However you came about horse ownership, you likely have some goals in mind for you and your horse. Whether you have your sights set on a competition or simply a peaceful ride out on the local trails, a good ride is founded on harmony with your horse.
Harmony in horsemanship isn’t some elusive concept that we chase. You can actually achieve harmony and build on it daily with your horse. Read on for tips to make your future rides your best yet.
Work From the Ground Up
Legendary basketball player Michael Jordan said, “Get the fundamentals down, and the level of everything you do will rise.” This is equally true in horsemanship as it is in basketball. In order to develop a rock-solid partnership in the saddle, you will need to develop that rapport on the ground.
Spend some time daily teaching your horse to be a good partner while you also build his trust in you as his leader. You may feel like you’re going backwards doing groundwork, but we assure you that all this work will translate to the quality of your ride.
Understand Your Horse’s Perspective
Horses are wired as flight animals to act like prey. The work we do here helps them learn to become partners, but it doesn’t happen overnight. You can help your horse learn more quickly when you understand his perspective.
Most horses will object to obstacles or tasks in the human-equine partnership out of either fear, dominance, or confusion. Check out this article on determining the root of your horse’s Opposition Reflex to better help him overcome his struggles on the ground.
Build the Same Rapport in the Saddle
Horses are creatures of habits, and they thrive on pattern recognition. You can use this to your advantage when bridging the gap between harmony on the ground to harmony in the saddle.
Use the same routines from non-riding days to springboard you into a positive riding routine. Positive handling and grooming routines can lead fluidly into positive tack-up and mounting routines.
In the same manner, you can use the same tools of approaching stressful stimuli on the ground in the saddle. Because your horse has already learned to trust you with this exercise on the ground, he’ll likely be more amenable to overcome similar fears in the saddle with ease.
As you become a better leader and establish better partnership behavior in your horse, you’ll be able to recognize your horse’s triggers and facilitate a problem-solving attitude more quickly.
Learn From the Expert
Harmony in the saddle comes down to two things: an understanding of equine psychology, and applied habits and skills. In the Ride Out video in the Ultimate Horse Behavior Series, Pat Parelli focuses on the habits and skills that you and your horse needs to have harmony in the arena and out on the trail.
This series of videos will help you build positive patterns with barn manners, trailer loading, and riding. These are not just partnership tips focusing on technique but applied horse psychology for understanding your horse's nature. Learn to feel, think, act, and play from your horse’s perspective for a more effective partnership with your horse.
These videos are on PRESALE NOW! They will be available on DVD or USB flash drive. Shipping in November.