Girls Horse Club Blog

Ask GHC: Trust Without Pain?

Published by • Sep 4th, 2008 • Category: Ask Girls Horse Club, Lend a Hand

Ask Girls Horse Club

Periodically we hear from members and visitors asking for advice about horse care, riding, and other horse-related topics. We all have different levels of knowledge and experience, so let’s share it with one another and collectively we just might be able to help!

Ask Girls Horse Club is a new feature where readers can submit questions and anyone can step up to share their relevant advice, opinion and/or perspective in the comments. To begin, here’s your first question…

If you are absolutely horse crazy like me, you would know the pain I feel when I see, or hear about a horse being hurt because of the ignorance of some people. By ignorance I mean that some riders think that horses have the brain the size of a peanut and think that they can control them, but they are wrong. When they do this, they think that they are showing horses ‘who’s boss’ and they will gain their trust that way, but instead they are driving their horse away whether they know it or not. I believe that instead of using things like crops and spurs, you should use alternatives therapies. I am trying to gain more knowledge on things like this, so if you have any remedies, please tell me. Right know, I am really working on my TTouch, and I would like to know about remedies too, so I would really appreciate it if you guys could give me some help on it.

submitted by Katie Leigh, age 13

Ask Girls Horse Club is a feature where readers can submit questions and anyone can step up to share their relevant advice, opinion and/or perspective using the comments form below. If you have a question to Ask Girls Horse Club, please use the contact or submission form to send it for consideration.

8 Nickers »

  1. Katie, Spurs & crops are tools used to help gain respect from the horse. If the horse does not respect you, they will probably try to take advantage. If you’re careful when you use crops or spurs, they help to reinforce your aids instead of driving your horse away. I’ve had experience with horses that respect me, and horses that don’t. This does nothing to hurt the bond between horse and rider, it strengthens it. This is just my oppinion, but I’d just like you to see my side of the argument. Thanks and happy horsing!

  2. I’ve heard something about aroma therapy. You know how people give colicky babies baths with vanilla and other herbs, to calm them down. It should work on horses, too. You should read “Keeping a Horse the Natural Way.” It has a lot of practical ways to keep horses happy and healthy.

  3. Join-up is a very helpful method to gain trust from your horse. It is a nice way to tell your horse to respect you, and there are several blogs on that particular topic here at GHC. Otherwise, being the novice horse person I am, I believe there is nothing stronger and more precious than a bond achieved by nothing else but spending time with each other. Make sure to not only ride but play and take care of your horse as often as possible. I wish you the best of luck with your horse :)

  4. Katie: I agree with you. When crops and spurs are used the wrong way, they can be harmful, but as Julia said, if you use them correctly they can help. Other than join up, aroma therapy and as you said, TTouch, I think that reading the Heartland Series by Lauren Brooke, might give you some ideas. I hope this helps!

    Rebecca Shyly

  5. Katie- I agree with Julia- Spurs and Whips- when used properly, won’t hurt the horse. A horse can be controlled- if they couldn’t, they wouldn’t work for us at all. It all depends on the method of gaining a horses respect.

  6. I agree with Julia, I use a crop to reinforce my leg, hand and seat aids with some horses. Join up would be a good way to bond with a horse, but I have never seen it used before so I don’t know how well it works. There are lots of oils etc that can help with horses, and there are lots of books on it.

  7. Katie Leigh, there are many ‘natural horsemanship’ training programs geared toward gaining a horse’s trust in a way that’s natural to them. Some of the popular ones were created by Pat and Linda Parelli, Monty Roberts (credited with creating the ‘Join-Up’ technique), etc. See the Wikipedia article on Natural Horsemanship for more info. One of my favorite riders is Stacey Westfall, a Reining champion who rides bareback and bridleless. It’s amazing that she can train a horse to do this with no tack! See her video here.

    My advice is to find someone in your area who uses natural horsemanship for training horses *and* riders.

  8. Stacy Westfall is really good. Unless you’re looking really hard, you can’t see her giving any sort of signals at all. And having the horse bow – amazing! It’s obvious she really loves her horse but at the same time you can see they both respect each other. I guess that’s the most important thing between horse and rider – more important than whether or not you use spurs, whip, bridle, etc.