How to Train a Stubborn Horse

Horses come with a vast range of complex emotions and personalities. Often, you’ll find yourself one that embodies the characteristic of stubbornness. In these situations, you can become flustered and frustrated. You may even feel like you’ve failed as a horse owner. However, stubborn horses are extremely common and its always possible to get them to behave. It just takes a bit of work and patience.

If you’re wondering how to train a stubborn horse, then this guide is for you. Learn everything you need to know about getting to the root cause of the problem and forming a better relationship with your horse so that they respond more willingly and promptly.

Understand the Problem

Horses aren’t stubborn for no reason. There could be a number of factors causing them to ignore your instructions. Before you can overcome their stubbornness, you have to get the root cause. In doing so, it’ll be easier to alleviate any difficulties your horse might be having.

The horse could be lazy, in which case, some tasty food could provide motivation. Alternatively, they may be scared and so aren’t able to be bribed. In this instance, you’re better off going slowly and gently easing them into it. Horses are prone to fear the unknown so don’t move too quickly. The horse may also just be stubborn with you but fine with others. In this case, they don’t have full faith in you and you’ll need to prove your worth as a leader.

Safety First

A scared horse is a dangerous horse so always approach with caution. Make sure they see you coming and don’t get startled. Stubbornness can arise out of a state of fear or confusion so limiting these emotions gives you the best chance of success. Take your horse to a familiar environment where you know they feel safe.

Then, you can begin the training. It’s important to start with a simple command that you know your horse understands and is capable of doing. Be patient and keep commanding the same thing over and over. Eventually, even the most stubborn of horses will do what they’re told. This is important because you can see how the horse reacts. Do they appear tense or afraid? If so, then you need to work on alleviating this. If they seem relaxed and unbothered, then the problem is more likely laziness.

Be Gentle and Patient

A stubborn horse may just have trouble understanding you or trusting you. You need to act with confidence and kindness to get the most out of them. Take your time with every command. Be clear and direct. The horse will view this as a sign of leadership and understand that they are supposed to be following you.

Once they do follow a command, give them praise for doing so. This helps them make the connection between your commands and their actions. Don’t just move quickly onto something else. Take a noticeable pause to reward the horse and acknowledge that they’ve done the right thing. By being gentle and patient, the horse has no reason to act out. You just have to show that your tenacity outweighs their stubbornness.

Form a Closer Bond

Communicating with any animal is tough. You have to form a very special bond for them to be able to understand you and, just as importantly, for you to understand them. It’s vital that you find a way to communicate effectively. A horse can’t understand your words in the same way humans can. They’re far more reliant on the tone of your voice and your body language.

The horse, too, responds using body language. Your job as their rider is to understand non-verbal cues. A stubborn horse one day might be relaxed and obedient the next. By forming a closer bond, you’ll be able to tell whether they’re in a cooperative mood. If not, you may be better of coming back later. Over time, you should build a connection where the two of you understand each other more effectively. This will avoid any communication errors that may have caused your horse to act stubborn.

Even the most stubborn of horses can be trained. Now you know how to train a stubborn horse, it’s time to get back to the stable and get to work. Take your time – you’ll get there with persistence!