1. All work and no plays makes Jack a dull boy
Hopefully, we will not be witnessing another event like that in The Shining, but it is an accurate statement nonetheless.
If all we do with our horse is the basic care routine and work, we miss the opportunities to create bonds based on affection. In affect, we become boring, with our horses become bored with our routine,- to the point they may try to avoid it altogether.
2. Allowing your horse to set the rules
A horse that has to step up as the alpha when they are with us results in the loss of respect for us. Politely reinforcing discipline through our activities will allow us to identify and settle leadership challenges.
3. Not releasing the pressure
Have you ever had someone keep pushing and pushing and pushing til you want to scream “enough”? Our horses learn to seek release from our aids (pressure), but get easily confused and frustrated when we don’t apply the release correctly or at all.
4. Hurting, bullying or scaring our horse
It may seem logical, but it is still done these days. A horse will not bond with you and become your willing work partner if you hurt it or chase it around the yard with a flag on a stick. They may eventually learn to obey you, but they never become your partner, only your tool. These types of horses may become dangerous and eventually euthanased.
5. Letting them deal with their own emotional crisis
In this case, we are talking about sudden causes of anxiety, not social interactions.
When your horse is faced with something terrifying, and we step up as the leader to show them how to work through those emotions, we take the opportunity to prove ourselves to our horse. If we leave it to our horses how best to figure it out, well, most of the time they way they deal isn’t the way we want them to.
6. Pushing the pace too fast - or too slow
Our horses are all uniquely different, in shape, size, colour but also personality and learning capabilities. This means that we cannot expect our horses to all grow and develop in the same way.
When we force our horses to try to learn something new too fast, we create stress and anxiety that is not conducive to stabilising our relationship. If we go to slow, we may create frustrations. It is key that we adjust our training pace and activities to each of our horses development.
7. Neglecting to properly fit tack or address pain issues
Pain is an unpleasant experience that many of our horses experience at one time or another. When we are the cause of that pain, either via using poorly fitted tack, or working their body incorrectly, or even working them when they have a brewing hoof abscess, our horses begin to associate us with the pain - and believe me, that is not a positive bonding thought.