Dangerous or Damaged?

So often you hear of a horse that just doesn’t fit into training programs, or he was so good for so long and then seemingly over a short time, he became naughty or dangerous. 


Acting out in anyway is a sign of stress, discomfort, not understanding what’s expected, or in a fair amount of cases, pain.


We have seen many horses over the years that display naughty habits, such as rearing, bolting, bucking, traveling behind the leg, head tossing, teeth grinding, kicking at the leg, whip or spur.


These issues are more often a pain or discomfort issue than a training issue. 


We have never found a horse to react poorly if the training is methodical and fair.


We have however, had horses injure themselves in the field or box without our knowledge. Suddenly they are like a different animal. They are grumpy and sore minded, and they won’t work or learn. 


This has to be an immediate sign to check the health of the horse or change his environment.


Maybe more turn out, a different stable mate, different time of day to work or some time off. 


Too often, a health issue is addressed as a training issue and a genuine training issue is addressed as a health issue. 


Training isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes its ugly while horses are learning to move their bodies in a new way. Or they get a little stressed while learning something new. 


But, these normal training moments last minutes, not days or weeks, and should not repeat themselves.
If the same behavior comes up over and over, check his health and comfort. Could be something as simple as saddle fit or his teeth are due. 


Don’t excuse him from his work, when he is learning and expressing himself.But, listen instead when he says he can’t in ways that don’t make sense. 


Be creative and offer him options.If he continues to protest, get him seen by a doc, a chiro or whatever seems appropriate. 


Horses don’t ever say no, simply because they want to! 
They never act out simply to be naughty. There is always a reason, even if it’s that he needs better boundaries, more time to learn, or a health issue examined. 

Written by: Emily Abbate

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