Is Your Horse Happy?
Each of us have plans and goals for our equine partnership, but what about the horse? The horse's primary goal in life is simply to be happy. Have you ever taken the time to investigate and find out what it is that makes your horse happy? Is it going fast running barrels? Jumping? Hacking on the trail? Or maybe going slowly around the arena while you chat with friends? Like us, every horse is different in what makes them happy. Still, there are several things that all horses share when it comes to their happiness.
*Feeling Safe - Horses are herd animals by nature, and in being so, they feel much safer and more relaxed when surrounded by friends, preferably other horses.
*Clear Boundaries - Too often we as handlers are unclear to our horse about what they can and cannot do. We must be intentional about creating boundaries AND enforcing them. The boundaries we set need to be consistent between handlers as well. It is unfair to the horse if each person handling them has a different set of rules. This only confuses the horse.
*Consistency - If you watch a herd of horses interact you will notice that each horse maintains a constant place in the hierarchy. There are always challenges amongst herd mates, but they are responded to with consistency. We are responsible for being just as consistent with our expectations and discipline for the horse.
*Being Real - Our horses are not concerned with with wether we are riding alone, with an instructor or in front of a judge. They want us to ride the same today as we did yesterday and will tomorrow. The best thing we can do for our horses is to be just
who we are.
So, what makes your horse happy? Keep these things in mind the next time you head to the barn and put a smile on your horse's face. Enjoy the partnership!