Equine Vices

Sometimes an animal develops behavior, which is outside the normal behavior range of the species. This behaviour may be annoying to the owner and most importantly may be detrimental to the well being of the animal. Many horses develop these “problem” behaviours and they become established habits, which are referred to as vices. There are numerous types of vices and varying degrees to which the horse may exhibit them. Over the next couple of articles we will be having a look at some of these issues. The list of these behaviours is long and includes cribbing, weaving, charging, rearing, box walking, wood chewing, kicking, tail rubbing, etc.

Read more: Vice in the Paddock

Groundwork is key to communicating with your horse.

Backing a young horse

Great riding doesn’t begin in the saddle, it begins on the ground. Working with your horse from the ground has a multitude of benefits. One of the most important is the fact that it really improves your communication with your horse. When we talk about groundwork we are referring to asking your horse to do a task/behaviour at your request with minimal resistance while you are standing on the ground next to him. Groundwork sets the stage for all the work under saddle; remember if your horse can’t do it from the ground he probably won’t do it under saddle. Or he will do it reluctantlyand hesitantly when under saddle. If your horse can’t do the exercise from the ground and you continually push him to do it under saddle you are setting yourself up for an eventual “explosion” . Most riders have learned so much about how to sit and what aids to give and what gadgets to use, however when it comes to asking them to move the horse’s body on the ground they are lost.

Read more: Communication is key in training your horse.

Rolling in Clover

As owners we spend endless amounts of time washing and cleaning our horses and ponies, the cleaner they are the happier we as owners tend to be. But here’s the thing: horses like to be covered in organic matter, which they effectively apply to themselves by rolling. They roll in mud, sand, shavings, leaves, shallow water and grass. And if you have a grey pony I am sure you will agree they always seem to find a way to roll in fresh green grass the day before a show, leaving them with what seem like semi permanent bright green patches

Read more: Rolling in Clover