Do you listen to what your horse has to say? Horses can’t keep secrets and are more that willing to tell you their entire life story if you’re willing to listen. I know, I’m being silly ….. but am I really?
I didn’t have a horse when I met my husband and rode his. We reached a spot of the trail and I asked him if he normally let her run there. He’d look at me funny and said yes. We’d get to another place in the trail and I’d ask again. The answer was the same. Later I just shortened it to “your horse is telling on you”.
I had a young trainer at the barn break Rawhide for me. I don’t bounce anymore and had too many responsibilities to be riding unbroke colts. We went down one evening to watch. Rawhide had been under saddle for several weeks and had always been very good. That evening he was bucking. When he was reprimanded for bucking, he’d rear. this went on for a few minutes and the trainer wasn’t taking the (horse’s) hint. I asked him when was the last time my horse gave him any trouble. The answer was never. I told him to get off my horse. I started to examine Rawhide and found the worn cinch rubbed a hole in Rawhide and the horse was rebelling because he hurt. I told him if he had listened to the horse, he’d still have a job.
TJ told me quite a few things in the year I owned him (see my blog TJS The Bomb, from
show horse to kills sale & beyond). Not all were good, but he told me because I was willing to listen. I learned he was scared to death to be ridden Western in the ring. He told me he was much happier English when he relaxed and started having fun. I knew he didn’t have trail experience, but he was better when we rode form the barn instead of trailering out. He told me he was scared of the trailer.
Wyatt has no problem telling me loud and clear if he doesn’t like something. He hates groundwork. He’s told me several times. I don’t listen because he needs the groundwork he didn’t get before he was broken. He’s only 2 and thinks he knows everything. the last time we did groundwork I asked him to back & tapped him on the chest with the lead. He thew a front hoof in my direction. I asked him to move his hind end left & he cow kicked in my direction. After discussing his crappy stud colt attitude, he did what I asked.
I had a young horse that was an angel until something bothered him. If it was near or on his head, he’d rear. If it was on his body he’d buck. Once I figured out what the problem was and corrected it, he was fine.
Most horses are very quiet when they talk to you. Subtle body language, posturing and behavior. The hints will get stronger if ignored. Listen carefully and they’ll tell you.
So what have your horses been telling you over the years that you haven’t heard?