The top 7 Mistakes
Horse Owners make
by Andy Curry
Mistake #7 – Assuming You Can Get On Any Horse And Simply Ride
Not all horses are the same. Some you can get on and easily ride. Some are so green that you could be easily
injured if you have little or no riding experience. The ones easy to ride are typically older horses. They have
been ridden the most and will be the most forgiving of a beginning rider’s mistakes. The younger horses will be the
hardest to ride unless they have been thoroughly broke.
Mistake #6 – Assuming A Horse Trainer’s Technique Is The Only Way To Train A
When novice horse owners begin to experience problems with their horse, they go looking for answers. The first
place they look is in books. When the author of the book explains a training technique, the reader assumes that’s
how it’s done by everyone. But when they can’t train their horse with that technique, they assume a dumb or
untrainable horse. What novice horse owners need to know is that there are typically lots of ways to train a horse
to do one thing. If you try something and it doesn’t work, try something else.
Mistake #5 – Not Riding A Horse Enough
New horse owners experience problems with horses not because the horse suddenly went sour, but because they
don’t ride their horses enough. About the best thing you can do to have a good horse is to ride it and ride it and
ride it. Don’t ride him just once every couple weeks. Horses need to ridden a lot to make them a good riding
Mistake #4 – Thinking A Problem With The Horse Is The Horse’s Fault
Although a horse may have some problems, they are typically a result of the horse’s owner. There are rarely
horse problems – it’s more likely there are problem riders. For instance, if you can’t get your horse to ride away
from home (this is called “Barn Sour”) it’s likely because you don’t have control over him. You can establish
control with various techniques such as Doubling.
Mistake #3 – Not Understanding How Horses Think
Horses do not think like dogs or cats. Horses are a prey animal which means they run from scary things. They
have thousands of years of the “flight instinct” built in their brains. To successfully train them takes patience
and understanding that they are naturally fearful and cynical.
Mistake #2 – Not Knowing That Every Interaction With A Horse Is A Training
Every time you interact with your horse you are training him. Even if your horse is well trained with the lead
rope, you are training him every time you use the lead rope. Even when you pet your horse, you are training him.
Novice horse owners must think through what they do when working with their horse because they can easily and
unknowingly affect a horse’s behavior.
Mistake #1 – Riding A Horse With Little Or No Understanding Of
A typical novice horse owner will ride their new horse not knowing horse-riding skills. It is important to have
an understanding of riding techniques because horses react to leg pressure, how you sit in the saddle, whether or
not the rider is tense, and a whole host of other things.
Let’s face it. Horses need to be understood for a horse owner to be successful with his horse. The best thing
novice horse owners can do is learn how to ride, learn how horses think, learn what works good to shape horses’
behavior, and understand that constantly riding a horse is just about the best thing you can do to have a good
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of several best selling horse training
and horse care books. For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com. He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's