Here are basically 3 Reasons why your horse might "misbehave"
Having to contend with your horse’s possible behavior problems can become very trying, for you and your horse. It has been my experience that horses, on the whole, don't just "misbehave". What is actually happening is that horses that have been labeled as "naughty", "bad", "nasty", "stubborn", "disobedient", etc. are actually trying to communicate their feelings directly to you.
When your horse tries to relay to you through minor indicators that they are either in pain or have some other type of problem and feel that no one is listening to them, they revert to much more drastic methods to get your attention. It is at that specific time that your horse will become what is referred to as “nasty" or "stubborn" in order to get your attention in order to get their point across to you. What could be creating this frustration within your horse has gotten to the point of reaction through, pain, anxiety, fear, stress, and a host of other things as well.
What needs to be reviewed here is that most problems that arise between you and your horse, in most cases, originate with you and your actions. You have not been open and listening to what your horse is telling you; or you have been giving the wrong indicators through your actions and body language.
On the whole there are three major indicators that can lead to confrontations between you and your horse, and they are discussed below.
Reason 1: Physical pain or discomfort
Horses that are dealing with pain start out by being slower moving (lethargic) and can show additional indicators as the pain progresses or gets more intense. Ignoring those basic indicators is what convinces your horse that they need to take much more aggressive behavior in order that you understand their situation. Here is where you as the humans have to be able to be aware through various equine indicators of levels of pain and take the necessary steps to help elevate their present level of pain. Your horse cannot communicate verbally, only through body language; but, you have the ability to notice, evaluate, and act on your horse’s response level, that is all that they are asking you to do.
It is now your responsibility to respond to problems that include, unwillingness to continue a job that has been a regular part of their daily routine, unfavorable reaction to saddles or tack, excessive stress or tension, or even their lack of appetite
There may even need a veterinary visit if you have tried all you know and have not been able to help reduce the level of pain or discomfort to a level that would be considered to be back to normal. Never be afraid to ask for help when help is needed.
Reason 2: Communication Problems
Communication problems can be a major stumbling block for many horse owners. We live in a “quicker faster” world and we are always trying to accomplish many different things in a lesser amount of time. Your horse does not understand that; they work on a methodical step-by-step method handling one situation at a time. They feel the indicators form you; they then analyze what you have presented, and then attempt to complete the task that you asked them to do. As I said prior, the horse relies on body language, including body movements, to understand and process what you are asking of them and that is how they respond.
What you have perceived as “bad” or “unresponsive” behavior is nothing more than an incomplete sentence from you and they are waiting for the rest of the communication to come through so that they can complete what you are asking of them. The results of an incomplete command can also lead to your horse trying to decide what you want and do make that decision on their own. But, you can become frustrated since that is not what you thought you asked your horse to do, so technically, the blame lies with you -- not your horse.
Reason 3: Fear and Insecurity
Fear and insecurity can be some of the two biggest problems that horse owners of today face; that is due to horse owners not having a well-rounded understanding of what fear and insecurity encompasses. Your horse’s natural instinct is to flee from danger or anything that they perceive as a possible threat to them. This is due to the fact that your horse is considered a flight animal whose main purpose in life is self-preservation. Self-preservation reactions are perceived many times as “misbehaving” reactions rather than what they actually are. It is at this point that your ability to much more perceptive and aware of things that might startle your horse into this natural and instinctive behavior and be prepared to help them through this situation. After all, rather than “misbehaving” your horse is also looking out for you by removing both you and them from a situation that your horse perceives as a danger.
Horses that have become “spooky” in nature are usually ones that have pick up upon you insecurity or ability to relax. After all, your horse will take their lead from you and have placed their trust in you. In you are not relaxed or you are fearful, they will be fearful and un-relaxed; always in edge looking for the problem that you are relating to them that is out there -- somewhere. This type of action on your behalf opens the flight response wide open and it is not if it might happen; but, how drastically it will happen.
Horses depend upon the use of body language, body movement, and pressure to specific point in and at their body. That pressure that is placed on specific point generates energy within the horse and can be controlled through the amount of pressure. Your attitude and how you approach specific situation is another controlling factor as they relate to fear and insecurity. Eliminating the anticipation of problems builds a strong and trustful relationship, on both parts. Work with your horse through understanding, proper communication, and consideration since these three points are the basis of all great relationships; be they you and your horse or you and other people.
Any thoughts and or experiences?
So, until next time….”Ride for the Brand”