Naughty Horses, Part 5 - Horses that don’t have enough incentive

Feel like you’re horse wrestling? Like your horse knows what you want but doesn’t listen? There seems to be no logic to your horses actions, surely he can see that it’s easier to just do it?


In the first blog in my ‘Naughty Horses’ mini series I looked at 5 reasons horses can misbehave.


Here’s a recap of the 5...

  1. They don’t know what to do

  2. They have learned to respond incorrectly

  3. They are scared

  4. They don’t have enough incentive

  5. They are in pain

In this blog I’m going to look in a little more detail at number 4...👇👇


Horses that don’t have enough incentive


So, these horses are typically labelled ‘stubborn’ or ‘lazy’ and they can be really hard work if you don’t figure out what makes them tick. On the flip side they are often super intelligent and once you get them motivated they are really good fun! They also tend to have what I like to term as a bit of a ‘sense of humour’!


My horse Arielle was one of these, I’ve had her since she was a 2 year old. In the early days I could barely get 2 strides of canter from her. Now I tried all sorts of things to motivate her, in desperation one day I even put buckets of feed in the arena and rode to them. It really didn’t make one bit of difference to her, we still went to each bucket very slowly 😫😂


Responsiveness and Reward/Motivation


What I finally figured out was that I needed a balance of responsiveness, so I had to ask for the energy I wanted, and then reward, I had to reward her response with something that was meaningful to her 🧐