For a long time, the horse has accompanied a person, serving him not only as a means of transportation but also as a source of food. Now, these graceful animals are mainly used in sports and for organizing leisure.
Even experienced horse breeders experience difficulties in raising and training horses, what can we say about beginners. Horses have a very sensitive nervous system and are able to catch the slightest changes in the owner’s mood.
You cannot intimidate or force a horse to do anything. With this approach, she will at any time try to take revenge on the offender or evade her unloved work.
However, if you make some effort and have patience, you can make loyal and reliable friends of these animals, who are capable of a lot for the sake of their master. A kind attitude to the animal and constant work in training is the key to successful communication with your four-legged pet. In the following, we’ll cover the basic principles of horse training and look at some aspects of this complex and time-consuming process.
Do You Need Training?
Any pet needs attention and care from the owner. And the smarter your pet is, the more time it requires to devote to it. In addition, the horses’ large size and strength present their owners with the daunting task of controlling them.
It is competent training and training that allow you to establish contact with the animal and lead it to obedience. In addition, when you have such a quick-witted pet, it is a sin not to take full advantage of its physical and mental abilities.
Of course, the training process is not easy and requires from the breeder not only certain skills and knowledge but also a lot of patience and time. However, sparing no effort at this stage, as a result, you will get a devoted and intelligent friend who understands you almost without words!
If you do not engage with a horse and do not teach it from an early age to elementary commands, as it grows and grows physically it will become more and more unpredictable and capricious, and, taking into account its considerable size and remarkable physical strength, it will be very difficult to restrain it … In addition, an untrained horse can pose a serious danger not only to its owner but also to those around him.
Regular training with a specific system is also beneficial for the following reasons:
- training helps to develop the physical characteristics of the horse. These initially strong animals, with a competent approach to physical activity, are able to achieve incredible physical condition. Trained horses are much faster, stronger, more agile, and more enduring than their untrained fellow tribesmen. In addition, experts note that animals with whom they regularly exercise, get sick much less often than their sedentary counterparts, and in general have better immunity;
- training helps to establish psychological contact between the pet and the owner. For many horse breeders, this factor becomes decisive. The thing is that many of us, approaching a larger animal than ourselves, experience psychological discomfort, apprehension, or even fear. Exercising regularly for an extended period of time can help relieve feelings of insecurity and provide an opportunity to feel some kind of spiritual connection with your animal.
If everything is done correctly and according to a pre-planned program, then in a year you and your horse will understand each other without words. Only in the cinema does a dashing rider grab the first horse he comes across and, jumping into the saddle, instantly tames him. In reality, this takes much more time and labor. It takes a lot of effort and time to make the animal feel your leadership without causing fear or dislike in it.
The sensitivity of the horse allows it to accurately determine the attitude of a person to himself, and she also responds to aggression with aggression, and on her part, it is very dangerous. Equal and friendly participation, combined with an unyielding insistence on obedience – these are the qualities that are necessary for a good horse owner.
- with the help of competent training, you can significantly improve the quality characteristics not only of a particular horse but of the entire breed as a whole. Professional training is mandatory for all breeding and thoroughbred horses. Over time, the acquired skills are inherited and consolidated, therefore, the purer the breed of the animal, the easier and faster it lends itself to learning;
- well, and most importantly. Without a specific training cycle, riding a horse is impossible in principle – neither on horseback nor in harness. The animal must first be taught to harness or harness, as well as to a rider or cart. Teaching these freedom-loving pets to carry ammunition and obey someone is quite difficult.
Existing Areas of Training
You can teach this clever creature of nature almost everything (within reasonable limits, of course). Circus horses and horses performing in dressage show truly miracles of coordination and obedience. However, teaching the animal everything at once is impractical.
Depending on the intended use and innate characteristics, certain training directions are chosen.
Already at the time of purchase, each owner must clearly understand why he needs a horse and how he is going to use it in the future. In addition, if you purchase an already adult animal, it has already been trained at a stud farm or at a breeding farm. This prior training is called factory training.
The essence of factory training is that, after weaning, foals are immediately trained using various group methods. This is necessary in order for the young to develop correctly from the physical side, get used to constant contact with people, is not afraid of them, does not show aggression, and is stable from a psychological point of view.
As a rule, horses end up in private hands or in equestrian clubs and schools at the age of one and a half to two years. It is at this time that their individual training begins, which depends on their planned use.
