A problem is a problem when a person doesn’t know how to solve it. The correct solution depends on a correct analysis of what is going wrong.
Common causes of difficult behavior
- DISCOMFORT AND PAIN
Horses in pain or discomfort protest. Common causes of pain are: uneven teeth, pain in the poll, neck and back caused by pulling against tense muscles, ill-fitting saddles, inverted posture when ridden, poor rider posture, bad hoof care and undiagnosed lameness the horse tries to avoid showing. Horses in pain are often aggressive, nervous or depressed; are unwilling to cooperate; may rear, buck, jib or run away when ridden; or invent other ways of protesting.
Horses always show signs of pain even when they don’t protest openly.
See also: pain face, Dyson
Bad handling, ill-used punishment, the use of aids or implements too severe for the horse´s sensibility, confusion and pain give rise to learned fears that, due to the tension they cause, can result in lesions. Fear always has a bad effect on behavior: hence our emphasis on confidence. Forcing a frightened horse forward does not diminish his fear.
- BAD USE OF PUNISHMENT
The horse never learns well through the punishment, which causes fear and the reaction of trying to escape. The use of punishment has to be very accurate to get the results that we want, and we do not normally apply at the exact moment. Too punished or tamed horses by means of punishment are nervous, are unpredictable and even aggressive and often learn to react in a way opposite to where we want to.
- BAD LEARNING
It is the result of bad teaching. When a horse has a strong habit to react badly to certain situations or signs,it needs a re-teaching program very well thought out and applied to relearn.
- POOR LIVING CONDITIONS
The emotional well-being of the horse is essential to get it to behave well. The stressed horse is unable to learn or work well. Normalize their life, in the equine sense, giving it more freedom, opportunities of seeing and of being in contact with other horses and pay attention to the diet (more fodder), always help.
- BAD HAND, BAD RIDE
There are people who unconsciously give conflicting signals. The horse plays more the intention of our body signals it has learned. An example are the beginners unable to put a horse to gallop giving strong legs because their body is so tense that the horse is blocked.
- TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES
When a trauma is generalized, the horse seems unpredictable in their panic attacks.
- UNBALANCED HORMONAL STATES
These can cause behavior disorders that are only resolved with veterinary treatment.
- PARANOIA BY THE PEOPLE
The misinterpretation of signals of the horse and the punishment of what is perceived as evil creates lots of problems.
Work in the round stables, combined with attention to the physical and emotional well-being, has proven to be a very effective technique in analysis and resolution of such problems. In particular, the problems of fear or tension so common, that prevent a dressage horse to get a good level are resolved very fast.
Much of our work is the treatment of problematic horses, that we have reliable and spectacular successes. Except in very obvious cases in which people are able to resolve by itself with a bit of knowledge , it is impossible to give a particular trial and certain without seeing the person and the horse together.