Why The Horse's Eyes Are So Important
When Training Him!
They say the eyes are the gateway to the soul. When it was
said, they were referring to us humans. But the truth is,
it also refers to horses.
Many horse owners don't understand the importance and usefulness
of the horse's eyes while training. That being so, let me
share with you some things you may find useful - some you
may know...some you may not.
First, there's the eye which reveals a little about the character
of the horse you're working with. It may have a kind eye.
A kind eye indicates the horse will be agreeable to train
and will readily respond to your aids while training.
One way to tell if the horse is nervous is by noting his eyes.
Horses can be very expressive in their looks. And you can
tell if a horse is a nervous horse by the eyes appearing sort
of "worried like."
Obviously, this nervous horse would require more thoughtful
handling than would a non-nervous horse.
I have a horse that would get mad after a while of riding.
She used to get what I call mad eyes. Her expression was actually
a sort of angry expression. Mostly, the expression came from
her eyes. Here eyes would get red after a while.
Jesse Beery, a famous horse trainer from the 1800's, talked
a lot about the eyes of the horse. Even those many years ago
he knew about the horse's eyes. Beery discovered there were
four different disposition types of a horse. Certain characteristics
of the eyes would tell you much about the horse's personality
and how much work it would be to train the horse.
Berry's classic disposition type 3 was most interesting. Beery
said "Where type #2 will allow you to do all the work, type
3 will do all the work for you. You only need to control its
In all my training experience and many things I've read, I
concur with Beery's discovery. The eyes play an enormous role
in horse training.
To read more about Beery and his methods, you can go to this
There is still more to know about the horse's eyes.
For one, when you work with a horse, it's advisable to look
him in the eye a lot. Why? Because horse's an extremely observant
animal and they study their surroundings. If you're in their
surroundings they are studying you too. If they see you looking
at them in the eye it sends a message to them about who is
If you're working with a horse that's cunning and known to
run over people then you rarely want to lose eye contact with
this horse. Sometimes when you look away for just a second
he knows it's his chance to charge at you. But keeping eye
contact helps minimize that possibility.
Although a horse's ears are part of the plan. the eyes are
how the horse interprets his world. The horse gladly desires
to approach an object or person that has caused him pleasure.
Likewise, he runs from objects or persons that cause him pain.
(Pain could be a number of things like work, misuse of aids
such as spurs, being talked to in an abrasive manner, etc.)
Lots of horse owners get discouraged with their horse because
they develop bad habits. One particular habit is kicking.
I once read a great book on horses and it said this about
If a horse kicks at a man and sees he inspired the man with
fear and makes him draw back, he will remember this and kick
any man who goes near him whom he fears or has the memory
of displeasure with.
Note the author said "...and see he inspired the man with
fear". The point is the horse "saw" the man was inspired with
fear. The horse used one of his greatest tools...his eyes.
If a man shows no fear and knows how to handle a kicker, the
horse will "see" he cannot inspire fear in the man and be
less apt to kick (although, if confirmed in the habit of kicking,
it may require several training sessions to eradicate this
from the horse's memory).
In short, the eyes are the mirror of the horse's mind. Quiet
eyes indicate quietness and sincerity. Quick and lively eye
indicate vivacity. Restless eyes turning in all directions
indicate suspicion and show the horse is studying all around
him and may perhaps be preparing some freak of self will.
Turbid eyes indicate fear or anger.
There's a proverb that tells us not to trust the horse that
shows the white of his eyes. Perhaps it's because the white
shows when he's looking sideways and he's intent on seizing
the moment when no attention is being paid for escape or attack.
I could go on about the eyes but this hopefully gives you
a great idea as to how important the horse's eyes are. Make
it a habit to continually watch the horse's eyes. Learn what
he is thinking by learning his eyes.
Copyright © Andy Curry - http://www.horsetrainingandtips.com
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and
author of several best selling horse training and horse care
books. For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com.
He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.htm.
Article Source: http://www.hotlib.com/articles
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