With a young horse or a green one at the start of its education, it’s important to get things off to a positive start. Here, trainer Emma Massingale gives her tips for instilling manners and building a good working relationship.

The most important thing to consider when training a horse is to get yourself into the right mindset before each session.

When I’m working with a young, new or challenging horse my approach is to first look at the other 23 hours of that horse’s day.

Horses are learning all the time about our crazy human world, so I would ask myself, is my horse being set up with the best lifestyle I can provide?

For example, if you have a young mare and she’s living out night and day with one other mare — older or younger — then potentially and inadvertently you can be creating separation anxiety issues, which might then develop into napping (I use this as an broad example).

So don’t underestimate what is being learnt when you aren’t even working with your horse, as this plays massively into what we describe as ‘manners’.

Once I’m happy with my horse’s lifestyle I remind myself to enjoy the journey and not get goal-focused.

If you aim for small wins regularly, you’re more likely to reach your bigger goal more quickly.

Horses like to win and feel positive, so the more we reward and praise their behaviour, the better the relationship will develop.

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