In order to succeed, we must first think like a horse...
I often work with behaviours that could cause injury to horses and handlers. It is important that I understand and can recognise the different behaviours in horses to ensure maximum safety.
Carley O'Calaghan (2023)
What are horses only two roles on this planet?
To survive and reproduce
Horses in their natural environment display many different behaviours.
This is why it is important to be the security and stability for your own horse when they are not with their field mates. It is almost unnatural for a horse to leave it’s herd, where there is little threat, to spend time with a different species. Of course, we as humans quite like the company of other species, but horses have learnt the acceptance of working with someone/something/somewhere potentially new without their herd.
I always say, there is a reason for every behaviour. Much like an iceberg, there is much more to it than we see. I can help you to understand and connect with your horse.
This is something I frequently work with. ‘Napping’ is an equestrian behavioural term that is used to describe a horse that is reluctant or refusing to move in the desired direction. Whether your horse plants themselves or rears when napping, I would love to work with you on this issue. My own horse had a rearing napping issue when they first arrived with me from Spain, she was scared of cows. We worked for many weeks on acceptance work and confidence until she felt confident enough to walk near cows from the ground and whilst ridden. The key with any behaviour is: progress over perfection. Get in touch today to know more.
How I can help you:
I have experienced many behavioural problems, from non-loading, mounting issues, foot handling problems, spookiness, napping, ground and ridden problems. These issues can then impact the enjoyment of owning and caring for a horse, which could also knock our confidence. Our confidence can be shattered in meer moments, if you feel as though yours has been impacted, I will work with you both to build up trust and confidence with each other again. Sometimes the scariest thing is to ask for help because of the fear of judgement. I promise you that this is a judgement free zone, this community is kind and you are safe here.
The importance of using kind language with horses...
If there was one thing that I could change in our world it would be the language that some use to describe their horses. The words ‘stubborn’ and ‘naughty’ are words that I hear too often, but I believe we can work on changing this. Unfortunately this mindset around horses can lead the human mind to think of punishment, feel tense, nervous and more forceful when approaching a situation.
This horse was reluctant to load. Some may look at this image and think ‘oh how naughty!’, but I encourage you to think of WHY horses might do this. Unwanted behaviour is usually caused by fear, remember the horse has only two basic instincts and one is survival.
Our brains are able to understand what and why we use trailers, a horse learns to adapt to using a trailer. This horse in particular was scared of the trailer, they needed time to come around to the idea of loading. Even if a horse has already adapted to loading, travelling is a whole new concept too, it’s all about…thinking like a horse!
...to achieve results we desire.
As you can see, eventually the client was able to confidently lead the horse. To get here, I used positive behaviour techniques throughout. It is vital that you remain a safe security blanket that the horse might naturally have in their herd. If you are stressed, then your horse will pick up on it with their natural instincts.