So you are looking for ways to quickly ruin your colts confidence? Good! You came to the right place! I have discovered 5 EASY ways to totally destroy your colt’s confidence, and it won’t take long! Some of these things I have learned through my own experience, some I have been lucky enough to witness, either way, you will definitely benefit from knowing how to really get that confidence low!
1.) When working with your colt on the barrel pattern, really start jerking them around. I mean, when you get to the barrel, make them really hate it. Show them that the barrel is NOT a fun place to be. Do that over and over until you feel them start to really resent it.
2.) Whenever your colt makes the tiniest mistake, just go ahead and stop them. Really jam them in the dirt. They will know right away that they were getting too confident and they definitely need to knock that off. The more stops the better. Even when you think your horse is about to make a mistake, hammer down on the brakes. Mistake prevention is key.
3.) Let them behave however they want to behave. Your horse will be the least confident if you allow them to be the leader. So if they start acting dominate and disrespectful, just go right along with it. Whenever this starts happening, you know their confidence is dropping quick.
4.) Shanks shanks shanks! You need longer shanks on that bit! I’m talking hang down to the ground, possibly dragging in the dirt shanks. That way whenever you do reprimand your colt, they will feel it one-thousand times more!
5.) Stick to the exact same routine at home every day. Don’t ever spice it up or challenge your colt. Then when you get to a barrel race, do everything 100% different. This is like insurance that your colt will completely lose it at the show. Then you know their confidence is at an all time low!
All joking aside, there are so many ways you can destroy a horse’s confidence but there are also a million ways to build it.
Some of these things I learned the hard way. I can speak with some authority on this because I have done it wrong and I’ve done it right. Experiencing it first hand was the best way to learn.
Helping a horse become confident doesn’t always mean you are easy on them or let them run the show, it means you are a reliable, consistent leader for them and you set clear boundaries for behavior and let them enjoy their job.
You help them become more adaptable by putting them in challenging, new situations and guiding them through it with consistency.
You allow them to make mistakes and correct it in a way they understand by thinking through the situation and leaving your temper out of it.
One of my horses has made me really work to build his confidence. He is naturally a VERY insecure horse. I have had to be really black and white with him so that he knows he can always rely on me. If I were to just act like a passenger on him and let him run the show, he would be terribly insecure and probably over reactive to anything spooky.
My theory is that a horse that can do its job with their confidence soaring is almost always going to out run a horse that is hesitant and second guessing themselves each step of the way.
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