One of the oldest domesticated animals there is all over the world that is still widely present in our society is the horse. According to scientific researches, Horses (Equus ferus caballus) evolution began around 50 million years ago and thought to have originated in North America that gone extinct about 10,000 years ago and was re-introduced by European during the era of colonization. It was thought to have been domesticated first in Asia around 4000 BC primarily to source for milk and meat that eventually became one of the animals used for transportation.
Today, with all the development of laws and regulations that protect animals from cruelty and the preservation of their natural habitat to avoid extinction and to help maintain the balance of nature, Horses like the other domesticated animals such as dogs, birds and cats had become more of a human partner in fulfilling hobbies, leisure, entertainment and even jobs.
There are about more than 250 breeds of horses. Amongst the top 10 most popular breeds are Warmblood, Paint, Appaloosa, Miniature Horse, Arabian, Quarter Horse, Tennessee Walker, Morgan, Thoroughbred and Andalusian. The fastest and most used horse for horse riding lessons near me includes Appaloosa, Thoroughbreds, Arabian, Quarter Horse, and Standard Bred.
FASTEST HORSE BREEDS
Appaloosa with its unique colorful appearance are known as fast learners and their intelligence, together with their strength, endurance, durability and speed makes them to be most popular across many equine discipline and skills. They are also best choice for children learning horseback riding for their small physique.
Arabian is the best breed when it comes to endurance. They may not be the fastest but they are sure to finish a longer race. They are also known of their intelligence of outsmarting their trainers or riders.
Thoroughbreds are the breeds of horses that are aggressive in competition, being the most popular like they are celebrities in the horse kingdom, this breed of horses are powerful, fast and agile with their slim body and tall stature; they being hot-blooded in nature as well are perfect for racing events.
Quarter Horse is the horse you need to help you with your ranch work, they are also known for lower level jumping and event shows. They are known best for their versatility and adaptability to different temperaments from individual trainers that they encounter.
Standardbred is one of the fastest horses that can also be a man’s best friend. These horses are the friendliest and can excel in all fields as they are an all-round competition.
WHAT IS HORSEMANSHIP?
The art of handling, training and riding a horse is called horsemanship. These are careful process which involves you as the horse trainer to really be patient until you are able to have the horse become submissive to your wishes.
To be able to train your horse properly and enjoy your equestrian career, you may first need to learn the basics of horsemanship training. This includes learning about the characteristics of your horse, the psychological aspects and their behavioral responses to your commands and their environment. You may also want to familiarize yourself with some common horse training tools and equipment to help you with the process.
BEHAVIORAL CHARACTIRISTICS DISTINCT TO HORSES
Every creature in deed was made unique from each other. There might be common features we see with a group of animals and even in humans, but as designed, there will still be something that is distinct about every living thing. And for Horses, the following are what differentiate them from other domesticated animals in the world.
1. HORSES ARE FLIGHT ANIMALS. They are always in defense mode as their safety is their top priority, knowing this, the idea, that even though “horse power” is a strength that may scare you. Dominance over horses is always in your hands with the right mindset.
2. HORSES HAVE THE MOST PERCEPTIVE 5 SENSES. As for their taste, they like sweet and salty. Things become familiar to them with the use of their sense of smell. They are also very sensitive to touch specially on the head area. Their sight is both monocular and binocular that enables them to have more than 300 degrees of vision. And lastly, what regulates their mood is their sense of hearing with their directional ears that is keener than that of what humans have.
3. HORSES ARE THE FASTEST LEARNER AMONG DOMESTICATED SPECIES. The most common ways for horses to be trained accordingly is with the use of “pressure and release”. Your dominance as the trainer is acknowledged by the horse with the use of a certain amount of pressure and for every positive response, the horse is rewarded with some release.
4. THEIR REACTION TIME IS FASTER THAN HUMANS. In comparison to humans, the same as to the horse’s ability to run like hundred times faster than humans, their faster reaction time is undisputable. As claimed earlier, horses have the most perceptive senses among domesticated species all over the world.
5. THE DESENSITIZATION PROCESS SI REPETITIVE. Horses being naturally and instinctively fearful as flight animals, can overcome this issue through repeated techniques of introducing something new to them.
6. HORSES HAVE A VERY HIGH MEMORY RETENTION. Horses are somewhat the type of domesticated animals who “forgive but do not forget”. So be careful of how you treat your horse. Unlike dogs, and cats, horses do not rationalize, it is not curious as the other animals. Hence you need more patience to have your horse get used to something you wanted done.
7. HORSES FOLLOW A GOOD LEADER. As though horses are easily dominated, your training sessions will be a lot easier and faster if you are assertive in your training strategies. Horses will not forget any cruelty induced to them, so don’t be aggressive.
8. HORSES USES BODY LANGUAGE TO CONVEY SOMETHING. You as the trainer must be aware of these body languages that horses do. For instance, an elevated head indicates a flight position, while a bowed down head implies vulnerability and submission.
