Arabian horses are symbols of the Bedouin culture. They were raised as partners and friends, living with the family and being entrusted with responsibility in their desert homeland. This horse readily bonds with humans, and traits of intelligence, curiosity and trust remain with many individuals today. Horses are trained as individuals, and while Arabs are renowned for their athleticism and mental acuity, they are not handled any differently than any other similar type of horse.
Timid or Young Horses
Use a rope halter and lunge line, or 12-foot or longer lead rope. Train the horse according to its age and temperament. Young and timid horses require a more careful approach. Approach wary or timid horses in a nonthreatening manner. Have treats available and only halter the horse when it is relaxed. Use praise and smooth, quiet and nonaggressive body position. Do not rush or become agitated. Be sure the horse remains focused and calm. Do not try to force the horse to stand still; let the horse move but continue to calmly try to slow the horse down by soft language or sounds and passive body language. Do not make eye contact or use strong driving aids. Ask the horse to back from you and then ask it to come forward. Do this repeatedly. Build trust and confidence by asking the horse to yield its hindquarters. Stand at the shoulder and gesture toward the horse's hindquarters until the horse shifts them away from you. Do not rush or scare the timid or young horse.
Curious, Calm and Bold Horses
Train enthusiastic and bolder horses by asking them to back away and then move toward you. Ask the horse to move its hindquarters away from you. Use only the amount of expressiveness of request necessary to get a response. Stop the request and the action immediately when you receive a response. Praise any response, or attempt, from the horse. Never punish a horse. Repeat the request until an attempt, or the desired response, is achieved. Be prepared to move the training along with these horses. Do not let them get bored.
Teaching Focus and Yielding to Pressure Cues
Gain the horse's respect and focus by asking it to move in a circle around you. Drive the horse away and forward by gesturing toward the hindquarters. Direct the horse by pointing with the leading hand. Keep your body aligned with the horse's shoulder. Be sure the horse is calm and relaxed. Agitated horses should be asked to circle with the handler expressing calm and nonthreatening body language. Ask the horse to change direction every few rotations. Always praise the horse for correct responses. Never punish the horse. Correct incorrect responses by asking for the correct response again.
Adding Tack and Bitting the Horse
Begin to introduce the saddle once the horse knows how to back, lead and yield its hindquarters on cue. Desensitize the horse to the tack and then lunge the horse with the saddle. Add the bridle. Ask the horse to accept the bit. Stand near the horse's shoulder and take an even pressure on the reins. Release immediately when the horse backs. Do this several times. Take one rein and ask the horse to bend its head to the pressure. Accept any attempt at bending. Scratching the horse's side (where the girth rests) helps the horse to give to the bit and to understand the release of pressure. Continue until the horse brings its head around to where the girth sits. Do this on both sides.
Use safety equipment when working with the horse. Ask for assistance with a dangerous or overly reactive horse. Understand that horse training is dangerous and can lead to the injury of the handler, viewers and horse.