As equestrians, we expect our horses to perform at their best. We typically help them perform to their full potential by exercising them, catering workouts to meet their particular needs. Obviously, some horses are more talented in certain areas than others, but learning what your horse's strengths and weaknesses are will help you determine what kind of workout they need.
Something that we refer to a lot is transferring your cues to a new cue. What does this mean? How do you do it? It is really very simple! Some things are easier to teach with a direct physical motion as a cue, possibly involving touching your horse to cue a certain behavior or trick. But usually we want our horses to do these things from a more subtle cue. For example, for the trick where the horse shakes their head "no" it can be fun to teach your horse to shake their head when you shake your head. The easiest way to teach this trick however, is to tickle the hair right outside their ear. So how do you get from ear tickling to head shaking?
Part of the dream of horses is sharing a dance with them. A beautiful step towards this dance is the twirl, which can be done in both directions using the human's spin as the cue for the horse's spin. It is a great exercise for reading body language and developing greater communication between horse and human, not to mention it's just plain fun! All our horses absolutely love spinning, and will throw in spins at random if you let them.
There seems to be a growing belief that horses want to be utterly and completely free, without being tethered by a human. Granted, horses would probably be better off without human interference. But that is not a viable option, for we live in a human-made world and it is our responsibility to facilitate the best lives possible for our animals in the world we have created.
Your brain is amazing. Did you know that each half of your brain thinks in a completely different way? The right hemisphere of your brain is the artist, the one that lives in the moment; all that exists is this precise moment. It’s the one that takes all of the sensory input, in the form of different energies, in from your environment, collects this inside of you, and combines it with your own internal energy.
Some horses love playing much more than others. Trubee is one of those horses. Other horses don't really like to play, but love having goals and accomplishing them. Tucker is one of those horses. Then there are horses that are somewhere in between, such as Moxie. So, how does one find a game that engages both types of horses both mentally and physically? How about a ball!
Do you find yourself lost in a field of terms like "liberty", "tackless" and "free riding"? Well we sure do! We know what we think these words mean, so we're going to attempt to stop the confusion right now. Keep in mind that we do not advocate any specific method, though we do strongly encourage everyone to try Clicker Training.
No, I don't mean that we're going to head out and start shooting things. However we will be teaching our horses to take aim! Target training is a great exercise with tons of uses. It's used in the training of virtually all animals that you see trained in this world, including dolphins, dogs, birds, you name it. The concept is what you might call a building block to plenty of other exercises, as well. Not only is this a useful trick, but it is also extremely easy and straightforward to teach.
Ever watch your horse out in the field carrying their head so beautifully, completely on their own? Then you just wonder, "How come they don't do that when I ride them?"