How much pressure should we use when training horses?
It’s a short and simple answer really…
As much as is required to open a conversation between you and the horse.To find a starting point between you and the horse. It is not to force or make the horse do something.
Depending on the horse, starting a conversation with them may take a large amount of pressure , or it may just take a few subtle movements and some eye contact. For some examples on different types of pressure read this article.
The skilled and experienced trainers know exactly how much pressure to use and when to use it.If they are skillful they only need to use a high amount of pressure for a very short period of time, and then its over.The trainer stays completely neutral emotionally throughout the escalation of pressure, the horse understands the language and sees the trainer as someone worthy of having a conversation with. Now they can progress to having a more quiet conversation.
Im my experience many of the horses that I’ve had to get ‘LOUD’ with, are the one’s who have been given conflicting signals by people or the pressure has been too much or too little and just overall confusing…
These are the horses who take a little more persuading to be open to having a conversation with us, and trusting us again.
If you are working with your horse, and you are still inexperienced, keep looking to your horse for feedback. He will tell you if your pressure is appropriate and consistent. Over time you will refine your skills.