Young horses require a lot of training. They are willing to learn and love to receive praise. Most horses learn quickly and are happy to perform what is asked from them. How do you make sure that your training is pleasant, effective and as trouble free as possible?
When you teach your horse a new exercise, remember that he does not understand what you are asking for. Therefore it is important to reward him for everything he does right. Ask him to perform a task and immediately reward him when he attempts this. Never punish him if he does not get it right and be patient!
Tip 1 - The first time he will not get it 100% right, reward nonetheless for his attempt. He will then be more willing to try for you next time. The second time will be better, and the third the best. Always reward the efforts.
He will at first not be strong enough to continually perform this task this until you reach perfection. Here it is important to remember that other exercises can help build up strength, but too much practise will cause fatigue and make it more difficult for him, thus causing resistance.
Tip 2 - For example, if teaching how to rein back, perform for just a few steps. Repeat up to but not more than three times. After a small break, like walking a few circles, repeat three more times.
Vary your training. His whole body needs to develop strength. A range of different training helps all the right muscles build up strength and mass.
Tip 3 - Plan a program. For example you could do long, low work two days per week. Incorporate trot poles another day. Fitness training (lots of trot and canter) on yet another - riding out is good and provides a change of scenery. Only one day per week do your specific disciplines training.
Building up new muscles can cause tension and fatigue. Relieve this by performing active gymnastics exercises and stretches to help relieve tension and restore good muscle function.
Tip 4 - Stretch the ‘most used’ muscles after each workout. These will vary with your program.
If you are unsure, progress cautiously. Horses learn more quickly than their bodies adjust. This will help reduce fatigue and thus resistance. Resistance causes anxiety. I also recommend regular massage when building up fitness and muscle.
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