starts doing something wrong.

By immediately I mean in one or two seconds.

Let me give you a few examples:

You walk with your horse on a lead rope and he starts walking in front of you. Correct him by stopping and asking him to back up within two seconds after he gets in front of you. You will see that your horse will stop trying to walk in front of you very quickly. It is just important to correct him every time and to correct him within two seconds…

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Or maybe your horse takes long to react when you ask him for something. For example, you ask for trot and he takes a long time to speed up to trot. Give him one or two seconds to react, and if he doesn’t react, ask again using considerably more pressure.

If you let your horse ignore you for four seconds, he will already start feeling like he can be challenging you. Four seconds are enough for your horse to get a feeling that he was successfully ignoring what you want. They are enough to give him the confidence to try to ignore you for longer and longer next time you ask for something.

Just two seconds make all the difference

If your horse “tries something” and you correct him within two seconds, most likely he will stop trying to misbehave and challenge you very quickly. React a bit slower and only correct him after four seconds and he will most likely start feeling like “it is ok to do this, I was able to do it twice, why wouldn’t I be able to do it ten times.”

When your horse starts walking in front of you on a lead rope, it doesn’t mean that he wants you to lead him. It means that he wants to lead you. The longer you are going to take to correct him, the more often is he going to try to do it.

If you ignore the early signs, it might escalate into something that is very hard to fix

Maybe you know someone in your stable that has issues with walking with their horse on a lead rope. Yesterday I have seen one lady pushed into a bush by her horse. It started with her horse just walking in front of her, then over time he started pushing her as well, and yesterday I have seen her walking wrestling with her horse, jerking her lead rope but eventually losing anyways and being pushed into a bush by him.

It can all be avoided by just being consistent and correcting your horse quickly enough everytime he does something he shouldn’t.

Another example, you ask your horse to turn right (on a right turning circle) but he tries to go left. It is always going to be easier to correct him if you start correcting him as soon as possible. There is no point in waiting three seconds to see whether your horse actually still decides to go right as you asked him to.

Correcting your horse fast enough allows you to correct him using much less pressure.

Be quick and you won’t need to be harsh.

Also, do not forget that your horse can only learn the exercises that he is currently capable of learning.  If you are going to be correcting your horse quickly enough but he will no idea of what you want. Of course, it would not work. You can always be sure that you are trying to learn the correct exercise and avoid stressing your horse by trying to practice something too difficult by following my Training Process Blueprint that is part of the Saddle Control. (more info on that over here)

Next time you see your horse, try to keep in mind what I have said. Correct him within two seconds and everything he does something he should not. You will be surprised by the difference that it is going to make.



How to teach your horse something fast
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