Any time a horse expresses resistance or undesirable behavior, it's worthwhile to investigate why—it's not always a training issue he's simply refusing to do; the horse may be in pain. Horses have no ulterior motive; they simply seek relief from discomfort. Identifying the root cause of the discomfort the horse is trying to get away from can be challenging, yet is necessary to resolve the issue.
A horse that swishes his tail, pins his ears or acts angry when girthed is trying to tell the rider something; if not addressed while small expressions, the outbursts may ramp up to bucking, rearing, bolting or otherwise attempting to avoid pain.
A vet should assess the horse for lameness, ulcers, dental issues or other forms of discomfort. Tack fitting should also be evaluated to ensure it is pain-free for the horse. If no source of pain can be pinpointed, the training program should be investigated next to ensure that the horse is not confused or overfaced by what he is being asked to do. The horse may be “off” in an effort to tell someone that he is not physically or mentally sound.
In addition, a horse that is asked to live alone or does not have free choice food can also show unwanted behaviors. No amount of correction for poor behavior can fix a horse that does not feel well.
Read more at Alberta Farmer Express.
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