By Andy Curry
Picture this. You're late for work one day. You look at your watch and notice you have about three minutes to feed your horse before you have to leave. Plus, it seems to worsen every day. You notice your life getting busier and you have little time, if any, to spend with your horse.
Should you sell him? Should you keep him? What do you do.
It depends. If you only want a pet that eats a lot of hay, then you can keep him if it is affordable. If you want to ride him but you know you won't have time then consider selling him. (Ouch!)
However, if you know you will eventually have time to ride then you can keep your horse "tuned up" by doing some "quick and easy to do" horse training maneuvers on him.
For instance, you have about two minutes to feed your horse before you go to work. So you rush outside and get some hay for him. Just before you feed him you get beside him and practice his backing up.
Backing him up is a great way to keep him "tuned up". Why? You get your horse to move. When you get your horse to move you earn more and more of his respect. Getting a horse to move is using the horse's psychology to get it in his brain that you are the boss. The chief. The head-honcho.
There are more exercises to do than just backing.
Say you have a horse that won't come to you. The reason he won't is likely because of fear or doesn't trust you.
But for the next few weeks go feed your horses with a halter and brush in hand. Horses love to be brushed. Once you get it in his head that seeing the halter means pleasure you will almost never have trouble getting him to come to you.
Here's a good one many people don't know. When you go to feed your horses whistle loudly if you can. If you whistle a certain way and if you're consistent in the way you do it...then you can usually call horses in from an open field and they'll come a runnin'.
Want another tip? Try this.
Before you feed your horse, approach him and pet on his withers. Assuming you are standing on his left side poke your finger into his flank (around the rib/hip area). Hold it there. If he doesn't move, increase the pressure and hold it. If he doesn't move, increase the pressure even more and hold it. Repeat this process until he moves away from the pressure.
When he moves reward him with a petting on the forehead. Do it a couple more times then repeat on his right side.
Doing this teaches the horse a couple things. First, it teaches him to move away from pressure. Since pressure is a tool we use to communicate with the horse, we want him to know how to move away from it.
Secondly, you are doing ground work of teaching your horse to move his hindquarters away from you. Thus, when you sit on the saddle and apply pressure with your boot in that same area, you have primed him to move away from that pressure - he moves his rear end away from your foot.
This is a tremendous tool to not only disengage a horse's hindquarters, it is also part of how to teach a horse to sidepass.
There are more "quick to do" horse training tips you can do. These are but a few examples of what you can accomplish even if you have just minutes a day.
About the Author
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author
of several best selling horse training and horse care books.
For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com.
He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.