There are a lot of things we take for granted when it comes to our horse’s behaviour. Often, we just say “that is just the he/she is” or “he/she has always done this”. If a horse is scraping in the tacking area, we just yell “Stop it!”, but taking care of the underlying problem is not something we do.
The weirdest thing might be that we take riding lessons every week, that is the most normal thing in the world, but contacting an instructor for a behavioural training is something that is still frowned upon. I wonder why? Every horse should be comfortable in a trailer, evert horse should be able to be girthed without stress, pick up a hoof or walk in or out of his stable normally.
We spend a lot of time and money on learning dressage exercises or riding a jumping course, why not spend that time and money on the basics as well, your horse’s behaviour and mindset. We can offer so much more when it comes to our horses. Did you know most so called ‘problems’ can be fixed in 1 or 2 training sessions? I say most because it also depends on the type of horse and owner, but most of the time a trailer loading problem can be fixed in 1 training.
I was always someone who thought ground work was something nonsensical, I wanted to be in the saddle. Until I contacted a behavioural trainer for my first bred foal. I doubted myself and if I was doing it right, and if I was giving him the right basic skills. In the end it turned out I was doing a wonderful job, and felt intuitively what would work for him and also what absolutely did not work for him. Was worth the 75 bucks excluding travel costs ten times over, just looking at the confidence boost I got. Did some more training sessions at the rearing stable and the effect of those sessions is so much bigger than I would have ever imagined. The whole process of getting him acquainted with the saddle and someone on his back has been going perfectly. Just the fact he knows how to release his tension has been worth the effort. Especially with young horses you can teach them the wrong thing pretty quickly, which means a lot more work to re-install new software and delete the older software. Better for you and the horse if you install the correct software first time around. Both will profit for the rest of your lives.
Picture this, you make an appointment with a behavioural trainer to teach you and your horse how to load correctly, after that you never have another issue loading your horse (yes, this is possible, sometimes a trainer needs to come back one more time for a repeat session, but most of the time that is not even necessary). I would think that would be worth the effort, time and money? The fact that your horse can be fully relaxed when it comes to that weird transportation thing and can release tension wherever he is.
Or you bred a foal or bought a young horse, why not contact a behavioural trainer to make sure you take the correct steps right from the start? The bond of trust you create together might be even worth more in the long run.
An example I saw during my education (studying to become a certified behavioural trainer at the moment) was a horse that had been showing extreme behaviour when it came to girthing. That was also categorized as “he has always done this”. Every day, stress level 100. Only 1 training needed after which he could normally be girthed without aggressive behaviour and without even tying him on both sides. He could stand loose in the tacking area, problem solved. Just 1 of the gazillion examples of helping horses with just 1 training session. So why do we let our horses be uncomfortable for such a long time? 10 years is a very long time. Is it because people do not know behavioural trainers exist? Thinking it is all fairy-tale and stardust? Scared of what people might think or say? Costs?
In the end it will always be about you and your horse, not what other people might think. Too expensive? Well, we all know horses are expensive. If you buy new saddle pads regularly, skip a few times and you have enough to spend on a trainer. Although I have to say, the profit you get from the training sessions (you get to keep what you learn) might not even be measurable in costs, but in gain. Gain for you and maybe even more important, your horse.
Want to know more? Feel free to send me a message or take a look on the Equestrian Services page.