9. HORSES ARE SOCIAL ANIMALS. If you ever wanted to have friend other than humans, then a horse is one of your best option. Horses are very much attached to establishing friendship with the right trainer. And they also display sadness at instances that they lost a friend.
10. HORSES DO HAVE PRIORITIES WHEN TRAINED. As a trainer, you must take into consideration the things that matters most to horses for them to trust you. First, horses gives so much importance with their safety, their instincts will help them determine this. Second, horses want to feel comfort. Third, horses are like children that also need to play. And lastly, they must always be satisfied with their food. Horses can consume around 25 gallons of water or more each day and can eat 7 times their weight in a year.
NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP TRAINING 101: THE BASIC APPROACH
When we talk about being natural, this involves the different aspects of the totality of our being and so as with the horses’ entity. Our environment setting, physical state, emotional condition, and most importantly our psychological or mental stature plays a vital role in succeeding our goals in life. Hence we are to take in high regard or consideration our own capability to influence our subject to be submissive of our intent for their own good and benefit as well.
If you are a bit confused of your capabilities to horseback riding and natural horsemanship training, here are some of the basics I have listed for your reference;
1. APPROACH AND RETREAT
This is the process where the horse builds the confidence needed to be trained. Like an infant having his or her first bath, we dip the baby’s body into a luke-warm water in a slow and step by step process until it gets into his or her system and recognize it as something comforting and relaxing. The same thing happens with training horses, you have to introduce something new to them in a timely manner, constantly repeating procedures until their bodies become familiar to it and eventually makes them comfortable. Always remember that horses are flight animals. Their tendencies to run are very typical if you scare them, and everything that is new to them actually scares them. This process applies to all skills you wanted to obtain with your horse. Just imagine yourself taking care and educating your own child.
2. PRESSURE AND RELEASE
This technique of pressure and release to horses sounds simple but can be hard in the actual application. To better understand, put in mind that in order for your horse to follow instruction, it is again very important to consider the timing, if your horse doesn’t follow, say for example you wanted to move him or her in a new quadrant, you can apply pressure by pulling the rope attached to your horse then release it after every positive reaction made. The pressure and release applied to every reaction must be exact to the timing needed; otherwise your horse might learn a different interpretation of what you actually are teaching him or her to do.
3. REWARDS AND CONSEQUENCES
Imagine yourself as a child being tasked to do something, remember your parents giving you gifts as rewards for your obedience and giving you certain punishments for doing the wrong way? They as well based this on what are your likes and dislikes. Same principle of discipline applies in educating your horse. Learn what motivates your horse. There should be something that you can use to let your horse identify what is right and wrong with every action and reaction made and choosing this must always conform to what really matters and what is natural to their characteristics as animals. Perhaps giving your horse a bite of his or her favorite food and a lovingly touch on his head to recognize and acknowledge a positive behavior expressed, and immediately tapping your horse’ with a stick and pushing your horse away if he had stepped on your foot making your horse know immediately that what he or she did was bad.
This is the process whereby your horse learn to act as normal as he or she could be in his or her natural environment. The presence of other animals, say for instance in your barnyard would trigger the fear within your horse and can make reactions that may put all your other animals and even you in danger. Remember that horses are extremely fast to react and are fearful to almost everything that is why at birth, as foals, they must already be trained as early in as 3 to 5 days especially to the acceptance of their environment and the existence of other natural things that may occur in their lifetime. To do this, you may use objects that may represent other animals that may just appear in any direction. The horse’s viewpoint is to be considered, so you may want to fly around a piece of paper, a plastic or a cloth around his vision and taking it away with the constant integration of other basic processes such as the rewards given for a good reaction made. Perhaps, you can also integrate talking with different variations of your voice in addition to your rewards and consequences while in training.
5. FOUNDATION TRAINING
Like every one of us, we have our own kind of foundation growing up that made us who we are today. Our foundation during our childhood is very important in our ways of making decisions in our daily life. The same thing is with the horses. They needed a good foundation of basic skills before we try to level-up their performance. We as humans passes pre-school, grade school, high school, and/or some university degrees before we can ever say we are skilled in performing our jobs. And admit it or not, we have gone through every hardships on all that, and we learned patience to be one key to success. The horses being social and emotional animals, are also experiencing the stress in their “growing up” and training period, And that is why the most important thing to build in this foundation when speaking of horses is the trust they have in you as their trainer. Just always remember what are the horses’ priority; Safety, Comfort, Play and Food. By satisfying these, you are on your next moves.
HORSE BACK RIDING LESSONS
No matter what will your goal be, to succeed in a race, be popular on a show, or make your job easier, Horseback riding is the most common skill that every horse rider enthusiast must acquire. You as the trainer or rider must also be trained on the proper way to ride a horse. Some of the proven techniques in making your first ride a success includes but not limited to the following;
1. Preparation is the key. Getting your horse and yourself equipped and ready for a ride is always the most important of all horse riding lessons to remember. Make sure you have all your safety gears on, the use helmet is critical for your safety, and always wear the most appropriate clothes. A tight fitting jeans and booths are recommended.
