How to eliminate, not encourage, 'magnets' in our horses

Sometimes you may find your horse drawn to that gate, wanting to go back to its stall or wanting to move slowly when leaving. To eliminate this magnet, it’s important that you not stop and let your horse rest near the gate.

As a horse trainer, my job is to make the correct thing easy for the horse and the wrong thing difficult for them. We want to establish leadership and partnership with our horse.

We want our ideas to become their ideas so that we can work together as one. To accomplish this do we need to move their feet. We need to make them move. The simple truth is if you move their feet, it moves their mind and puts you in the leadership role.

Have you ever experienced the horse that won’t go into a corner of the arena or stops in a certain area? You know how frustrating it can be to ride a “spooky” horse, but what can you really do about it? Could the “spooky” be taken out of your horse with just a few simple exercises?

When you think about when your horse acted up, you can usually pinpoint a certain area that gave you the problem; this would be the magnet of the situation. This area either drew you to it or pushed you away from it.

You can feel magnets with your horse almost daily. Did you know that most likely there is a “magnet” on the gate of your arena that your horse knows about? Sometimes you may find your horse drawn to that gate, wanting to go back to its stall or wanting to move slowly when leaving.

To eliminate this magnet, it’s important that you not stop and let your horse rest near the gate. At the gate you need to work your horse more, not just let him stand or go back to his stall. Make what you want the easiest choice for your horse to achieve and when he does what you want, give him a break and let him digest what has just occurred. This is called the “release.”

We want to eliminate, not encourage magnets with our horses. Be proactive and set up situations that will give you a balanced, magnet-free horse.

Happy Trails!

LORI RICIGLIANO is a horse judge, trainer, riding instructor, equine photographer and clinician. She also hosts a weekly syndicated equine radio talk show “Hoof Beats with Lori”. Lori has held her horse judges license as a USEF / AHA — “R” rated licensed horse judge for more than 25 years and currently operates Ricigliano Farms Horse Training and Riding Academy near Kent, Minn. She can be reached by email or phone for any questions at 218- 557-8762 or riciglianofarms@gmail. com. Her website is www. RiciglianoFarms.com

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