Teaching Patience, Trust, and Tolerance
- April 22, 2020
- Lynn Kohr
How do horses show their thresholds to humans’ pressure? Their reactions may show up as: bucking, rearing, freezing their feet, running away, shaking heads, being restless, mouthing lead ropes or bits, pawing or all combinations of these. What do we do to combat these behaviors? We teach patience, trust, and tolerance.
How do I teach these invaluable and socially enhancing values? Each of my tried and true exercises probably overlap in exactly
what they teach and how much of patience versus trust versus tolerance each drill teaches. By the end of the day, and through the ranks, our horses learn to be patient, have trust and are tolerant. I hope at least some of our words help to make your day a bit easier and more comfortable with your horse.
PATIENCE: comes when a horse is comfortable in their own skin.
TRUST: comes when a horse adapts to unfamiliar situations and experiences with his same handler and accepts the change.
TOLERANCE: comes when a horse trusts change.
Below are ways to work on all three:
- TIE YOUR HORSE UP. Tie them for a long periods of time. Tie them alone and in a comfortable place teaching them to respect the end of a lead rope and teaching them that they will be fine alone. Learning to tie comfortably teaches horses patience. This builds trust, patience and tolerance so while traveling, tying your horse up at the trailer or at an unfamiliar place; they quickly adapt and settle into their new, yet, familiar routine. This is not only convenient, it keeps your horse safer and reduces their anxiety. I often hang a hay bag while tying them up, giving them something to do plus as I travel with many of our horses, they will always have a hay bag near them, and it is one more thing for them to get used to and appreciate.
- ROPING ON YOUR HORSE. Starting when halter breaking, accustom your horse to ropes. Swing around them, on
their legs, and around their middles. Whether they ever make a rope horse or not, being accustomed to the noise and movement makes every horse more tolerant of new noises and new movements. Often, on our young horses we rope the calf sled, slow at first, and then as each horse tolerates it, we add a little speed. We are always mindful of what each horse handles. We like to pen rope slow big calves after our horses adjust to roping the sled, building so much trust as we do more and more on our horses. Roping seems to help in leaps and bounds with all three areas: patience (waiting in turns, coiling up our ropes, being tied up while roping on other horses) trust (that nothing hurts them while doing something new) and tolerance (lots of movement and noise happening…yet never getting hurt amidst all of it).
- HAULING TO NEW PLACES. Even if it’s to just stand tied up at the arena, haul your horses. Haul them to go ride at your
friends or gather at your neighbors. When you are gathering at a friend’s, haul a couple extra and tie them up while you are working. Hauling your horses teaches them patience, trust and tolerance in abundance. We often offer them water and hang hay bags to eventually get them to eat and drink comfortably no matter where we unload them.
Increasing your horse’s patience, building their trust and making them more tolerant reduces their thresholds to human’s
pressures, combatting disturbing behaviors.
About Lynn Kohr
I am a barrel and pole horse trainer, giving springtime barrel racing and pole bending clinics and workshops, competing in barrel racing and pole bending futurities while marketing our horses for sale. I am a Mom of 3: Sage, Cedar, and Stratton. And wife of...