Why horses shy and how to appraoch them

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One of the areas in which horses are most often misunderstood, is in the area of shying.

There are four reasons why horses shy: ·

  • Some horses (some bloodlines) are more prone to shying than others – it is a case of breeding and inherent disposition.
  • Too little work and too much energy feed cause excessive playfulness. This is often desirable in certain show horse breeds. Otherwise more work is an obvious solution.
  • Horses might shy deliberately to get the upper hand over the rider – a case of being spoilt.
  • Genuine fear of an object, which might have been caused by an inexperienced trainer.

It should be borne in mind that any foreign object looks scary to a horse. Bear in mind that it is a horse’s natural instinct to flee from danger to protect itself. It always makes good horse sense to give a horse enough time to familiarize itself with anything of which it is frightened. Let the horse get assurance that it is not going to get hurt. Never put pressure on the horse when it is frightened, unless you are sure  that it is only trying to belittle you. This you should be should be very sure of, and inexperienced riders should be very hesitant to force the horse towards the object it fears, since it is more likely than not to aggravate the situation. It can cause permanent distrust between horse and trainer.

Confidence between horse and trainer should be established ON DAY 1. Once a horse has confidence in its trainer, progress is unbelievably fast. As soon as the horse accepts the trainer as his leader, it will “lean on the trainer” for protection and guidance. One gets to a stage where the horse trusts the trainer to the extent where it will almost accept everything the trainer wants to do with it.

This is not done in the way one would establish a relationship with a human. A horse responds to certain techniques and has its own language, which is totally different to that of man. There are various ways (definite techniques) which accomplish this trust. This, and a very broad spectrum on horsemanship, are explained in detail in the very practical manual EASY HORSE.