Horse Training – How Understanding Horse Herd Mentality will Help You With Your Horse Training

horse training, stable management, herd mentality, Thistle Ridge skill Builders, Thistle Ridge Equestrian Services, hunter judge, Laura Kelland-May

Horse Training is more than just riding.

Horse care, horse training and stable management are only part of having your own horse. Horses are amazingly beautiful and sensitive creatures. Horses require not only understanding and patience they also require a whole lot of care.

Herd Mentality

Horses have a herd mentality. When horse training it is important to understand herd mentality. Observe horses in the herd system. Each horse’s welfare in the wild depends upon an instinctive submission to the discipline of the herd and the herd leader. The instinct is for immediate action. To the horse, action is survival, herd mentality is survival. When horses live in a herd environment, they often take turns sleeping and standing guard for any predators. When the leader of the herd signals

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danger they take flight. that’s herd mentality.

Learning respect and ascending to authority starts on the first day of life for the foals, there is a distinct pecking order in herds of horses. This is the foundation of horse training. You as the horse trainer have to be the herd boss and have authority of the herd.

It is important to keep a quiet profile around horses. Horses naturally do not like unnecessary noise because in the wild their survival depends on detection of predators with their hearing.

Extraneous noise interferes with this predator detection. This predator detection is tightly coupled with a horse’s flight reflex. Due to these survival genetics, horses have a physiological wiring in their brains that predisposes them to prefer quietness and to become bothered by unnecessary noise. Many horses can get startled easily from abrupt noises and this could result in injury to the horse, the rider, or people around the horse. Talk to your horse in a quiet, reassuring voice. 

Relationship With Horses

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Horses Have a Herd Mentality

When horse training you must have the horse’s respect. A horse will respect you if, first and foremost, you treat it fairly, and secondly, if you allow yourself to develop a relationship with it in the same way you would a human partner. There are too many who will look after the horse’s material needs but put nothing back into the partnership itself.

The horse born in captivity will identify with an alternative provider and companion, resulting in a healthy relationship from the beginning. A healthy relationship with your horse requires:

  •  trust
  • respect
  • and a desire to please.

About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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4 Responses to Horse Training – How Understanding Horse Herd Mentality will Help You With Your Horse Training

  1. These are all good points to remember about horses and their relationship to their herd and their riding partner.

  2. Laura says:

    Thank you for these comments I really appreciate it. Having a well adjusted horse is important. The first step to a well adjusted horse is understanding their relationships.


  3. Patience is important for any learning process. When individuals are being taught how to stay on top of an animal, they should not be in a hurry and wait till they have enough skills. Lack of patience may expose one to careless mistakes that could cause accidents.

  4. Laura says:

    Thank you for your comments.

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