Updated: Dec 29, 2022
There are two types of people in the horse world. Those that use too much pressure with little to no preparation or those that don’t want to use any pressure and therefore have ticking time bombs waiting to go off.
There is a happy medium to this. Many years ago a friend of mine I think perfectly addressed this issue. She said that “life is pressure. We can’t hide them from it forever, so therefore we need to teach them to properly handle pressure when it comes into the horse’s life.”
I completely agree with her. We do need to teach our horses how to handle pressure in order to be safe and well-mannered citizens but how we teach them is what matters.
If we just throw them in the pool first before we teach them to swim, we are gonna have a fight on our hands. But if we slowly break it down for them and teach them how to breathe, how to move and how to yield, we can help them think through the pressurized situations and stay present and learn how to release to pressure rather than fight it until they hurt themselves.
If we don’t teach our horses how to handle pressurized situations, we create a dangerous animal that can only handle situations where the atmosphere is perfect.
This sets them up to fail in life. It also only makes the horse suitable for experienced riders/handlers which further limits the positive outcomes for that horse.
Now I am not saying to purposely always put your horse under pressure as too much pressure all the time will create an anxious and reactive horse but by correctly teaching your horse to understand and handle pressure, you set them up to be successful in life and be more versatile and adaptable. This could save your horse’s life some day.
So don’t shrink away from pressure, just take the time to teach it correctly to your horse. This could save your and his life some day.