HI Spy: What’s the best horse-related advice you’ve received?

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    What's best equine advice you've ever gotten?Most things in horsemanship must be learned through experience, but sometimes you get a little help from someone with a bit of knowledge to share.

    This month, we want you to share the best horse-related advice that you’ve received. Did you get a smart tip from a friend at the barn? Maybe your instructor gave you a unique trick for remembering to keep your eyes up and heels down. Perhaps it came from a cheeky bumper sticker (“Don’t squat with your spurs on,” comes to mind.) Even a completely non-horsey significant other can point something out in passing that you wouldn’t have noticed on your own.

    Whatever the source, share your favorite bit of wisdom with other HorseChannel.com visitors by clicking “Submit a Comment” below. We’ll pick a few of our favorites to appear in a future issue of Horse Illustrated.

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    71 COMMENTS

    1. That there is going to be bumps and walls in the path you take. But don’t just back down when one stops you, push throught it hard with faith, hope and strength. Don’t cry with you lost and got no ribbon. Because in your heart you didn’t need that ribbon, In your heart all you need was to go and show what you can do with your horse and how well you have accomplished over the years!!- from both Hunter and Barrel Racing Trainers, same exact words.

    2. “Look proud when you ride your horse.” My trainer has told that to me a million times. I think thats my favorite saying ever.

    3. The lady who sold me my first horse said, “Horses aren’t pets; they are big animals. You can’t treat them like you would a dog.” Probably the most memorable piece of advice I have ever received.

    4. “It’s not about the breed. It’s not about the color. Or the conformation. It doesn’t matter how high they jump or how fast they are. It’s the bond you share with them that really matters.” That gets me through every bad day we have.

    5. This might sound obvious, but the best horse-related advice I’ve recieved was, “Don’t forget your helmet!” Wearing a helmet can save your life if something goes wrong, so strap one on before your next ride!

    6. The best adivice i’ve recieved was to never give up and keep trying. Give each other a chance. You might turn out to be one of the next top teams. Once you share a bond, you will do anything not to get rid of the horse you love.

    7. The best advice I’ve ever recieved is “You have to fall off at least three times before you become a real rider.” I’ve never felt bad about a fall.

    8. i was once told by my riding instructor that “no matter how many times your told you arn’t good enough to be an olypic showjumper. just smile and ignore it because you can do anything you and your horse put your mind to”
      that has stuck with me ever since. i plan on going to the olypics one day and with that peice of advice i’m sure i’ll make it there. even if i don’t win… it’s the adventure and the effort that make it rewarding

    9. Just the other day, I was getting ready to jump a fence, and I underestimated my horse’s jump. He jumped it like he thought he was in the Olympics and I nearly found myself executing an “unscheduled dismount”. Right after that my riding instructor told me that next time instead of just giving up when something unexpected happens, I needed to “keep riding”, whether at home, at a show, at a clinic; wherever. Several times during that lesson the horse stumbled or jumped too big again, but I remained with a horse separating me from the ground and didn’t make hardly mistakes when he did anything unexpected.

    10. I have watched many of my friends in my barn slowly leave & never return as they find other things in life that at the time they believe to be more important than horses. Almost all of them that I keep in touch with tell me they regret it. I was almost one of those people too. We, as horse people are extremely lucky to be blessed enough to be around horses, and even luckier to ride. Never, ever let anything come between you and horses. Especially boys! God was loving enough to have blessed us with these creatures that are truly the closest thing we have to perfection on this Earth.

    11. The best horse related advice I have ever gotten was about riding. My instructor always said “if you feel like you’re falling, grab the horse’s neck”. That has saved me from some pretty major accidents.Once my horse spooked, took off, my foot got caught, and I grabbed his neck and it saved me from being dragged.

    12. I’ve received a lot of horse related advice, including being told to keep riding no matter what happens, or to ‘ride like it never happened’. That really helps me, especially when riding in a show, to keep me confident and to focus on what’s ahead. I’ve also been told to keep smiling no matter what and to always be confident, proud, and happy to be ridng your horse. When you line up in front of the judge at a show, sit up straigt and tall, relax, and most importantly, smile. It shows the judge you’re having a good time, no matter what.

    13. The best horse advice I have recieved is that if you look down, your gonna end up on the ground. I had learned that the hard way, and that the hardest thing about riding is the ground. I fractured my tail bone that day. We all learn sooner or later.

