Does my horse like his job? This is a question many of us horse owners ask ourselves. It is important to us to make sure our horses enjoy their jobs and do it to the best of their ability. Like humans, horses sometimes do not enjoy the jobs they are given. Sometimes a laid back gelding will not be cut out for the barrel pen, or a high strung mare might not enjoy slowly walking on the trails. That is okay! There is another job out there for them.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your horse doesn’t like his job. There are occasional “off” days which does not mean your horse hates his job. The constant daily struggle could very well mean he doesn’t enjoy what he is doing. Here are some ways to tell if your horse truly enjoys his job:
The biggest indicators are always the visual signs such as gritting teeth, pinning ears, wringing tails, resisting the bridle, ring sour, barn sour and pulling hard against the rider.
The less subtle cues are the ones to look for. A horse that is enjoying his job will have an interested and calm look to them. A horse that isn’t could show signs of: Worriedness in their eyes, boredom in their eyes, flicking ears, tension in the jaw, too many wrinkles around the mouth, lack of eye contact, lack of interest and tripping over their own feet.
If you are concerned that your horse may not enjoy his job, pay attention to the next few rides you have. If your horse shows any of these signs, try a few different disciplines to see if he enjoys it. You can go from there with your next steps!