3 Reasons why horses don’t listen

Have you ever had issues with your horse not listening to you? Did you manage to get him to listen to you in the end?

It happened to me so many times I can’t even count. It was especially difficult to get my horse to listen when I was learning to ride. I didn’t always manage to get my horse to listen to me in the end, or it was taking me very long to do it.

When your horse doesn’t listen to you, the first question to ask yourself is “why is he not doing what I am asking?”

You can only find a way to improve and to get your horse to listen after you discover why is he not listening. Let’s talk about the most common reasons why your horse doesn’t want to listen to you.

1. You don’t have respect and your horse just doesn’t care about what you want

There are two reasons why might not have the respect of your horse.

The first one is that you are not dedicated to making him listen to you.

The second one is that your horse just doesn’t understand you properly. 

When I say “dedicated to making your horse listen” what I mean is that you have a clear idea of what you want your horse to do and you don’t stop until he does it. Your horse knows whether you know what you want. Shouting, hitting him or using “correct cues” is useless if you don’t have a clear and exact idea of what you want.

Your horse can understand you when he can differentiate the time when “you are asking him to do something” and the time when “he just did what you wanted”

Let me give you an example. I will stand against my horses head, and start walking towards him. If he doesn’t start to back up, I am going to lightly smack him with the lead rope. If he doesn’t react and doesn’t start to back up within two seconds, I am going to smack him again, using a bit more pressure. If he still doesn’t react, I smack him again in two seconds, again increasing the pressure. After he does what I wanted I am going to praise him and leave him alone for a little bit.

If you always act the same way, your horse will be able to understand what you want.

2. I am asking my horse to do something he is not capable of doing at the moment

This is a common issue when you are trying to teach your horse something new. What helps me to avoid this problem is separating the new exercise into many little and simple steps that you can learn one after another.

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For example, you want your horse to learn the turn on the haunches. If you ask him to do the full turn right from the start, you are never going to get him to do it correctly.

When you teach your horse new things, you can always want just one new thing at a time.

One thing is not doing a full turn on the haunches. When you ask for a turn on the haunches you are asking your horse to cross his front legs correctly, you want him to be standing still with his rear legs and you want him to have his head and neck in the correct position. You want the whole turn to be done smoothly.

Those are a lot of things. So in the begging what I want is just for the front legs to be crossing over correctly and I don’t want a full turn, I just want one or two steps. Over time I can ask for more.

3. You are asking for the same exercise too often and your horse is getting tired of it

Your horse will most likely get tired of doing a certain exercise if you practice it too often and he will start looking for ways to avoid doing it.

When you see that your horse is less willing to do a certain exercise, you have to be using more pressure to make him do it than previously and he is performing it worse, he is most likely getting tired of doing it.

If you try to get your horse to perform it better at this point, it usually just ends up with him doing it even worse. Or in some cases even with bucking or rearing.

When your horse starts doing some exercise worse, think about whether you are asking for it too often.

If you do, just give your horse a break from it and don’t practice it for a few days. When you start practicing it again, start as if your horse didn’t know the exercise. Right from the beginning and without repeating the exercise too often.

These are the most common reasons why your horse might not be listening to you. If you want to transform a “misbehaving horse” into a one that listens to you willingly is to think about why is he not listening.

If you want to learn more about getting your horses respect and improving the way he listens to you without doing any additional work click here to take a look at my Free Training Series by clicking over here


3 Reasons why horses don’t listen
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