Rewarding the horse is one of the basic principles of good riding. Like each of us, horses also need to be rewarded
Rewards are very important for the horse. We too, when we do our job well, love being rewarded and praised by our parents, our teachers and friends. The same is true for horses. Horses can be rewarded in different ways: with a carrot or a treat, with a prolonged stroke, with a break and shifting to long reins during work, letting them graze on a patch of grass on the sideline after well performed exercise, taking them to graze after exercising, leaving them free in the paddock after work ... We must always bear in mind that the horses did not ask to be ridden and would prefer to be in a meadow grazing with its fellow horses according to their nature.
A stroke is even more important for the horse if accompanied by a gentle tone of voice that reassures the horse. Whenever the horse performs whatever we ask them to do correctly, perhaps showing us trust, overcoming its fears or being confident in following us at all times, we should reward and praise it. Just think of how much the horse gives us every day, the satisfactions and emotions that it gives us, rewarding it as it deserves is surely the least we can do for it.
You hear so much said about respect for horses. But what exactly does it mean to have respect for our horse? It means first of all ensuring that it leads a life that is suited to it needs; its needs are not having a designer cover or a box with golden decorations but instead ensuring it the daily movement necessary, possibly more than once a day, taking it to graze as nature imposes, or leaving it free in the paddock for a few hours a day. We should be observing it every day to check it is well, ensuring it has clean and dry bedding and taking care of its mane and feet. With regard to the actual riding, having respect for our horse means beautiful horse riding and limiting the use of tools to the bare minimum. Actions must be delicate, subtle, clear and simple so that the horse can understand.
Effectiveness is only obtained if the actions stem from a correct position in the saddle. Furthermore, having respect for our horse does not mean leaving it 'resting' in the box and then subjecting it to great efforts over the weekend, it means physically training it every day with progression, increasing its muscle strength and development, ensuring it has the 'breath' and 'good lungs' to perform its work to the best level possible and finishing up with the horse still fresh and alert, with the desire to leap around! Only in this way will it remain healthy for a long time and will be our faithful friend forever.