    14. The best horse advice I have ever recieved was from my coach, Jamie, in speed events. She had said “go fast, and ride ’em like you stole ’em”. It became our team motto

    15. i have a very pushy mare. so my dad always tells me to “Be the boss, and push her more than she pushes you.” This has saved me from a ton of buck offs, and taking off towards the barn. i just remember “be more stubborn” and i always just ride through it!

    16. The best advice I ever heard was “Ride where you can, not where you can’t” – John Lyons. This piece of advice has really stuck with me through the years because it’s not just about the physical aspect of riding, but the emotional aspect as well. Ride in the place where you and the horse can both feel successful, wherever that is, and don’t worry about the rest.

    17. There are sooo many good pieces of advice… One is that you should always talk to your horse when your riding him and when you are not. They learn your vocie and it calms them. My Quarter horse Noah is one of my best friends, I am the only person who can catch him, well actually when he hears my vocie he usually comes running to me. He also does most everything by vocie command.

    18. One of the best pieces of advice my riding instructor gave me was “Ride and fall with the leg on the wall.” I still think of that everytime I post. One of my friends rides western, so she never learned the posting trot. I gave her that piece of advice to help her remember how to do the posting trot.

    19. The best advice I’ve ever recieved was ” listen to your horse just as much as you listen to your trainer, he’ll tell you if your doing it wrong” (:

    20. One funny but true phrase I have seen is “Manure Happens”. And it does, to us all. In one form or another. I tell this to myself when I’m scooping stalls, or when something goes wrong.
      But on a more serious note, the one that sticks out in my mind the most, especially when im getting to know a new horse, is “be as kind as possible, but as firm as neccessary”. I have shared this phrase many times. I’m not sure where I heard this, but it has helped me alot. I repeat this phrase often.

    21. My papa always use to say and still does, If a horse can get in trouble it will. I always keep this in mind while Im checking to fences and gate latches. You never want a loose horse running around on the road!

    22. I returned to riding after several years off and a bad fall. I found I was dealing with fear that was foreign to me. I attended a John Lyons symposium at the Horse Expo and he had much good advice but the one that helped me the most was, “don’t worry about what any one else thinks you should be doing. Just enjoy your horse, even if that means sitting on the porch watching him graze.” I enjoyed bathing, grooming and walking my horse. Once the pressure was off to do anything more I relaxed and just enjoyed spending time with him, now I am riding again and taking lessons and have completely forgotten the fear that almost caused me to give up riding.

    23. My best advice came from my trainer. She told me that you can never be a good rider until you understand your horse, form a relationship with them, and learn how to train them.

    24. i have two
      #1.if your not going to give it 101% dont even bother saddling up!!!!!
      #2. Ride like a champ,train like a champ, win like a champ

    25. People have to be patient. Horses are a fight or flight creature. Something on there back is a reason for them to want to flee, or engage their flight sense. You have to gain trust and build a relationship with your horse. This can take some time. Most problems with horses are people not the horse. People want things done in people time. Horses do not understand this. Be consistant in your training methods and cues. Teach from the ground before you teach in the saddle and whatever you do on the left side you have to teach on the right side. Remember be patient. The last thing to keep in mind is people weigh a couple of hundred pounds or less. Horses weigh 1000 pounds or more. People are not going to win when things go wrong because the person is not patient and there is a possibiity the person could become a patient by not being patient.

    26. Set goals but be prepared to change them at the drop of a hat. It can be frustrating when one has high goals in mind but then the horse doesn’t cooperate. Nothing good will come of forcing one’s horse to go along with it. We have to work with theirs and our limitations. Then perhaps we can overcome them.

    27. My advice is from my own horse. He asked me to “Please be patent with me, I learn one step at a time. Please go back to the last step when I don’t understand something, be calm and speak softly. I like praise when I do something right it builds my confidence. I like gentle hands to caress me when I’m upset. It builds my trust in you.” There is no better advise.

    28. MY advice is to think about things, figure out the problem in front of you. The first horse I ever rode taught me that. A young but smart and stubborn trail horse named TJ.

    29. The best advice I’ve gotten is from the man who sold my beautiful horse to us. He told us that “Your horse’s life is only what you make it.” That made such an impression and made us determined to make his life good for HIM, and not just for us.

    30. The best horse advice that I have ever recieved is no matter how much you know, or think you know, you can ALWAYS learn something new about horses.

    31. My advice was in an article of Bob Avila’s. “Horses teach us and then we teach them.” I was green. When I got my two horses of extreme opposites I listened. One was stubborn and sassy. The other hadn’t been ridden in a year but was gentle and timid. I heard what he said. And they taught me. Now I get along with them both. (Of course my best advice is to read but take a break and be alone with your horse when you can’t get something. If you concentrate on what you want you ocasionally loose enjoyment. Try again a different day.)

