How to Discipline in Lessons: Horses

Disciplining horses in the middle of lessons is difficult. As instructors, we don’t want to show our riders negative behavior from us or point out negative behavior in our horses. I believe the best way to discipline a horse is to eliminate the problem through training, stress elimination, and positive reinforcement but that mostly takes place outside of lessons. I want to share how I discipline in lessons, but please know that this is my personal way of doing things and is not meant to be construed as the only way or the best way.

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Toys & Equipment

Therapeutic riding is an alternative therapeutic option that uses the horse to provide clients with a unique experience. The bare necessities for therapeutic riding are an instructor, a horse, and a client. However, there are some typical toys and equipment that most therapeutic riding centers (TRC) or places that offer adaptive riding will have.

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Trust Exercises with Your Horse

Trust is an important part of any relationship. It is what we need to have an effective partnership with our horses and is a good foundation for any relationship. Some people subscribe to the “trust is earned” mantra but I tend to trust from the start, especially with my horses. I build trust with my horses through trust exercises.

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Finding Your Own Support

My husband is my biggest support

Today, more than ever, it is important to check in with yourself. As caregivers, we need to protect ourselves from the daily grind of our work. At the PATH, Intl. National Conference there was a session on preventing burnout and safeguarding your own mental health. I previously wrote a post about self-care here but today I want to talk about finding support.

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Hypertonia and Hypotonia

In therapeutic riding, we often see clients who have issues with muscle tone. Hypertonia and hypotonia are two terms used to describe muscle tone. Hypertonia means high muscle tone and lack of flexibility. This often involves stiff movements and poor balance. Hypotonia means low muscle tone and too much flexibility, which can result in difficulty lifting limbs or struggling with fine and gross motor activities.

Therapeutic riding can help both hypertonia and hypotonia as long as there are no contraindications to riding.

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