Troxel Blog

#7 Dealing With an Uncooperative Horse

"Getting started, keeping going, getting started again in art and in life, it seems to me this is the essential rhythm."  Seamus Heaney

Ah, horses. My lesson horse Libby was not a very happy camper today. When I went to put her bridle on she tried to bite me! I think she instinctively knew I was starting to feel comfortable around her and wanted to test me. For a person with a secret fear of horses, one little bite is all it takes to set you right back into that fearful place. After the biting incident, I calmly sprinted out of the stall. My trainer Sally came to my rescue and explained that Libby was probably a little tired from already having a lesson that day and she wasn’t very pleased to have to leave her food and go ride (this I can understand, take me away from food and you might get bitten too). Sally explained that you have to establish who is boss with the horse with firm reminders to gain a mutual respect.

For today’s lesson, I continued to work on my posting trot. However, Libby was not in the mood to trot. Every time I cued her to trot she would adamantly pin her ears back and eventually give in.

I also worked on going the opposite way on the lunge line, which was very confusing because you have to do everything on a different side. I was reminded to relax and go with the flow, a piece of advice we could all use. If only Libby could understand that piece of advice, today would have been a lot smoother.

Capturing exactly how I was feeling So, my important safety lesson of the day is to understand how to read your horse's body language to build trust and enhance positive communication.

What do you recommend when your horse is in an uncooperative mood? Leave me a comment!

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