Anyone that has grown up around horses will know how easy it is to fall in love with both the animals and the lifestyle that’s associated with them. Whether it’s recreational riding or professional horse racing, there’s a lot to love about horses and the people that look after them. Sometimes that love can transform into a genuine and sincere passion, enough to make a person consider getting a career working with horses in some shape or form.
One of the reasons that people love horses so much is due to how alike they are to us. They’re intelligent, thoughtful, and have their own pleasures and fears. When getting a new horse, it’s not uncommon for the animal to be difficult to get along with at first, often because it has its own set of fears and anxieties.
Just because a foal is a baby doesn’t mean you can’t get started on their training to turn them into the best racer they can be one day. They will learn a lot from their mother out in the pastures, as well as the other grown up horses in the fields. This will largely about how to be a good well-mannered horse.
Sometimes you can’t ride, and sometimes you just don’t want to. But there are a lot of different things that we can do with our horses that are just as enjoyable!
In days past, most trades, horse handling and training included, had their fair share of secrets. One of the most famous examples of a group that preserved and passed on tried and tested knowledge was the Society of Horsemen.
Before you start training a horse there are some important basics to remember.
1. Body Language is Important
Horses seem to be fearful and that is probably because they are guided by instinct and because they are prey animals it may be the reason why they seem reserved, even scared in situations that are new to them.
It is important to watch your body language in these situations, as this will communicate to the horse that your intentions are good.
2. Lead Training
Lead training is very important and any horse should be well mannered when meeting new people. You should train your horse to be able to walk next to you while on a lead and at the same time giving simple commands like stop or turn.
Some horses may not be as easy to train so it is important that you let your horse know who is in control.
3. Warming Up and Cooling Down
Warming up exercises are important and this means both physically and mentally before riding. You may need to do some longeing and other exercises to lay a foundation so that your horse will know what to expect. After training your horse will need to cool down and this will enable the horse to relax his muscles and rest after training.
It is important to remember that a tired horse may be difficult to train and that you make training an enjoyable experience.
4. Be Gentle
Some trainers may think a whip is necessary to control their horse, but being gentle is important to getting your horse to listen to you and a horse that is treated with kindness will not pull back or show hostility. Giving treats is also a way of showing gentleness and as a reward if your horse does well.
Training your horse is the most important thing you do before actually riding. Training will include groundwork and it is important not to take short cuts, especially if you are just starting out.
The first thing to teach your horse is to bend and longe and you can also teach your horse simple commands while longeing before putting on the saddle. Your horse should first be desensitised and aware of your body to avoid being thrown off.
It may take more time that you expected for your horse to warm up to you, and to understand that training a horse is gradual. It is important that your horse is properly tamed and that it is done correctly, just like playing real money online slots, getting the right results may take some time, but they pay off.
5. Be the Leader
Being a leader is essential, your horse needs to know who the leader is and gender is not a factor. Some horses are born leaders and will be dominant and training a horse with these qualities may be more challenging, but you will need to spend extra time showing your horse gently but firmly who is in charge.
Because horses belong to a herd it is natural that they will look for someone to lead them and will look to you as the leader and it is important that you are able to speak to them in a way they understand.
It may be hard to accept, but it’s important to remember that your horse won’t be nice all the time. While it can be a very scary and serious situation, horse owners need to keep in mind that the hooves and teeth are a horse’s weapons and are used by them in the wild for protection.
It may seem like an impossible task, but it’s entirely possible to work successfully with an aggressive horse. Here’s how.
A Behavior Born Out of Fear
An aggressive horse may have developed these behaviours due to mistreatment or simply doesn’t respond to basic natural horsemanship methods and will typically have a strong flight mechanism.
However, you may come across a horse that instead of fleeing will actually fight back and it’s important to remember that this behaviour is borne out of fear. If you don’t know the history of your horse, you may never figure out the root cause of the behaviour, but most horses will not become this way unless mishandled by people.
Equating Humans to Kindness Instead of Harm
If you know your aggressive horse was mistreated by people in the past, the most important part of working with them is to get them to equate humans with kindness instead of harm. We should practise the principles of kindness and trust-building with an aggressive horse just as you would with any other, but it’s also important to keep yourself safe.
When working with an aggressive horse, you need to remain hyper-aware at all times – just like you would with online betting – and become intensely familiar with the nuances of the horse in order to identify when they’ve had enough and are about to lash out.
