Leave your emotions at the barn door.
We all have stress in our lives no matter what we do for a living, how bad our commute is or how little sleep we’re getting. I guarantee you that your horse is not listening to the traffic report or the news about the stock exchange when it’s blasting on the barn radio. He will not understand that you are in a foul mood because you can’t find a job to help pay for his wonderfully bedded stall or that you got in to a fender bender at the grocery store after buying HIS carrots! One of the most wonderful things about horses, is that they live in the here and now. Demanding our undivided attention may very well be the most important gift they give us.
Clear instruction is essential and it is equally as important to be consistent. Anger and impatience will get you no where but backwards. When your horse has spooked at the new hay barn for the 20 millionth time and before you REACT to his behaviour, take a deep breath and ask yourself, am I schooling him in anger, or with calm consistency? Remember we are always training them, whether we are teaching them a good lesson or a bad one is the question. If you are unable to muster up the patience to deal with him throwing that same right front hoof down or his great fear of the fly spray bottle you have been using on him for the last year, put your tools away, put him in a turn-out or take him for a graze. Whatever decision you make, make sure it doesn’t include setting you or your horse up for failure.
There is one emotion that is important to take with you through those barn doors, and I bet you can figure out which one it is. ; )