Some Important Rules When it Comes to the Art of Horsemanship
This is the principle behind Horsemanship. Taking control of a horse is important and what every horseman desires to do. However, many have this notion that to be able to completely take control of a horse in a way that he easily follows any suggestions or requests involves only the physical level. So, there are people who think that as long as they have a lead role or bridle on the horse, they can take full control of its head and its entire movement. But, in Horsemanship the truth is that you can take control of the horse without a lot of physical efforts. You should start by taking full control of the horse’s mental aspect. The moment you have control over his mind or his thinking, it is easier for you to ask him to do just about anything.
A great horse training should therefore primarily focus on establishing a mental connection with the horse so that you are able to easily acquire control over his mind. You have to consider the fact that horses by nature view a human being as a predator. This being said, he instinctively has fear towards any individual. But, a good horseman knows how to make the horse comfortable and safe despite of his presence. He knows how to make the horse feel secured and feel at peace. A good horseman bridges the gap between humans and horses and builds the kind of relationship that instead of being looked at as a predator, he is looked up as a friend, a protector and a leader by the horse.
The Art of Horsemanship
This is all better said than done. But if you take the following rules and pointers into consideration, you will eventually master the art of Horsemanship.
First thing is that you need to place your one hundred percent focus and attention towards your horse. You also have to know that the horse is paying close attention to every move and action you make and is constantly evaluating whether you are to be trusted or not. Once you take your horse for training, see to it that you are able to tune out outside distractions. Avoid talking to people while with your horse so your attention never gets undivided.
Separate your business and personal life to your horse training life. A focused attention on your horse helps you know your horse better as well and it will be easier for you to learn how to adjust to his behavior and personality in a way that you are able to easily build a great partnership with him.
Be present and keep your attention towards yourself. While keeping your attention towards your horse is extremely important, we cannot put aside the importance of keeping close attention to your own emotions, actions and behaviour. You have to be extremely careful not to send the wrong message towards your horse. You should always be at your best when training with your horse. When you notice your attention wander off to something else such as when you catch yourself thinking of that event which happened the other day, stop and bring yourself back to where you are at present, with your horse.
See to it that the attention of your hose is towards you. When you notice that he isn’t paying attention and you are still at the beginning of your training, you don’t need to punish him just as many horsemen do. You simply have to get his attention back by making a small noise for example such as brushing your feet off the sand or gently making a noise through your voice. You can also make use of slight pressure applied strategically on your horse to get his focus back towards you. Unless you have his complete attention towards you, your training will be useless and he will never learn anything.
No matter what it is that you are doing to or with your horse, you need to exhibit a pattern of predictable and stabilized rhythm. You shouldn’t work too slow or too fast, but you should keep a rhythm of control and relaxation so that the horse is placed on relaxation mode as well. Whether you are mounting on your horse, feeding him, tacking him, placing a lead rope on or perhaps grooming him, you need to maintain your rhythm. Avoid working too fast or too slow, keep a constant rhythm that is familiar, relaxing and predictable to him.
The moment you make changes to your working pace, the horse begins to wander whether the change marks the presence of an impending danger. He will begin to lose focus and start acting strange. So, again, no matter what it is that you do with your horse, keep your rhythm.
Stay Relaxed and Maintain that Feeling
In horsemanship, avoid doing something that would suddenly make him scared or excited because then, things can begin to go out of your control. Stay relaxed and maintain that feeling of him that he is safe with you around. If unavoidably you are able to press his button and suddenly make him too excited that he is no longer listening to what you are trying to tell him, you should not react in anger or plan to punish him quickly. Instead, you need to maintain your rhythm and relaxation pattern. You can do this by acting as if nothing has happened. If something comes along that causes him stress or over excitement pretend to not see that object or situation and move on, on your normal rhythm. It will be surprising how the horse quickly goes back to being relaxed again after seeing your behavior towards that object or situation.
When you exhibit his kind of behavior despite the presence of something that he thinks has a possibility of causing him danger, he begins to go back to his normal self and you can have his attention back.
In conclusion, we can say that indeed the art of horsemanship isn’t that easy to master. It takes a lot of patience, perseverance, self-control and discipline to get into this level and to build this kind of relationship with a horse. But, eventually, it’s going to be all worth it. Keep practicing the principles we outlined in this article and you will soon see yourself succeed as a horseman.