At Let ‘Em Lope, riders frequently ask us the best way for them to talk to the horse they partner with. Here are some easy tips for communicating with your trusty steed.
- Become the leader of the herd.
Like humans, our equine counterparts are herd animals. In their natural habitat, there is always one horse selected as the leader. As head of the herd, the designated horse will make decisions for the entire clan about when to move, where to eat and where to go. When you interact or mount a horse, you are essentially forming a mini herd between the two of you. To get your horse to see you as the leader, you need to act like one. Interact with confidence and respect at all times while asserting yourself and your boundaries. At Let ‘Em Lope, our horses have been trained to treat humans as leaders and are friendly and respectful of their human friends and riders.
- Convey your message using tone.
Although extremely intelligent animals, horses do not have a full grasp on the English language. While they can be trained to recognize certain words, they respond better to tone and the emotion in your voice rather than the words actually being spoken.
- Your horse is speaking to you through body language, learn to pick up the cues.
It is pretty easy to know what your horse is thinking by simply paying attention to his body language. For safety purposes, it is important to know when a horse is not feeling social or wants to be left alone. Flat, backward facing ears is the best indicator that a horse may not be in the mood for a ride, petting, or anything else.
Another indicator that a horse may be irritated is a tail that is swishing back and forth rapidly. A raised perky, on the other hand, is a good indicator that your horse is in a good mood and ready for interaction. And, just like children, bright eyes and a pair of forward facing ears means your horse is attentive and listening.