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Identifying Equine Behavior Problems

There are a lot of variables that go into figuring out how what's going on with our equine partners. Always remember horses, ponies and humans have brains and bodies, not motors and metal!

A few things to take into consideration when you run into unfavorable behavior with your horse or pony.

1) Is the rider sending mixed or confusing signals? Are they remembering to release and give their horse or pony credit when they do the right thing? Are they squeezing and tense with their body? Are they melting into their saddle during turns and stops or coming up over the saddle? Are they leaning? Are they bracing with their legs or arms?

2) Have you taken a good look at your horse or ponies legs and body recently. Is there puffiness anywhere? Have you ran your hands across their muscles with some pressure to see if they react to any pain points? Have you tested their hooves for pain and had them taken care of regularly?

3) Does your tack fit and function like it should? Is your bit hanging out of their mouth or snugged up too tight? Is your saddle pinching them? Are they getting sores in strange places?

4) Is your bit centuries old and have burrs on it causing pinching, cutting or piercing? Is your saddle pad compressed at the withers? Is the padding in your overreach boots worn out?

5) Is your rider trying to accomplish something they don't have the tools to accomplish yet? Are you expecting the rider to train a ride a horse that doesn't have the education to do what they're asking? Are you expecting your horse or pony to know things they don't know?

6) Is your rider scared, anxious or fearful? Is he or she scared of their equine partner? Are they afraid of what other people might think? Are they worried what their parents are going to say when they get back to the trailer?

7) Do you need lessons? The best riders and trainers work together and ask lots of questions, never assuming that they have all the answers.


8) Is your horse or pony getting enough or too much feed? Just like in humans, we can be "hangry" when we're underfed and crazy when we're overfed.

9) Are you spending enough time riding your horse or pony? Are they in good enough shape to do the tasks you're asking them to complete? Are you putting in the time to create the relationship and understanding of the tasks at hand?

10) Are you focused on things other than your horse or pony when you're riding? Is your equine partner not experienced enough to be able to eliminate distractions? Who or what is the distraction and why?

If some of these questions are ringing a bell, but you aren't sure what the next step is, give us a call! We're here to help and assist you. If it's a coaching call over the phone, helping your find lessons nearby, or figuring our better gear, we're here to help!

(641) 799-5042

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