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Training essentials: How to keep your horse focussed

October 17, 2016


Your horse is a flight animal, so there’s always something for him to notice. A bird in the bushes, a bucket that wasn’t there yesterday, a passing car. How do you make your horse focus on you and have him concentrate on today’s lesson? Here are a few practical tips.


A way to keep your horses’ attention is to keep his brain switched on and busy. One way is to make lots of transitions, such as basic walk-trot-walk transitions, working trot to extended trot or transition to canter and back. Another way to work on transitions is to practise your half halts or other tempo changes. Make sure you mix it up and vary your transitions.


Always make sure you have an equal amount of pressure on both reins and keep contact with his mouth. Make sure your horse does not go behind the bit or tries to avoid your hands. This will allow the horse to lose his concentration.


It is your job to relax and remain calm when you get on your horse. Stay patient and don’t get mad or irritated when your horse isn’t doing what you ask of him. Ask again or ask again in a different way, maybe you haven’t been clear enough. Always blame yourself and not your horse.


Let go of the millions of other things that you have on your mind. You can’t expect your horse to concentrate and focus on you while in your head you’re thinking of finances or a shopping list.

Get off the riding track

Don’t ride countless of rounds on the track, ride circles and change diagonal every now and then. Keep it interesting by riding lots of figure eights, snakes, and ride on the inside of the track. Create figures that don’t exist, change diagonals left and right and try trotting over poles every now and then. In short, keep both yourself and your horse occupied!

Source: Bit magazine

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