Red ribbon personalities –in humans and horses

It’s not uncommon at open horse shows to see a red ribbon fastened on the tail of a horse. The message? Stay away. I kick. And if I’m complaining about everyday irks, I’m a red ribbon personality.
Why does it sometimes take the loss of something we take for granted to realize what a blessing it really is?
Yet, grumpiness turns to gratefulness with each little loss restored.
Delays in a long horse show schedule? Waiting for a tardy entry? Porta potty? Food booth runs out of coffee? No problem –it’s a PRIVILEGE to be judging a horse show!
If your horse’s personal -space guarding has become assertive enough to warrant a red tail ribbon, it’s time to go back and do some homework before going off- property.
Whether the source is fear or aggression, here are 2 training tips toward expanding his social bubble…

Is your horse in a rush? (Part 2) 4 more tips to SLOW DOWN, tone down your horse’s tension and tune in to your aids.

Horse tension and relaxation – over and over I’ve seen how these really matter in horse learning. Your horse’s emotional state determines how easily he learns – absorbs and acquire skills.
Like cruise control, “self-carriage” in pace describes a horse neither rushing away (accelerating) nor slowing down. He stays within an imaginary box of the rider’s relaxed aids, without having to be held there.
If the horse is hurrying, he’ll be showing some degree of a prey animal’s flight response.

Horses in a rush. Humans in a hurry: Purposeful pauses.

In writing about horses and rushing lately, I got thinking…And what about humans? Ever suffer from “hurry sickness”? ..When I had the opportunity to travel to Israel to judge some horse shows and teach riding clinics, I was moved by how everything shut down for the Sabbath and family. Stores, transportation, restaurants, even…horse shows!

The stressed out horse. The science of equine stress.

“I believe that responsible horse owners essentially ‘owe’ it to their horses to either reduce or manage stress wherever and whenever possible,”  Dr. Camie Heleski,  equitation science researcher and senior lecturer for U of Kentucky. Obviously, there’s no way to eliminate stress in working with horses. The nature of horse training is that we’re pushing … Read more The stressed out horse. The science of equine stress.

Behind the Bit

Once a horse discovers how to escape a rider’s noisy or inconsistent hands, he may auto-hide behind the bit, even with a rider of educated hands. … He’s found an escape route that works and behind-the-bit becomes his default whether or not the threat is still present.
“Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice shame on me”. So the saying goes. Like horses, people protect themselves from further hurt by avoiding confrontation, love or risk.