The number of available horse training tips can be overwhelming for beginners, and many can contradict each other. The types of horse training tips one chooses to follow can vary greatly, depending on what discipline a person plans to train the horse in, though there are some universal horse training tips that every successful horse trainer knows. Successfully training a horse is dependent on starting the different stages of training at the right time in a horse’s life, learning to communicate with the horse and learning to control one’s own body language.
One of the most important horse training tips to ensure the health of the horse is protected is starting training at the right time. Groundwork training, such as learning to accept a halter, being able to be led calmly and standing still for grooming, can begin almost as soon as the horse is born. This early stage of life is also a good time to desensitize horses to loud noises and distractions. The process of groundwork training and desensitizing also sets the tone for the relationship between the horse and trainer, allowing each to learn the other’s cues and personalities.
Actually saddling a horse and subsequently riding him is best done once the horse’s bones are fully formed, the earliest being 2 years of age. Larger breeds of horses, such as Andalusians, may take as long as 4 to 5 years for their bones to mature. Once the horse is sturdy enough to handle a rider safely, it is time for the trainer to teach the horse to accept a saddle, bridle, girth and any other tack they may need for the discipline in which they are being trained.
Backing a horse, or teaching it to take a rider, can be a difficult, tasking and dangerous job. One of the best horse training tips for this stage is to make sure the person teaching the horse to carry a rider is experienced and, most of all, patient. A horse’s temperament can be altered by an inexperienced trainer trying to teach him to take a rider. Once the horse learns to take a rider, it can then be taught to respond to vocal or physical commands, which are best taught by saying or doing the command immediately before a horse naturally does the desired action, such as walking or trotting.
While many horses begin different stages of training at different times — race horses, for example, start training well before 2 years of age — one of the most universal horse training tips is learning to communicate with the horse. Horses talk to one another through body language, and quickly learn to read humans in the same manner. Therefore, it is important for a horse trainer to be in control of his body language at all times, ensuring the horse remains relaxed and responsive. Excessive tension or anger can lead to a horse becoming high strung, and too much relaxation can make a horse unresponsive to learned commands. A good balance of both body languages is considered one of the most effective horse training tips.
Horse training requires a great deal of patience and understanding of the horse and oneself. Horses are born with their own unique temperament, and all horse training tips should be tailored to fit the needs of the individual horse. While these horse training tips provide a guideline to follow, it is important to always keep the relationship between trainer and horse as the highest priority.