Training Horses Takes Patience

A good trainer will tell you training young horses requires  patience. Otherwise, a perfectly good horse can be ruined. An experienced trainer knows when to quit; a skill far more important than any other. If you push a horse too far or too fast, you simply set the stage for behavior problems and wrecks in the future. Patience is not just a lofty virtue in a trainer, it’s a prerequisite.

Horse trainers, like horses, learn from experience. Generally experience can be good or it can be bad. Pushing a horse to learn faster than he really comprehends means the horse doesn’t have a sound foundation.  Ever have a math teacher that kept going full tilt while you weren’t keeping up. It wasn’t any fun and you probably had a hard time trying to figure out what to do.

Training horses is no different than you in an advanced math class. With the teacher racing through the material, you end up lost, confused, and angry. The same with horses. You have to slow down! What is so simple to you is confusing to him. Experienced trainers know when the horse had a good day and stop just like good math teachers know when a student needs to quit for the day.

In training our horses, we believe in constant reinforcement of learned skills to build confidence while teaching new concepts slowly. For instance, let’s say we have a horse riding well, but not neck reining. We don’t teach neck reining in an all day session. It is developed one little piece at a time and in a way that can seem excruciatingly slow to some people. The end result speaks for itself. A horse that turns with wrist movement instead of plow reining or leg cues. We aren’t knocking leg cues and use them also. But a proper neck rein means the horse handles with a light touch of the reins, nothing more.

Patience in the trainer comes with practice and learning to accept hundreds of small successes over long periods while the horse is allowed to continually succeed by  performing what he already knows over and over. In this way, you wind up with a confident horse willing to learn instead of a horse soured on learning because an impatient teacher has created or caused unnecessary confusion and frustration.

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