Standing Your Ground
In order to be successful, you have to show your aggressive horse absolute kindness while still being firm and flexibility must be handled with care. Many aggressive horses take on the human characteristic of “I win, you lose” in interactions which puts us as humans at a major disadvantage as it’s a physical fight we can never win.
A big horse will use its size to intimidate and it’s important that you stand your ground, but to also choose your ground carefully. Be firm, but also give it a rest when you can tell the horse is seeing red.
Working Successfully with an Aggressive Horse
The following tips are useful when working with an aggressive horse:
- Stand outside of the arena until you are sure that the horse is not going to be aggressive. This could take a few hours or a few months, so patience is imperative.
- Remain constantly present, hyper-vigilant, and look for signs of aggression.
- Keep a good amount of space between you and the horse at all times.
- Learn the triggers of aggression for this particular horse. Does the horse not like eye-contact, being approached while eating, or moved on from behind?
- Look out for a short-fused horse and cease all work before the horse can lash out.
- Practise firm kindness at all times.
Equine therapy, also known as equestrian- or equine-assisted therapy, is a form of treatment that makes use of horses to help promote emotional development.
Equine therapy has proven to be particularly helpful when applied to patients with ADD, anxiety, autism, dementia, emotional and mental developmental delays, Down syndrome, depression, traumatic brain injuries, as well as behavioural issues.
Equine therapy has been recognised as an important area of the medical field in many countries as it has helped to improve the lives of thousands of people around the world.
The Universal Language of Equine Therapy
Not only has equine therapy improved the lives of people living with the conditions listed above, but it is also an effective technique used by many therapists and councillors to educate troubled youth on how to follow instructions and how to react appropriately.
For instance, when starting out with equine therapy, students are tasked with getting the horse to move outside of a circle without even touching the animal.
Many students will try to clap, whistle, or yell but the horse will simply not heed the signal. In this way students, as well as parents and friends who are part of the therapy experience, learn that clapping, forcing, and yelling are not effected ways to get a person to do something.
Why Use Horses for Therapy?
Horses are the most commonly used animal for therapy, but elephants, dolphins, cats, and dogs are also used in many instances, the latter especially for those that are unable to gain access to the outdoors.
However, horses are the most popular as they have the ability to respond immediately to stimuli and given instantaneous feedback to the patient’s action or behaviour.
They may not always be the most feasible option though, and patients are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Just like the way you’d go about getting NRL betting tips may differ to the next persons, each patient has different needs and these must be assessed upfront.
Horses are also able to mirror the emotional state of the patient making them an effective tool of learning. As horses behave similarly to human beings in their social and responsive behaviour, it is at all times easy for patients to form a connection with the therapy horse.
The Therapeutic Benefits of Equestrian Training
When equine therapy is practised correctly by a certified therapist, people with cognitive disabilities, psycho-motor disabilities, and behaviour disabilities show positive results.
Much like physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy, patients with disabilities are assisted by a certified equine therapist to manage their disability, but equine therapy combines all three in a way that doesn’t make patients feel that they are undergoing therapy.
The aim of equine therapy is for patients to:
- Establish a sense of self-worth
- Improve communication
- Establish trust
- Build self-efficiency
- Develop socialisation and decrease isolation
- Learn impulse control
- Learn emotional management
- Establish limits and boundaries
Activities Used in Equine Therapy
The activities used in equine therapy are not limited to horseback riding as many patients may feel intimidated or fearful of the horse’s size and may take time to develop a sense of confidence around the horse. As such, included in the equine therapy are lessons on horse care, grooming, saddling, and basic equestrian skills.
The process or techniques applied during an equine therapy session will be dependent on the patient and their type of disorder or the severity, but the primary techniques used by equine therapists are:
- Cognitive therapy
- Practising activities
- Activity scheduling
- Play therapy
- Talk therapy
It’s important to remember that safety is the primary concern in all equine therapy associated activities and therapist ensure that all patients wear helmets and other protective gear.
If you’ve ever spent a substantial amount of time with different horses, you will know that each one has a personality of their own, much like humans. The behaviour of a horse can be influenced over time by a variety of factors, such as their upbringing, where they were raised, and how well they are treated.
Despite all this, there are some personality traits and temperaments that are endemic to certain breeds, as any seasoned trainer will tell you. That’s why each breed has different kinds of training, which is often also specialised further for that specific animal and its needs.
