Of course you want to end every training session with your horse as successfully as possible. But sometimes a chaotic start to a training session can affect how well you are able to finish the session. Below we will give you some tips to ensure you are well prepared for your training. Because you know what they say; proper preparation makes perfect!
- Make sure you have enough time. Horses do not understand the principle of haste. They have no idea at the start of the training what it is you hope to achieve in that session or when you are ‘done’ with the session. They can only rely on what you tell them. If you think you need fifteen minutes, it often takes all day. If you think you need all day, it takes fifteen minutes!
- Set yourself and your horse up for success. Don’t set unrealistic goals in your training and take small steps. With horses, doing five short training sessions in one day that you finish successfully each time, is often better than one long training session where you try to achieve a very high goal. A horse learns through repetition. So try to make it as easy as possible for your horse to do the right thing.
- Be prepared. This may speak for itself, but we often see that too little time is taken for this. Consider in advance which exercises you want to do (and why!) and have your materials ready. This ensures a smooth continuation of your session. It also allows you stay fully focused on your horse and not have to interrupt your training halfway through.
- Start as open-minded as possible. The horse has no idea what your desired end result is. They live in the here and now, and only react to their environment and to what you tell them. During your training, always keep reading what your horse is trying to tell you and adjust your goals accordingly. So definitely think about a training plan beforehand, but don’t fall in love with it!
- First explore the grounds with your horse. A horse that has already explored the space is less likely to be startled by the environment. This will hopefully allow you to start your training with a horse that is well focused on you.
- Make sure your training area is safe. Always be sure to create a safe place to train. Consider beforehand whether the area is fenced and safe, should the horse bolt or break loose. Also check your equipment regularly to prevent breakages during training that might create a dangerous situation.
- Accept it if things don’t go as planned. Finally: sometimes you may have the feeling that nothing is working. No matter how well you prepared, it just doesn’t feel right for you and your horse that day. The danger lies in frustration creeping in, and crossing your own and the horse’s boundaries. Accept that anyone can have a bad day sometimes. Try to find one element in your training that is going well, and end on this.