2. Tack up your horse. It is very important as well to perform tacking of your horse with all the necessary equipment that will make your riding a success. Make sure to properly install and fit all tack and equipment to your horse avoiding loose parts, be mindful that saddles must perfectly fit both the horse and the rider. Prevention is better than cure. Always consider you and your horse’ safety. Besides the saddle, other equipment you need to check are the following;
- Girth is an adjustable leather strap that goes around the horse’s abdomen and connects the saddle to the horse.
- Bridle is a piece of leather that goes over the horse’s face.
- Bit is a metal bar that goes in the horse’s mouth then connects to the bridle. Applying Pressure on the bit is a way for the horse to know your nonverbal commands.
- Reins arte the leather straps the rider holds in their hands, these are connected to the bit. Pulling on these is another way to communicate to the horse, like if you are to change your direction.
3. Get to know the horse. As previously told, horses are very keen, fearful, and are a flight animal and you must first gain their trust by following the previously tackled techniques and processes. It may take time but it’s all worth it.
4. It is accustomed to mount or ride from a horse’s left side. Place your left foot in the stirrup, pull yourself up, and then swing your right leg over. Your trainer most often than not can help get you up and over if riding is all new to you. You can also mount on the right, but it will always be best to follow what has been practiced all the time before fancying on new techniques.
5. Practice the proper riding posture. Depends on how you wanted to perform with your horse, there are different kinds of sitting posture that can be applicable for your specific reason of use;
- Hunter Posture. This posture comes from the English tradition of fox hunting while on horseback. Sit up straight in the saddle, and lean slightly forward. You’re riding in a posture with the possibility that you’ll eventually go over jumps. Hold a rein in each hand down by the saddle pad on each side of the front of the saddle.
- Western Posture. Sit straight up and hold the reins in one hand up by your hip bone. When you want to turn, you’ll move that one hand left or right.
- Saddle seat Posture. Sit straight, almost leaning a bit back to get off of the horse’s shoulders. This style is done with trotting breeds, Wooten says, to emphasize how pretty the horse trots. The hands are held up high, almost near the chest.
6. Balancing is also an important ingredient in a successful horse riding experience. To learn balance in riding a horse you must do this frequently, if you are not able to have a good schedule, you can use a balancing ball, sit on it and try balancing yourself.
7. Always relax yourself and avoid panic or be overly excited. Once you have rode your horse, let your trainer walk you around and slowly having to walk your horse on your own until you learn to stop the horse and continue to an advanced throttle.
8. Repeat your riding activity at least twice a week at the start of your horseback riding lessons to familiarize your own body with horse’s movement.
THE COMMON THINGS NEEDED IN HORSEMANSHIP TRAINING
There is various equipment that you need to have for both you and your horse before starting a horseback riding lesson. And knowing these in advance may help you better understand and apply the proper usage of it. Take a look at this image that shows a properly equipped equine
Figure 1 : illustration of the horse tack and equipment uses from Flipkart
Proper installation of the tack and equipment used in horse riding is very important to ensure your safety. If you are not sure on how to install it or you are new to this activity, it is always best to consult a professional first.
There are many available resources that can help you understand more about getting success in natural horsemanship training and there are highly qualified and expert horse trainer near me and your area that are to offer their help in this venture. Find your horse expert now!
There are also a bunch of credible centers and stables around that offers a great service and a place where you can have enough space to perform your lessons and trainings in horsemanship, and meet new friends with the same interests with horses while enjoying beautiful scenery and other leisure attractions. Locate the best stables and horse businesses to visit now!
HORSE TRAINERS NEAR ME
To help you more in your search to getting the best result in mastering horse riding lessons. Here are a few top-rated horse trainers near me;
“Hi, my name is Sherette Peltz and I’m one of the top trainers in Pinellas County and work primarily out of Calypso Bay Stables ( calypsobaystables.net ). I have 22 yrs experience with horses and started riding English at age 8.”.
“If you are interested in improving your working relationship with your Equine partner I offer Riding Instruction at your facility, Show & Rodeo coaching as well as tune ups. 24 years experience. “
“We provide safe and professionally trained horses to provide riding instruction for beginner riders to Grand Prix show jumpers and Hunter riders. We provide lessons, trials, show experience, hunter paces and Fox Hunts. “
“ Happy Trails promotes reading and writing through equine related learning of horsemanship skills. The students progress at their own pace through lessons covering safety, ground work that includes haltering,grooming, leading and lunging. As the skills are mastered , they progress to cart driving and riding.”
“ Sarahjoy has been teaching students of all ages how to ride horses for over 25 years. Beginners to advanced levels welcome.”
Natural horsemanship training always requires professional intervention. It is strongly advised to seek experts near you to discuss more this matter and save yourself more time and effort doing it on your own. This is a skill that is established and developed over time, and learning insights from expert’s own experiences may greatly help you succeed this goal of being a skilled equestrian as well.