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Common New Horse Problems

Common new horse problems can run the gamut to mild behavior quirks to serious discipline, health, and safety issues. The number and severity of the new horse problems you may encounter depend, of course, on the particular horse. If your horse has come from a reputable dealer who has invested time and effort into training, your problems should be few. If, on the other hand, you have taken in a rescue horse that has been abused, abandoned, or otherwise neglected, you could encounter a vast array of new horse problems.

Taking your time and being patient with your new horse are of paramount importance. Some horses will display slight to moderate behavioral issues when introduced to a new setting but will, in some cases, stop these behaviors once they have settled into their new homes. Take the time to learn your horse’s individual personality, but be sure to always correct behavioral problems promptly and kindly, but firmly.

One of the most common new horse problems is simply a lack of proper basic training. Just like you would probably feel uncomfortable if someone who was talking to you stepped too close and got in your personal space, you need to train your horse to stay out of your space. Your horse should never get more than about 18-24” close to you unless you specifically tell him to. It is important to remember that horses are herd animals, and in terms their social dynamics, a horse that is allowed to get as close as he wants to another horse is asserting his dominance over that horse. It is important that your horse understand that you are the dominant one in your relationship. Good horse ground manners training will teach him that and help eliminate this common new horse problem.

Lack of socialization, both with people and with other animals, can be another common new horse problem. Slowly and deliberately exposing your horse to other people, other horses, and other types of animals is very important. Keep in mind that, in general, horses have a very strong “fight or flight” instinct. Be sure that any other animals you introduce your horse to have already been properly socialized and will react fairly predictably around your horse. Likewise, it is often wise to limit a very skittish horse’s exposure to people who are also likely to be skittish. A new horse that has not had much positive interaction with people, either because she was abused or neglected, will usually respond better to experienced horse people who are careful and confident around horses.

Many common new horse problems can be overcome with time and patience. Proper horse training always involves repetition and consistency. Remember that every time you interact with your new horse, you are teaching him something. Making a conscious effort to make every interaction a positive one can help reduce and eliminate many common new horse problems.

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