What are some of the good manners every horse should understand to be considered a good citizen?
These are just a few things I think a horse should understand. They are in no particular order!
1) Be easy to catch and halter. I love it when my ponies meet me at the gate. There are a few things I like them to do when I catch them. One is to position themselves beside me in preparation for the halter. Another is to be a participant in putting the halter on. No pulling their head away or to the side, but instead putting their nose in the halter:
2) Walk politely on the lead rope. For some people this means the horse or pony will walk behind them and others want the horse or pony to walk beside them. Where ever you like your animal to walk, be sure to be consistent when leading them so they know when they are doing the right thing!
3) Be touched all over! Good manners means they will accept being touched anywhere on their body. This is particularly useful for visits to the vet and when harnesses or saddling. If they have a spot they don’t like touched one should take some time to figure out if it’s a physical issue or if they are being defensive for another reason, work that reason out and help them get over the issue. Working through these things is so much better than ignoring them and having them get bigger over time.
4) Standing Tied. This is probably my #1 as far as what I expect for manners! If a horse or pony can’t stand tied quietly, they will create havoc! Especially if you travel with your horse or pony and they need to stand tied to a horse trailer, a hitching rail or even a high line. Not only that but standing quietly in cart is extremely important and learning about patience and boredom by having tying session is a great way to teach patience in cart! Another thing is standing quietly for you to get on if you ride your horse. Getting on and getting off are two of the most dangerous times when riding.
5) Allowing you to pick up all four feet. This is very important for a few reasons but one of them is keeping your farrier safe! A horse that will not allow it’s feet handled is a danger to itself, you and the farrier. After all, no hoof no horse!
I’ll share my other 5 manners next week!