Experts identify the following main areas of horse training, depending on the breed, individual qualities, and character of these animals:
Training of trotting horses. The essence of this technique exercises in which there is a constant alternation of such gaits as step and trot, and at different speeds, which are called trot, swing, and sweep. The beginning and end of a workout is a step movement. Trials of trotting horses take place at racetracks, using a special running harness and a special type of vehicle called a rocking chair.
The main goal of this training direction is to consolidate the trot as the main gait, to identify the speed abilities of each specific individual, and to prepare it for professional competitions – running.
- racing training. The main goal is to maximize the development of such qualities as agility and endurance. During one training session, the animal moves with all three basic gaits – step, trot, and gallop. The main thing is to achieve from the horse a stable and fast frisky gallop, which the specialists call a career.
Usually, the animal is allowed into the quarry at the end of the training, and the distance of the training run with such a gait is from five hundred meters to two kilometers. Basically, training takes place all the time from October to April, since in the period from May to September, as a rule, various competitions are held, for which the horses are prepared. There are several types of races – smooth (for short and medium distances) and obstacle races (with barriers and steeplechase). In the second case, training includes jumping exercises.
- training an animal for a long run. Long-distance racing is a very serious challenge for both man and horse. Only the strongest, strongest and healthiest horses are allowed to take part in such competitions. Most often, horses are selected for such races based on the results of short-distance races.
If in a sprint an animal takes prizes, bypassing rivals, this means that it has a healthy heart and everything is in order with its respiratory organs. If the horse, during short races, constantly comes in last and feels very tired, then at longer distances there is simply nothing to do.
The main goal of training after preliminary selection is the development of the so-called speed endurance, or, in other words, the ability to maintain a high pace of running for a long time. Basically, preparation for long races consists of constant walking and trotting exercises. For example, in each training session, the horse should move only at a step for two and a half hours, preferably over rough terrain.
- jumping training. There is such an equestrian discipline as show jumping. Its essence lies in the fact that a horse with a rider on his back must overcome obstacles of different heights and of different widths in a limited space.
In addition, jumping is important in hurdling, steeplechase (horse racing with fixed obstacles, both high and wide), and in triathlon (one type of competition – three disciplines at once: dressage (“horse ballet”), show jumping, and steeplechase). The training is aimed at developing jumping ability, not only in height but also in length.
I usually start with obstacles (poles or logs) lying on the ground, which the horse steps over with the person on its back. Gradually, the height and width increase and the horse is forced not to step over, but to jump over the obstacles artificially created at a distance.
- dressage. The task of training in this direction is to teach the animal to perform movements that are unnatural for it in real life (jumping in place, crossing the legs while walking, pirouettes, and so on). There are many techniques, and we will not describe them. Let’s just say that “horse ballet”, as this equestrian sport discipline is often called, requires the highest level of understanding between horse and rider;
- training for heavy draft breeds. The main goal is to maximize the traction and traction endurance of the harness horse. Horses begin to train with small weights, over time, constantly increasing the weight of the load. In addition, during training, the speed of movement is also changed – they begin with a step, then move to trot. Maximum weight training should be done no more than once or twice a week. Heavy horses begin to train from the age of four, and not earlier.
For example, an example exercise sequence for one training session of a one and a half-year-old foal might be as follows:
- Step – from eight to ten minutes;
- Jogging at a trot – 15 to 25 minutes;
- Step again – within five minutes;
- Canter run (a type of gait similar to a gallop, but slower) – 1,000-1,400 meters;
- Step – from twenty minutes to half an hour.
In total, one horse training takes about an hour.
Below we would like to give some simple tips that should help you with your workouts:
- try not to overload the animal (especially the young one);
- the optimal time for one workout at the initial stage is 45 minutes. Experts believe that the horse cannot maintain concentration and follow commands longer. More trained individuals can work longer;
- training should take place according to a specific system, and not spontaneously, so plan each workout in advance. Horses get used to a pre-prepared and constantly repeated order of actions well;
- always end your workout with a step. Lead the animal on the bit, let it calm down and dry. You can give him a treat as a reward for a good job. This will allow the horse to understand that training is not a punishment, and he will not resist them in the future.
But the main advice – do not hesitate to ask the professionals for help. To train a horse is not an easy task, but to retrain by correcting mistakes made by an inexperienced person is very difficult at all (sometimes it is impossible at all).
Therefore, until you feel that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to the fullest, use the services of an experienced coach.