السبت 22 يونيو 2024

Discipline & the Trail Horse

موقع أيام نيوز

Discipline is a touchy subject. Riders and trainers have varying attitudes and techniques when it comes to discipline combined with the range of horse dispositions behaviours and experiences you can see why diving into this topic is like diving into a can of worms.
One thing most people agree on is that discipline in one form or another is absolutely necessary. In fact if you do not have a handle on discipline even with a wellmannered horse his behaviour can in time slide down the slippery slope from nuisance to problem to dangerous.
Do not look upon discipline as an event a confrontation or a battle. Understand that discipline is a process just as it is with disciplining a child or a dog. As a process understand that emotions are not part of the big picture and they cloud our choices. Poor choices may exacerbate behaviour problems by further confusing the horse.

There are psychological and physical components to discipline. Some maintain that no physical contact is ever necessary and accurately point out that in the herd errant horses are made to mind their behaviour by being pushed to the periphery a vulnerable position by dominant horses. And that our ability to push our horses make them vulnerable and join up with well earned respect is the ticket for discipline.
While that may be true have another look at the same herd and you can see that the choice of discipline may also be a vicious bite or a swift kick. Being physical is a part of the horses world. If you choose to ignore that fact you may also be choosing to ignore that a horse can be big physical dominant pushy and dangerous.
Make no mistake about it you can literally love your horse to death. A horse that is raised with lots of love but no clear boundaries of acceptable behaviour will push those boundaries. This lack of discipline and respect towards humans will manifest itself in poor behaviour including crowding space turning the rear towards people biting kicking and generally being pushy and difficult when asked to respond to pressures during training. Many of these horses do not live long fulfilled lives.
Often our own gentle natures find us at odds with providing discipline. Love carrots and sugar are not the recipe for a happy equine relationship. Love carrots sugar respect personal space and the appropriate discipline at the appropriate moment are