Those learning how to be a horse trainer are likely seeking out the best places for knowledge and getting training from excellent horse trainers. The best tip, though, for new trainers may be found in a simple philosophy: knowing when the right time is to quit.
Working with Horses
Horses are intelligent animals who work to please their trainer. They are like human children, though, in that they can only learn so much at one time. Just like one wouldn’t give children the entire multiplication table and expect them to memorize it in one day, horses can only be taught so much per session. Keeping lessons short will help horses to retain what they have learned.
Starting Each Session
It’s important to begin each training session positively. Working with each horse will help trainers know when to push and when to let up. While it’s important to push hard enough and have high expectations, a trainer needs to know when to let up so that a horse doesn’t feel frustrated and overwhelmed.
Signs a Horse Needs a Break
When working with horses, it’s important to learn the signs of when a horse needs a break to prevent them from feeling frustrated. Some signs to look for include:
- Combativeness: a horse may begin to fight back against the trainer
- Attitude: a horse that is acting lethargic or dull rather than energetic and perky is probably not ready to train
- Exhaustion: a horse that is exhausted by the end of a session has likely been pushed too hard
- Soreness: a horse that walks stiffly or is sore to the touch was probably overtrained in a previous session
Ending on a Good Note
Many trainers think that the best place to end a session is when a horse has perfected a skill. This isn’t necessarily the case. Often the best time to end a session is when a horse has performed a skill partially. For example, a teacher doesn’t expect her pupils to get every single math problem correct during a lesson. A teacher cheers success when a student understands a single concept or gets one problem correct. The same should go with horses. Praise their work but don’t force them to repeat skills while demanding perfection. This can frustrate a horse and make them less likely to want to try it again.
Becoming a horse trainer is an incredibly rewarding experience. Learning how to best work with a horse, having high expectations, and learning when to quit will lead to a good horse-trainer relationship for many years to come.