How do you get a horse to respect you ?

*clears throat*

Attention readers !

The following lines are some well thought out rants. If you wish to skip to the original content, I don’t blame you, please do.

Sometimes, that one horse I ride on is a real pain in the posterior. Right when I approach the stables, it’s like he is aware of how bad a “try hard” rider I am. Thus, arrive those long spells of ultimate sass that Bullet throws at me. And, there I am yanking the living baloney out of the lead ropes, but my horse is as unassailable as the North Star.  My horse gnaws at the hay, oblivious to my presence. Several inept attempts give birth to yet another one backed by false hope. And thus, I resort to other means. I cluck..

like a chicken.

With my heart sinking at receiving no respect, my tongue beatboxing away with the clucks, my muscles fibers tearing away at each other, my arms flailing the lead ropes around, the “try hard” sweat oozing its way down my torso, and my horse just in the same position as it were thirty minutes ago, my instructor arrives and says this:

“You sure you can ride? it’s a Stallion. Not a Chihuahua.”

And almost magically and instantly, my horse transitions into motion, well aware of my instructor’s presence.

And now the content:

What does it take to get a horse to respect you  ?

Ans : Cowboy up !

It takes a jiffy for a seasoned horse to judge the rider’s expertise. So, if you are not firm with your horse, the horse might take you for a ride. In order to earn respect, it’s of paramount importance to foster trust between you and your horse. If the horse gets the slightest vibes of discomfort, or hesitancy from you, it might act indifferent to your cues and commands.

You need to keep the horse aware of your presence at all times. Thus, the establishment of this mutual respect begins at the stable. When you lead your horse to the cross ties, you walk ahead of the horse. This helps you establish dominance over the creature. If your horse walks at a pace faster than yours, your not doing it right. The horse’s ears must be aligned with your arm. If your horse doesn’t respect the pace you walk at, you need to immediately stop the horse. This way, you assert your dominance. You’re the one gripping the reins. Bullet often tries to encroach my safe space when I lead him to the cross ties. Every time he makes inept attempts to bury his head into my torso, or come too close to me, I gently tug the lead rope attached to his chin away to insinuate that he’s invading my personal space.

Amidst the long process of grooming your horse, you constantly need to rub your hands along the coat of your horse to make your presence perceptible.

Riding involves a negative and a positive reinforcements. Just a lot like our brains, horses are equipped with a positive response to the reward system. Well, most of them. Demanding compliance from your horse is the right kind of balance between a positive way of demanding respect and a negative way of the same.  When a horse remains stoic despite three squeezes in a row that command a “trot”, you jab your spurs into the horse. Spurs and whips are a part of horse training. They help instill obedience in the creature. When you’re an amateur rider, you do have second thoughts about spurring your horse, or kicking it. However, if your horse does not respect you in the first quarter, it’s most likely to not respect you throughout the riding session. I speak with experience.

You could also give into other methods of rewards. When your horse respects yours cues, and executes them well, that chap deserves a pat on the neck. And not just that, it also deserves some bright, freshly harvested carrots back in the stable.

Repetitions help horses learn. Never let your horse get loose.

You could lose your respect if your horse obeys cues, and you don’t give the horse a “release”, or you don’t loosen your hold over the reins.

The 4 Quadrants of the horse are Head, Shoulders, Hips, and Feet. If you can consistently take control of all 4 Quadrants, you gain control of him and he’ll respect you for that. That’s because he’ll need to submit control of his body to you and submission means a responsive, respectful horse that keeps you safe.

So ride safe !

Bullet’s sass moments are on as usual. He doesn’t like being photographed.