The Rider’s Mind Podcast Episode 26: Be a Good Leader to Your Horse

Are you someone your horse wants to follow or does your horse consider you a liability?  In this episode, I’ll be sharing ideas about being a good leader for your horse.

Horses are herd animals. They are very instinctual.  They look for leadership. They operate in a herd and protect each other.  They work together. When you think about your partnership with your horse, ask yourself am I always someone my horse wants to hang around with?  Or might your horse interpret your energy as scattered or flighty?  When you are nervous or anxious, what message does it send to your horse? 

Are you someone your horse wants to follow or is he just along for the ride because he doesn’t have an option?   

If we compare your relationship with your horse to a work relationship, you’re the boss and the horse works for you…but he didn’t get an opinion as to whether he wanted the job or not.   You accepted him as an employee for your purpose, but you really didn’t give your horse a say as to whether or not he wants the position.   Since you’re the boss, you have a responsibility to be a good leader for your horse.   

What makes a good leader?  

Confidence:  a good leader has a high level of confidence and skill
Decisiveness:  a good leader makes firm decisions and has a plan
Clear expectations:  a good leader makes their demands for performance evident
Clear boundaries:  a good leader makes you aware of what is appropriate and what is not
Awareness:  a good leader is aware of their surroundings
Emotional Intelligence: a good leader notices when something is bothering others
Mindfulness: a good leader is present and stays in the moment
Integrity: a good leader knows their values and stands behind them
Inspiration:  a good leader inspires others by moving towards the next thing, they are healthy and they honour themselves
Empowerment: a good leader empowers others so their teammates feel strong and focused

What are some signs that you aren’t being a good leader for your horse? 

  • You don’t feel a connection between you and your horse
  • Your horse is distracted and lacks focus
  • Your horse is disrespectful and has bad manners
  • Your horse is anxious
  • Your horse is acting like a bully and invading your space
  • Your horse shows resistance (in any form)
  • Your horse is always in fight or flight mode


How can you become a better leader to your horse?

✔ Improve your technical horsemanship skills: when you increase your competence, you increase your confidence

✔ Increase your ability to adapt your energy for the situation and for the individual horse

Be someone worth respecting: be firm, understanding, consistent and fair

✔ Practice being mindful and present: horses will mirror where your mind is at

Always look for ways to improve yourself. Work on your leadership skills and develop yourself so that your horse feels well-supported by his leader.   He didn’t get a choice in the matter of where he goes to work, so be someone that’s inspiring to work for.    

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Join the conversation!  Tell us about your experiences with being a leader for your horse in The Rider’s Mind Community on Facebook.  Plus, as a member of this community,  you’ll get tips and videos from me!

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