    32. “even the greenest horse has something to teach the wisest rider”
      I believe this whole heartedly! my young green mare (from an abusive background), has tought me so much. She has taught me patience, which I’ve always lacked, and has taught me to be soft and gentle with my hands, and to be understanding. She has also given me several valuebal lessons with riding as well. And I thought I was training her!

    33. Ride every horse you can. Each horse is different and can teach you much more than if you only ride one horse. It’s all about experience.

    34. I’ve heard more than one clinician say, “It’s never the horse’s fault.” Keeping that phrase in mind makes me evaluate any riding (or ground) issue from the perspective of how can I communicate more effectively.

    35. “When training, remember these three words: rewards, patience, and leader. Reward them even when they do the smallest thing right. Be patient, patience is a virtue. You are the leader, the boss. Never let the horse know otherwise.”

    36. When the predator (you) is scared the prey (your horse) becomes extremely scared. After all, if you eat them and your scared of something, what will that something do to them?
      When you are excited, it is usually part nervousness, control your excitement, it doesn’t do you or your horse any good.

    37. Although the books say you should do this and that and the other thing every day, twice a day, and thrice a day sometimes, I find it comforting to remember that my horse hasn’t read the books!

    38. Here is an advice we got from a movie,”America’s lost mustanges”.
      “Remember in every wild horse there is a gentle horse and in every gentle horse there is a wild horse.”

    39. Best advice: Horses do not know “don’t”, as in “Don’t jig”, “Don’t cross-canter”, etc. They know only “do”, so we must help them learn what to DO, not get angry at them when they don’t.

    40. When you are confused, your horse is confused. When you are afraid, your horse is afraid. And when you are brave, your horse is brave too.

    41. I have been told that if my horse is not learning what I am trying to teach him, the problem is almost surely with me! I need to rethink my method.

    42. Your horse will almost always try his hardest to please you. Don’t get upset if he doesn’t do what you’re training him to do immediately.

    43. My own advice, “I may not be doing it your way, but I”m having fun and my horse enjoys it”. Be true to yourself and your animals, don’t be a sheep and follow everyone else! 🙂

    44. The best advice I have ever gotten period was from my coach and friend Mrs. Karen one day she asked my lesson group what our goals were and i said. “I want to be in the Olympics.” everyone burst into hysterics but Mrs. Karen sat there looking at me and said. ‘Then I am going to need new clothes when I go.’ Later she told me when I almost gave up she goes ‘I believe you can do it you are born to ride. Everytime I see you ride I see the passion and the desire to be at the top of the sport.”

    45. The best horse advice I have received is to remain calm no matter what. Your horse can sense if you are completely calm or absolutely freaked out! So even if you are scared to death, stay calm and your horse won’t be problem #2

    46. When I got my first horse I had to walk him across the street to a big barn where I was getting lessons and one day a women came up to me and said, ( don’t give up sometimes it will take at least five years before you both connect with each other) See she saw how I was struggling with him JUST walking around with him, I was so discouraged UNTIL she said that to me. Made a huge impact on my confidence. To the new horse owner take it slow and one day at a time it will work out as it did for me!

    47. You and your horse are one, you breathe together, work together, love together, and learn together. At times it may be frustrating, but at the end of the day it only makes the bond stronger.

    48. The best advice that I ever received was from my trainer. He told me to always ride my horse like I expected him to do whatever I was asking. It works!!

    49. It’s all in the feet. That is my #1 piece of wisdom. With horses, the feet control the mind. Think of flight. What do they use? Feet. Fight. What do they use? OK, besides teeth, feet. That is a piece of wisdom I will always hang on to.

    50. One time I was at a riding clinic in Maine. The horse I was riding was being testy, and I couldn’t relax because of it. My instructor saw me struggling, and she said, “If you relax, your horse will relax.” That was definitely the best horse advice I have even gotten.

    51. A long time ago, I remember someone told me,”The only thing holding you back from being successful, is fear of making a mistake, and having doubt in yourself.”

    52. The greatest information that I have received was from my Grandma when I was complaining to her about how Chance was so high strung uncooperative when I was riding him. Then she told me to halt and she looked at me straight in my eye and said, “You know what that horse is just like you, he’s just copying your emotions.” From that day forward I have tried to be in a good mood when I ride and every time that I put her advice in use I get great results.

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