Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Santa Barbara Horse Show: Most Appreciative

I love to see riders give their horses a big pat, rub or hug of appreciation after completing a class.

I would never let my equitation instructor seeing me do this, though. He said it gets me off balance and if the horse suddenly spooked, I'd fall off. I could only reach back and pat their hind ends while he was around. I admit that sometimes I think the benefits are worth the risk.


Katharine Swan said...

Really? My trainer is always encouraging me to give Panama a pat or a rub on the neck or withers when he's been a good boy. I do it more when she's not there, because I get so focused in a lesson, so she reminds me to reward him for being good! :o)

I think you can lean forward a little bit without being off-balance. If you look at the first two riders in your pictures, they aren't leaning forward very much. The last rider is the one I love though -- that sunny smile on her face, and then hugging her horse! And look -- her horse is paying attention to what she's doing. I doubt he'd spook at that moment. He knows he has to take care of her.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you are centered and develop a deep enough heel you can stand up and lean all the way forward and still not fall off. Check out the Sally Swift Centered Riding video.

I hate seeing riders give horses big slaps. My horses don't even like pats; strokes, rubs and scratches only, please!

Anonymous said...

I can see the risk of being off balance like that, but I do it all the time. My horses get hugs and neck scratches for a job well done, and they love it as much as I do. I've never had one spook while I was doing it.. although my little arab nickers at me when I go to hug his neck. :)

Mikey said...

Me too!!! I love to see that, and we don't see it enough, imo. When I do a barrel run (lately on the monster horse who doesn't know beans) even if he sucked, he gets a pat when we're done for trying his heart out for me.
Even Wade says he's a lot kinder to animals since being with me. I've told him time and again, a pat or rub means a whole lot to an animal. When I was out the other day riding in the desert alone, I'd reach down and reassure my horse that hey, you're doing good, you're doing just what I want.
I just love to see that. More!!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Awwww! That's so sweet when the riders aren't so self-conscious that they feel comfie showing appreciation to their horses. I think most if not all horses thrive on that.

I especially love it when I see jockeys give a full out hug after a winning race. That horse and jockey just shared something together that only the two of them can understand, and that affectionate comraderie is warranted, and probably even due, I think.

I've been told by other folks, too that their instructors tell them only to pat or rub the neck, never to give a full out hug, for the same reason you mentioned.
Like you, though, I agree that the benefits outweigh the slight risk. :)


Promise said...

I find I talk to Promise a lot when riding - probably more than I did when we were showing. I have noticed it especially when I can feel (or see, if I'm on the ground) that she is really trying to get something new or something she finds difficult, or just doing her best at what she already knows. And, I often pair a "Good" or "Good girl" or "A little more" with a pat or a release and a wither scratch.

When we were showing, I always made sure to pat her or scratch her withers when the class was over - not only did it say, "You did good." but it helped her to relaxed and stand still. The judges love to see it, also.

Katharine Swan said...

I agree with the first Anonymous that if your balance and position is good, leaning forward shouldn't be a problem. I also agree about big slaps -- I give rubs and soft pats only.

JeniQ said...

It is awesome to see riders give their horse a pat, scratch, hug whatever it is after a job well done, or just done.

I'm always rewarding my girls when I'm riding. I reward them when they do good on the ground, why should it stop when I'm on their backs?

As for leaning forward and hugging? Well heck YES! I lay on Rosie's back and neck all the time. And at one time right after loosing my mother I thought I could ride and scheduled a light lesson and trail ride with my trainer. I was tacked, mounted before she got there and when she did she found me laying forward on Bonnie's neck sobbing into her mane. I couldn't stop and Bonnie just stood there waiting until someone pulled the lunatic off her back.

fernvalley01 said...

Smetimes you just gotta hug your horse ! An ddamn the consequences

Paint Girl said...

I also love to see people pat their horses after a win or after something good. I do it all the time, although I don't pat them hard, I rub them gently. Horses can feel a fly land on them so there is no need for hard patting. We have a trainer at the farm that pats her horses so hard after she is done riding you can hear it across the barn, and it is a big barn. I don't like that. Love gentle pats though, gotta reward!

Vaquerogirl said...

I am a big advocate of hanging, holding on, swinging from their tails, going under their bellies, everything and anything to get them use to the idea that humans can do anything they want and they, The Horse, will just stand there and be good.
If you ever have to have someone else ride your horse you are more assured that your horse won't be a total ass, or if you have to sell your horse ( gawd forbid!) he will be gentle and reliable for anyone to ride, increasing your market and thus the chances that your horse will go to a fantastic home and not a meat buyer.( like a broncy horse would).
I say shout, hug pat, bite, wave, hop up and down, stand, turn around,anything to show your horse you care.