Enhancing Your Horse’s Self-Esteem
“A true horseman can see self-esteem in horses, because he looks for it and nurtures it. Like a good school-teacher, a capable horse trainer will enhance the self-esteem of each student.” Les states.
Your horse is not a machine – he’s a complex organism with the ability to think and evaluate the world much like a human. And like humans, horses respond to stimuli on both physical and emotional levels. Understanding your horse’s emotional needs is as important to successful training as knowing when he is hungry or sore. Great horses are born rarely, but many horses become great because of the way they are treated.
WHAT IS YOUR HORSE’S SELF-ESTEEM?
Your horse’s self-esteem is the way he feels about himself. Like human athletes, horses may perform far beyond their apparent physical abilities, a quality horsemen call “heart.” Maintaining your horse’s self-esteem, or “heart” is as important as maintaining the health of his body.
WHO SEES SELF-ESTEEM IN HORSES?
A true horseman can see self-esteem in horses, because he looks for it and nurtures it. Like a good school-teacher, a capable horse trainer will enhance the self-esteem of each student.
WHY MAINTAIN YOUR HORSE’S SELF-ESTEEM?
It’s critical to maintain your horse’s self-esteem because:
*Your horse is your partner in success.
*Your horse will try harder to please you.
*Your skills as a horseman will be enhanced.
HOW TO ENHANCE YOUR HORSE’S SELF-ESTEEM
*Be realistic about your horse’s potential. He must be reasonably built and bred for a high-performance event to have a chance of success.
*Spend a few minutes every day evaluating your horse’s emotional health.
*Train to reinforce your horse’s positive feelings and confidence.
*Build a foundation of basics before you ask for more advanced work.
*Train your horse within his comfort zone – don’t push too fast, too far.
*Reward your horse every time he pleases you – horses crave affection.
*Maintain your horse’s physical fitness as well as mental stamina.
*Train your horse by his abilities, not your ego.
*Train offensively, not defensively.
*Invest your time and emotion in horses you like, and that like you.
*Leave your temper at home.
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This article was printed in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 8, Issue 11