The problem we see in our industry
At Barnes Equestrian, our philosophy is built on experience. We believe that there is a huge amount of pressure on young horses to perform at younger ages. From the breaking process at age 3 and onwards, there is a common belief that horses should be out as soon as possible and gaining ‘much needed’ experience under saddle.
Competitions and shows often reflect this attitude with young horse classes. We see young horses at home being jumped several times a week over decent heights. In the long run, this doesn’t equate to making a good or talented horse. It can actually lead to problems that stem from rushing horses in their education and development.
We’re all in this for our own reasons. However, we can agree that we try to do what’s best by our horses. Taking time doesn’t have to mean waiting years, but taking time to establish the basics can certainly be a difference maker. Our philosophy is to do right by our horses.
What if we don’t take our time?
Even before the breaking process, it’s important to establish trust. From day one when working with horses, we have to make everything positive. Horses are like children, they will remember the negatives. When we rush them into wearing tack or having a rider sit upon their backs, we risk creating a negative experience. Our philosophy is to try our best to avoid this.
Bucking, plunging, rearing, biting, napping and all of those negative things can be established by rushing a horses training. When the horse is unsure of what we ask, it may not know how to react. It’s in these times that the reactions can take the form in the above. Furthermore, if we press on with what we want despite these negative signs, we risk establishing that as a behavioural pattern for future work.
How can we fix this?
This is the million-dollar question and it’s not an easy one to fix. The truth is, the issue is societal. There is immense pressure on people and horses to get out and do it all NOW. Our philosophy at Barnes Equestrian we simply will not rush a horse under any circumstances. We believe in working with the horses. Even more, allowing them to gain confidence and comfort in what we ask before moving onto the next stage. It’s as simple as that. Give them time and make sure they’re happy with each stage and exercise in their training.
Without a strong foundation you’ll have trouble creating anything of value.
Why should I take my time?
It’s true. In our industry, taking your time to work with or produce your horse isn’t the norm. Especially when producing for sale. There are two trains of thought here.
- People will generally be more open to taking time with horses that are their own.
- When producing to sell, the market dictates that experience is money.
More people are starting to realise the the value of taking your time. No matter where your horses training is, it is vital to take some things into consideration. How is the horse responding to the task at hand? Displaying tension, discomfort or worrying can be signs that you should reassess what you’re doing. Sometimes you may have to take things back a step. Others may just need to teach the exercise using another method.
It’s important to look at what is in front of us. Rather than looking only to the end goal.
Our promise to you
When you send your horse off to someone, you need to know you can trust them. At Barnes Equestrian we believe in our professional equestrian services. You can be assured that we will treat your horse the same way we’d treat our own. We won’t rush. Likewise, nor will we take liberties. Every horse that comes into this yard will be worked with in alignment with our beliefs. Furthermore, there doesn’t have to be unnecessary pressure applied to horses nor riders. Let’s work together to eliminate that.