Probleem Ruiter?

The most important part of asking for help, is actually being open to the help offered. Help can be very confronting; we would all like to believe that we do things as they should be done – the inverse is a sign of shortcomings.

But many of our actions are taught and don’t result from a natural “gut feeling”. When we do make contact with this feeling, often we will find that things go much more easily and smoothly. And so is it when working with horses.

The way horses are treated varies so much from person to person that it is pretty well impossible to create a roadmap laying out all the solutions in a row. Sometimes the problem is a question of simple miscommunication; sometimes is the order of rank disturbed; at times the expectations will be far too high, or simply not coupled to fitting situations. But sometimes, the horse/rider relationship is so severely disrupted that the rider wonders whether there is any point whatsoever in carrying on.

Almost every rider will have experienced the horse that reacts “wrongly” or that doesn’t react. The horse stops, refuses, bucks and rears up! Of course, this can be a result of the style of riding – and in that case, your riding instuctor should be able to give tips. But for the problems mentioned in Problem Horse? there is likely to be another reason.

In order to find and tackle the problem, the relationship between horse and rider needs to be studied. Not only the conduct of the rider but the horse’s reactions must be studied too in order to discount any possible physical problems. All to regularly it is shown that the problem is much less one of conduct but a physical one. When the horse has a bio-mechanical problem (back, leg, hoof etc.), this expresses itself in behaviour; some horses will try to avoid the problem, others will work it out aggressively. If this is indeed the problem, then a referral to a specialist such as an osteopath or a hoof-trimmer might be necessary.

If the problem is not one of a bio-mechanical nature, then the environment, lifestyle and history of the horse need to be studied and the problem-moments analysed. Problems can be found not only in the rider’s conduct with the horse, but also in the horse’s own past.

Sometimes just a single indication is enough for the rider to get back onto the rails; sometimes there is (a lot) more work needed. The latter can of course be with the rider’s own horse but, at times, taking a step back and working for a while with another horse can offer new insights. Horse and rider get used to each other and this can make it difficult to let go of old habits. Engagement can offer the possibility of working with another horse.

When the problem is principally horse oriented, depending upon just how deep rooted the problem is and the horse’s reaction to the rider, the possibility also exists of working with the horse in the absence of the rider; it must however be stressed that it is always the intention that the rider collaborates in solving the problems since it is he or she that must recognise the problem and learn to cope with it.

In extreme cases, it might be advisable to chose for a Time Out