Moving to trust through horse games
Do you want your horse to become reliable and safe? So that she would agree to walk along bridges and narrow paths with you, cross streams and ditches, enter a horse carrier without unnecessary “questions” and feel calm even in the atmosphere of competition? To do this, you need to gain trust from the horse.
Building trust can be an interesting and easy task – there are many things you can do to gain the trust of your horse, and your exercises will bring pleasure to both you and her.
I want to share a few ideas with you:
1. Precipitation by poles. This is a simple exercise. Start by stopping halfway (above the pole). Then besiege the horse – let him take a step or two back. As soon as the horse is able to cope with this, you can try to upset it in several poles arranged in a row. Sitting on poles teaches your horse to raise his legs and not to panic if she has come across something or stepped on a hoof.
2. Knock on the box. At first, the exercise may seem difficult, because the horse will not know what you need. As soon as the horse understands the task, it will perform it with pleasure.
Start by simply approaching the box with the horse (you can use plastic crates, most importantly, to keep your equipment safe). Encourage the horse to sniff and inspect the box, directing its head to it. If the horse became interested and began to inspect the box, reward her for it. If the horse hits the box, try at the same time to give her encouragement so that she understands that she has fulfilled your request correctly. If the horse does not want to touch the box, try slowly, step by step, to bring it closer to it until it touches it. Drive the horse slowly so that it does not jump over the box and is not afraid.
When the horse touches and turns the box over, she learns not to be afraid of objects that she can hit, turn over, which can create noise when you touch them.
3. We stand in a hoop (hula hoop). Put the hoop on the ground. Bring a horse to him and let her sniff him. Then try to bring the horse into the hoop so that it becomes its front legs into it. Reward the horse when she understands you and performs the task correctly! When you can ask the horse to put the front legs in the hoop, and she will fulfill your request without any problems, try to do the same with the hind legs.
Such a game helps to teach the horse that it will not suffer if it becomes feet in something.
4. We go on a tarp. Lay the tarp on the ground, let the horse sniff it and examine it. Then ask her to walk on the tarp. Be prepared for the fact that, for the first time stepping on a tarp, the horse can jump sharply, frightened by an unfamiliar sound.
Gradually train the horse step by step. When she can walk on the tarpaulin without any problems, try to ask her to spit on it, besiege the horse, ask her to walk on the tarpaulin of a different color or other quality. If you do not have a tarp, you can use an old shower curtain.
5. Push the ball. This is a very fun exercise, when your horse understands it, she will like it very much.
Train the horse to push the ball in the same way as taught her to knock on the box and push it. This time, when the horse pushes the ball (nose or foot) we give her a reward, a treat. Pretty soon, your horse will willingly push the ball to get more rewards. Then make the game more difficult – try to ask the horse to push the ball in a certain direction (for example, between the stands) or even make a pass to another horse or to you!
Do not be afraid to experiment! Introduce the horse to new things, set new tasks for it, and complicate them as you progress. The more confident the horse will be, the safer it will be next to it. After the horse learns to play such games from the ground, you can carefully try to play them and on horseback.
Remember to reward the horse — she needs to know when she does what you want. To do this, you need to pause, “lag behind” the horse, you can give it a treat or scratch its withers – it all depends on what motivates your horse more.
Try to be slow and patient. If you rush a horse, it will not lead to anything good. Slow and right – better than fast and wrong. This is not a race!
If your horse can play all of the above games, then this means that his level of trust in you is high and you can try something new. Now you can be creative – what more can you ask your horse to do?