Education issues: how to instill good manners in equine … croup?
Horses with bad manners pose a threat to all those who are close to them, and even to themselves. But how to fix the situation?
The advantage of a powerful rear for a horse is that one lightning strike with a hoof can end an argument with a mountain lion. Instantly. Unfortunately for us people, the result of such a blow, whether intentionally or not, can be disastrous.
An untrained horse interprets the actions of people (including forges) as a potential threat. Despite the fact that many equestrians understand how important desensitization and training a horse is, they often miss one crucial point that makes the horse safer when it comes to manipulating the back of the horse.
A horse that is suspicious of everything that happens at its tail is a problem, because over time, such a horse can very likely turn into a monster. Bad behavior based on fear or disrespect can lead to an explosive incident and a real danger to people. With a significant degree of probability, “under the distribution” will fall people who provide horses with certain services (for example, groom, koval or veterinarian). But their duties include neither risking their life, nor teaching a horse manners. Thus, an ill-mannered horse may be without the help that he will need.
There is a common misconception: the owner believes that his horse has good manners, because she stands calmly when she is saddled and does not break out when she is led into levada. But the same horse is constantly trying to beat back with a hammer …
Interestingly, if you take such a horse and start working on desensitizing and training exercises related only to its rear, the gaps will become obvious. A frightened horse will act to protect itself, because it relies on its rear and does not want to be in a vulnerable state. A spoiled horse will act aggressively because it is used to using its hind legs in order to assert its dominance and gain power.
The manners of horses depend only on how well we work on them, on our training. If we do not help horses understand our expectations, they will not understand them.
Below I will list five main signs that tell us that the horse will behave correctly if it comes to its rear.
1. First of all, I pay attention to the location of the hind limbs, whether the hind legs cross. If you ask a horse to upset (give way to pressure), he will upset, crossing his legs, as seen in the photographs below. By asking the horse to succumb to pressure, you move its backside, establishing control over it and confirming its leading position.
2. I am working to build confidence so that the horse remains calm when someone approaches its rear, regardless of speed. It doesn’t matter if a person is moving towards or away from the horse, in the field of vision or disappearing from it, the horse should remain calm.
3. The horse should take both “strong” and “light” touches to the hips, tail, hooves, hock joints and especially to the vulnerable area of the abdomen. The horse must suppress the protective instincts that could harm someone; it should not protect its personal space from you.
4. The horse should not try to scare or threaten to raise its legs when you treat it from behind with a spray (insect repellent). The flies that disturb the horse in the rear area encourage it to actively beat back with its hind legs, so getting rid of them will reduce the risk of being hit by a hoof
5. The horse must obediently give its hind leg if asked to do so. At the same time, both the horse and the person should be able to maintain a comfortable posture and behave freely.
Tip: wrap a rope around the head of the horse’s hind leg and pull it up, asking the horse to raise his leg, yielding to pressure. This is a good intermediate step for the horse to learn how to put a foot in your hand.
Strive for a relationship with the horse based on mutual respect and trust. No matter what manipulations and exercises are done at the back of the horse, the ultimate goal should always be relaxation and confidence. Maintaining these standards will be important for horse training as well as safety. If you are uncomfortable with a horse that has shown unsafe or nervous behavior, find a knowledgeable person who can help. But whatever you do, do not ignore the bad behavior!