- Keep yourself safe.
You can get hurt, even though they’re tiny. I can’t even count how many people I’ve seen grab the halter of a rearing Miniature Horse to try to stop them, only to then get battered and bruised by the flailing front feet as the pressure escalated the horse’s reaction. Get yourself out of danger and give the horse the space they need to calm down.
2. Deconstruct the Situation
What happened before your horse kicked, or reared, or bit? Were there small signs that they were uncomfortable that you missed? (Spoiler alert – there were definitely signs that you missed, we all do it!) What could you change so that you don’t cause the same reaction next time? What training steps could you apply to help your horse understand without triggering the fear response?
3. Evaluate their Management
Horses need Forage, Friends and the Freedom to express natural behaviours. Lack of any of these can easily result in health and behavioural challenges. Can you find a way to keep them eating hay for more of their day? Get them a horsey friend to play with? Turn them out instead of keeping them stalled? Reduce the sugar content of their feed?
4. Focus on What You DO Want
If your focus is on stopping the bad behaviour, then you’ll always be waiting for it to happen, and inadvertently setting it up to repeat again and again. Stop the cycle by instead teaching a non-compatible behaviour – they can’t bite, for example, if they are rewarded for keeping their nose off you. What you resist, persists. Focus on behaviours you DO want to see repeated instead.
5. Remember That You Are On The Same Team
You and your horse shouldn’t be in conflict. If your horse is struggling, then it’s your job to help them overcome and understand. You will succeed together. Teamwork makes the dream work. 😉
For more on improving your communication with your Miniature Horse register for the Understanding Your Miniature Horse ebook below!