Easy-to-frighten horses are skittish and can be difficult to work with. But if something in the environment is scaring your horse, there are ways to help your horse be more calm.
Researchers tested three different methods to find out which was the most effective.
The Fear Stimulus: A white nylon bag.
This research used a white nylon bag that was able to be moved along a line. This was found to be universally uncomfortable for horses, and provided a good test stimulus.
The Habituation Method
Horses were exposed to the nylon bag repeatedly until they had become more calm.
The Desensitization Method
Horses were gradually exposed to the nylon bag. The first stage was much less intense than later stages and horses only moved onto the next stage when they were totally comfortable with the current stage.
The Counter-Conditioning Method
Horses were given food rewards every time the nylon bag appeared. This intends to build up a positive association that overcomes the negative association of the fear response.
Most effective method: Desensitization
The desensitisation method was the only method that worked for all participating horses. It was the most effective, longest-lasting and fastest process.
To see some of our horse arena photos, download an EquinaBuild brochure here.
See you at Lardner Park, near Warragul for Farm World 2017!
We’re going to have a stall at the 2017 Farm World expo.
If you’re in the area, drop by & say hello – tickets are $20 and there are going to be over 800 exhibitors.
Make sure you grab a free bottle of water and Central Steel Build straw hat!
WHEN:Thursday 30th March – Sunday 2nd April.
HOW MUCH: Tickets are $20 for a day pass (or $18 if you buy online), $30 for a 2 day pass, and $55 for a full pass.
WHERE: Lardner Park, 155 Burnt Rd, Lardner, VIC. (15 minute drive from Warragul).
CENTRAL STEEL BUILD: You’ll be able to find us on North-South Street. We’re near the Working Sheep Dog Trial Area.
MORE INFORMATION: For more details, including how to buy tickets online, visit the Farm World website.
The Eleven Biggest Mistakes When Buying Your First Horse
1. Buying a rescue horse.
Although rescuing a horse is excellent, this is usually more appropriate for an experienced rider. Rescue horses can be anxious and difficult – many of them have come from abusive or uncomfortable situations. This makes them difficult to rider, especially for new riders.
2. Not getting a vet check.
This is super important. All horses will have certain issues, but you need to be aware of what they are and whether they will affect your intended riding goals.
3. Not cantering the horse.
A good tip for buying a new horse is to ask the current owner to get it to canter it. Cantering isn’t as natural as trotting or walking, so you can see how well the horse has been trained and how tolerant it is.
4. Not considering your riding goals.
You might meet a beautiful horse, but if it hasn’t had experience in your riding discipline, there isn’t much point buying it.
Make sure your horse is a match with how you intend to ride it.
5. Purchasing a wild horse.
Some people like the idea of breaking and taming their own horse. For obvious reasons, this is enormously challenging and should be done by a professional.
6. Rushing into a purchase decision.
It might be work considering leasing a horse for a while. That way, you can get a sense for what horse ownership is like. Most sellers will be happy to make an arrangement along these lines.
7. Buying a young horse.
Young horses (under the age of 2) are generally cheaper, but aren’t always suitable for people with little riding experience. They require more training, and this shouldn’t be part of your first-time horse experience.
8. Not considering your riding style.
By ‘riding style’ I mean the energy of your horse and the energy of the rider. If you’re a calm, collected rider, you may fit well with a horse with a bit more energy. But if you’re an energetic, excitable rider, you should be looking for a calmer horse.
9. Underestimating the importance of a good nature.
If it’s your first horse, you definitely need one that won’t react against your mistakes. Some horses can be very touchy, so they get frustrated by mistakes made by novice riders.
10. Buying a horse without visiting it first.
Some people get very excited by online horse sales and make a purchase without visiting the horse first. This is a huge mistake. You should aim to maximise the time you spend with a horse before you make the decision to buy it.
11. Buying a very advanced horse.
A highly trained horse can appeal to people that think the skill of the horse will make them ride better. But highly trained horses need highly skilled riders. If you’re a new rider, a highly skilled horses will likely end up in frustration for you and your horse.
READ MORE: How much it costs to build an indoor arena.