Nothing can prepare you for the challenge of starting your own horse. This may be your first time or your one hundredth time, and one thing you can count on is that every horse will be different.
In this series of blogs we will explain the process our horses go through to help them become fully working animals, that enjoy their job, the rewards of work and who will carefully look after their rider.
The most basic thing you will need to understand is that the horse needs to feel safe and have trust in those working with it. If you can establish this through kindness and patience, the horse will follow your lead, hopefully reacting to new stressful situations positively and carefully, rather than explosively or negatively, causing hurt to itself and those working with the horse.
We have been lucky to own a few of our horses from weaning, but some have come to us literally straight from the fields or mountains, where they have spent 3 years roaming the pasture wild, with little or no human contact. As you can imagine being transported to a new world can be frightening and upsetting for these animals. First job upon arrival is to get a head collar on them with as little fuss as possble. This is important so that we can control the horse safely. It can be a huge test for a wild horse, but with a little kindness, quietness, calm reassurance the collar is on and they can be unloaded from the trailer, and lead to their new home. A clean fresh stable, clean straw and lots of food to nibble on will help them recover from the upset of transportation. It is also a good idea for there to be a friendly neighbour available to keep them company throughout the first night.
So you have managed to safely deposit your new unbroken wild horse into its stable and by now I’m sure you are questioning you sanity! Yes there will be days when you will wonder what have you started. Be confident, be patient, be kind…. Best thing you can do now, is to leave your new horse to settle into its home.
Part one of Breaking a horse will conclude here. Part two will deal with socialsing a horse to our touch and grooming.
There will be regular updates to this blog so please feel free to keep checking in with us. If there is a particular topic you would like us to cover please email firstname.lastname@example.org or like and follow us on Facebook.
August 1st is International Helmet Awareness Day. It’s the day Riders4Helmets started, in the wake of US Olympian Courtney King-Dye’s traumatic brain injury, to raise awareness and promote equestrian helmet use. Helmet retailers join in by giving discounts and tomorrow is the day.
This is the fifth year and every year I write about helmets because it’s so important. Every year, I repeat statistics like this: Equestrians are 20x more likely to sustain an injury than a motorcycle rider or that speed makes no difference. Many brain injuries happen while mounting. Last year I wrote about nearly getting in a bar fight on the topic. Previously, I wrote about a woman I met in a nursing home who haunts me still; she’s living my biggest personal fear. Every year riders who wear helmets cheer this day. Preaching to the choir is easy–and the other side is dug in and…