A couple of months ago I wrote about horses with tension and how it can affect the horse and the training process. This month I want to offer a few suggestions to help the horse relax even when they get stressed out. One of the biggest sources of tension is anxiety, and more specifically the horse’s inability to deal with anxiety. Anxiety is a sincere emotion and I know many, many horses that are often overwhelmed by it. It can stem from a variety of places but where it comes from is less important that helping the horse deal with it. Continue reading
The weather over the past month or so has as we all know been terrible. When I was younger and hardier I was happy enough to ride in all kinds of weather. Well if the truth be told I have made my living riding for a long time and maybe I felt more obligated to ride rather than happy to ride. Now I am a bit older and have become more of a fair weather rider. Or at least I am not an extreme weather rider. I used to have a cut off point at -25 degrees. I would use a hair drier to warm up the bit before I put it in the horse’s mouth. I would ride in insulated coveralls, felt pack boots, deerskin mittens, a sheepskin hat and ski goggles. I am sure I was a sight to see.
Tension in horses can lead to all kinds of problems and hinder the horse’s ability to learn. Some horses are so tense and stiff that they are incapable of many of the maneuvers we ask of them. This can lead to frustration and anxiety that just lead to more tension.
Tension can come in many forms, physical stiffness throughout the body, choppy reactive movement and explosive behavior. Continue reading