Why Can such an ‘Average’ Horse Achieve at the ‘Highest” Level?

Good horse people know that in many equestrian disciplines, success depends on an optimal partnership between horse and rider, rather than excellent individuals (either horse or rider alone).
There is a small amount of research which demonstrates that a rider’s emotional state can directly influence that of the horse. Horses are known to react differently when stroked by someone with a negative attitude to them compared to someone with a more positive attitude. They may also detect changes in rider behaviour due to the emotional state of their rider (think competition anxiety, being angry, feeling frustrated, or in a hurry).

If a horse you work with is facing behavioural or performance challenges, it is well worth considering what you (or the person working with the horse) is potentially feeling and what influence you/they may be having on the horse.

Although there is certainly room for more research in the area, recent findings also suggest that both the rider’s and horse’s personality affect the level of cooperation between the two: some horses suit some riders.

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