Trusting Your Gut! By Clare Long
Trust Your Gut.
In regards to your horse, Its imperative that you remember to trust your gut and your instincts!
If your gut says that your trainer is being too rough or aggressive with your horse, then he or she probably is. Your horse will end up angry, resentful, and most likely injured. Please do not be afraid to change trainers if your gut tells you that this trainer is not for you or your horse. If your trainer wants to tie your horse's rein to the saddle, with the neck cranked around in a horrific position, and leave them like that in the round pen for an hour, use your common sense! If your trainer resorts to mean/cruel bits or training apparatuses, to make them "bridle up", is that really OK?
If your trainer wants your horse to live in a stall 24 hours per day, so that they have a nice coat, really? Your horse deserves a better quality of life. It is not worth it!
Remember also, if you are starting your relationship with your horse, that it takes about a year to really know your horse, and have a strong relationship. Be patient with yourself and your horse during this transition time. And, if you having issues with your horse, don't be afraid to look into possible options. For example: maybe your horse does not want to live in a big pasture with other horses. Maybe your horse needs to be fed lunch in addition to breakfast and dinner, so he is not hungry all day long and "food obsessed". Maybe, your horse does not want to jump. Maybe he wants to be a dressage horse. Or maybe your horse does not want to be a dressage horse, maybe he wants to be an Eventer. Sometimes, you have to change the situation or the relationship depending on what your horse needs. If your horse cannot tolerate cold water in the wash rack, maybe you need to find a barn that has a hot water heater. All these things need to be looked at through a "problem-solving" lens.
You need to find a trainer that can help you through problem-solving issues without aggression, negativity, fear tactics or approaches. If you are hearing a lot of words like: Respect, Control, and Time Out, you might want to look for another trainer.
I believe that artificial aids are perfectly fine, as long as they are used correctly and to support the natural aids. Whips and spurs and stud chains, overused, are not OK! Whip and spur and stud chain, used correctly, are perfectly fine in my book. You have to think logically. A touch with the whip, or bump with the spur, to support your leg aid, perfectly fine. The key here is use of artificial aids to support your natural aids, and used correctly!