Evaluating a Horse’s Vocabulary

When we work with very young children, we keep our vocabulary simple because their understanding of spoken language is limited. A two-year-old child’s vocabulary is much smaller than that of a four-year-old or a seven-year old. But by the time that child becomes a teenager, his or her vocabulary will number in the thousands of words.

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The Importance of Timing

We communicate with a horse by using a corridor of pressures that suggest the shape, the pace, and the direction we want the horse to take. Removing a pressure is the horse’s "reward." It is the way we communicate to the horse, "Yes! That’s right." If your timing is off when you either apply a pressure or remove it, your communication becomes garbled. The horse will not make a clear connection between a particular pressure or corridor of pressures and the response you expect from him.

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Finding The Right Instructor

Finding the right instructor is essential if a rider wants positive, satisfying, and safe equestrian experiences. The "best" riding instructor may be a very different person for different riders. It is an adult student’s responsibility to choose an instructor that suits her current level of ability and her goals.

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How Patterns Can Get You Into Trouble

When you work in predictable patterns that create feelings of rhythm and relaxation, your horse begins to trust that you are a comfortable, safe place to be. You never surprise or startle the horse as you groom or lead or load him into a trailer or work under saddle because you always use a predictable, calm, rhythmic approach to whatever you do when you are with him.

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Horses as Therapy

They’ve long been a symbol of peace and harmony with nature. They are known for their sociable, nurturing personalities, and their capacity for empathy. So it’s perhaps not surprising that doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals agree that horses can help patients with a wide range of physical and mental health issues to experience themselves in a different way.

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Emotionally Neutral Horse Training

Your first objective every time you are around a horse is to get yourself emotionally neutral. When you approach a horse in an emotionally neutral state of mind, the horse perceives you as a safe place to be. That helps him be emotionally neutral, too. Then you can open up whatever line of horse-logical communication you want with him.

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