If your life is so busy you literally only have a minute or two a day to spend with your horse, then here are 5 smart training tips you can use to keep your horse "tuned up" when you have just minutes a day.
Smart Tip #1: Practice Backing Up
Suppose you just fed your horse some hay and he's eating. Assuming you have enough room to get beside him, put your finger into his chest and get him to back up. Getting a horse to back up is a basic and essential lesson horses should know. Plus, when you get a horse to move in a direction you want him to move, you earn respect from him.
Smart Tip #2: Practice Getting His Head Down
Just before you feed your horse approach him. When you get to him pet him a couple times. Then put your thumb and first finger on his poll and push down. Do not increase the pressure of the push. Instead, on a scale of one to ten, push at a one. Then say "head down". If he doesn't drop his head increase the pressure to a two. Then say "head down". Repeat the process increasing the pressure until his head drops.
When his head drops, reward him with a petting above the eyes on the forehead.
Over time, work on getting him to drop his head down where you can easily put on a halter.
Smart Tip #3: Quick Lunge
If you have a minute or two, before you feed your horse slip on a halter with a lead rope. Lunge your horse left and right a few times and get him to back up and come forward. You can accomplish this in just about two minutes.
Smart Tip #4: Pick Up The Feet
Before feeding your horse, go pick up his feet. You should start with the front feet. Remember to reward each time he does what you ask. Then go to the back feet. If your horse is sensitive about picking up his feet you can make amazing breakthroughs over time by doing this in just minutes a day.
Smart Tip #5: Brush Your Horse
Before feeding, approach your horse with a halter and brush in hand. Put on the halter then brush him. You do this because you want him to associate the halter with pleasure and he'll come to you almost every time. Thus, whenever you want to ride or work with him, and you approach with a halter, he's more willing to let you catch him.
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of several best selling horse training and horse care books. For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com. He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.htm.