Subject: Learn to listen to what your horse is telling you.
I am an observer. I people watch and I LOVE to animal watch. We have a 20 acre field behind our place that has a breeding band of bucking bulls and cows in it. I sit, sometimes for what seems like hours, and watch their behavior. It doesn't take long to see which ones are the loners, which ones run the show and which ones just want to be a part of the group. Although I haven't had a chance to see horses in the wild yet, I am sure we would see the same behavior in their band as well.
Even though animals don't speak our language, they do communicate with us. Horse owners need to become better at understanding what their horses are "telling" them with their actions. Horses don't wake up in the morning and decide to hit the second barrel, balk at the entry gate, or not run home as fast as their owner would like them to. 99% of the time there is a reason your horse is not doing what you are asking. I have listed just a few of the reasons I see quite often below.
- Poor fitting equipment (most often saddles)
- Poor shoeing which causes lameness and/or body soreness
- Incorrect headgear for horse and rider combination
- Lack of rider education on correct riding skills for that horse
- Overuse or lack of other activities besides barrel racing
So many times I see people schooling their horses for bad behavior or not performing up to their expectations without analyzing the cause of the issue. If we all took a little more time to understand what our horses are communicating to us, we would all have more success and more fun - especially our four legged partners.