This can be apparent if you’re an avid horse enthusiast, or you follow horse racing betting sites – they will all show you the same thing: that different breeds act and behave in ways that other breeds simply do not emulate.
As far as temperament is concerned, there are generally two kinds of breeds: hot-blooded, and cold-blooded. We will discuss both, and which breeds fit into which group.
As you may have guessed, a hot-blooded breed tends to be the kind of horse that is high strung, full of energy, nervous, and often with fiery tempers. These are the kinds of horses that are generally much harder to train, but at the same time, are often some of the best competitors in the racing scene.
Long distance and speed racing are the best attributes of these breeds, which usually make up for the time and patience it takes to train them.
- Thoroughbred: the Thoroughbred is well known across the world as a fast, powerful horse that has dominated race tracks for generations. They’re mostly used for racing, mounted athletics, and jumping, and although they take much longer to train, they also tend to be much more competitive than other breeds.
- Anglo Arabian: A cross between a Thoroughbred and an Arabian that has retained the best traits of both, the Anglo Arabian is not so much a racer as a recreational horse. They are much easier to train, but are highly strung, and overreact in stressful situations.
- Arabian: One of the oldest breeds on record, Arabians have had a lot of influence on many of the world’s modern breeds, especially where genes are concerned. The Arabian is a runner, and enjoys long distance riding like few other horses, but they are easily scared, and their curiosity can sometimes land them in a tight spot.
A cold-blooded breed is the complete opposite to the hot-blooded, and while many of the breeds to share some similar personality traits; they are much easier to train and not as highly strung. Cold-blooded breeds are usually quite tall and muscular, and due to their calm natures and strong stature, they have made popular workhorses in the past.
- Shire: A huge horse that is often seen pulling a carriage, these gentle giants are generally quite docile and hard working. Their patience has made them excellent companions in the past, especially on long journeys through rough country.
- Clydesdale: Another large, taller horse, the Clydesdale has been used as a farm labourer for hundreds of years, and are quite unique due to their intelligence and high spirits. They’re also quite an energetic breed, and can still be found on farms across the world today.
There are many more horse breeds in the world, and while we’ve only covered a few, these breeds are the ones that most people have come across or heard of at least once before, and are favourites for modern day trainers.
Horse Racing – The Basics
Horse racing is one of the world’s most popular competitive sports, and continues to be a powerful force in the sporting world. The sport itself can be traced back thousands of years, as horses have always been raced due to their speed and stamina. Modern racing as we know it today has only existed for the last two hundred years or so, and has not changed much in that time.
While there are many types of horse racing found throughout the world, we will focus mostly on the most popular type: flat racing. Flat racing is a horse race that is done on a flat racecourse, usually done over a predetermined distance, and each race has different requirements that, including the breed of the horse, and the type of class the horse is.
Flat racing has seen substantial growth in popularity over the last several decades, and like pokies online NZ, this is thanks in large part to the massive betting scene that has grown and prospered around the sport. Horse race betting is a favourite pastime for enthusiasts the world over, and makes for some truly thrilling entertainment. If you’re interested in taking up horse race betting, or simply want to know more about how flat racing works, read on to find out more.
All About Flat Racing
While flat racing distances are predetermined, they will always be within a certain lengths, such as 2 furlongs – which is 402 metres – up to 4.8 km. The distance depends on the host of the track, the class and breed of the horses participating, and the event that is taking place. Most flat races are done in either a test of speed, stamina, or a combination of the two, and is often also a test of how well the jockey can perform on the back of their racer.
Despite all the breeds that take part in flat racing, the Thoroughbred has been the dominant breed for the last two hundred years thanks to its unparalleled speed and endurance. Some of the greatest flat racers in history were Thoroughbred, such as Man ‘o War and Secretariat.
While most flat race surfaces are made up of short grass, they can vary depending on where the racecourse is. It can also depend on the breed taking part, as some breeds perform better on certain surfaces.
In colder countries that tend to snow often, courses will often be synthetic to disallow them from freezing over and causing the horses to slip. These all-weather surfaces are made up of a mixture of sand and/or rubber and synthetic fibre, and covered by a special type of wax in many cases.
Other Types of Popular Horse Racing
Flat racing is the most followed horse racing in the world, that much is true, but there are other types that have gained massive popularity.
Jump racing is another, and this is where the horses are required to jump over special hurdles. There is also harness racing, where the animal has to wear a harness and pull a sulky.
Horse racing shows no sign of slowing down, and if you’re interested, there has never been a better time to get involved.