Pulling back when tied up

March 29th, 2014

Pulling back when tied up
Last week, I read an article in an old issue of a prominent horse magazine on tying a horse for the first time. There were graphic photos of a terrified horse pulling back and fighting against a post. The article recommended the use of hobbles and 'special' headstalls while the horse pulled back. Here's my reply: Your magazine includes an article on tying a horse for the first time. The approach recommended can only be described as callous and cruel. Tying a horse to a solid object and inte...

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How to Catch a Horse

March 12th, 2014

How to Catch a Horse
If you walk into the paddock and your horse runs away, guess what? Your horse isn’t bad, naughty or disrespectful. It’s absolutely nothing to do with being his leader or showing him that you’re the alpha horse. The plain fact is, your horse is worried and nervous and doesn’t want to come near you. Never ever chase a horse that’s hard to catch. Remember, he’s nervous and worried and doesn’t want to come anywhere near you. Chasing a horse that’s alr...

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Handling a 'Mad' Horse

February 26th, 2014

Handling a 'Mad' Horse
“Watch out for this horse. He’s mad. His mother was mad and his full sister was even worse. All this breed are bad.” I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard stories like this. Unfortunately, people are always ready to blame their horse when things go wrong. The truth is that no horse is mad or bad. The horse in the slideshow has never been taught to be confident with people. He’s frightened and nervous and hasn't been shown that there’s a plac...

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The Truth About Desensitisation

February 22nd, 2014

The Truth About Desensitisation
  This mare has been ridden about fifteen times. This is her fifth five minute lesson with the whip. The most misunderstood part of horse training is the idea that you have to get horses 'used to' new things. Many trainers advocate to keep exposing horses to things that frighten them and they'll eventually 'get used to it'. Others say, when a horse is frightened of something, just keep frightening him with it and he'll eventually become 'desensitized'. I wonder… There...

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Starting a horse under saddle - The first lesson

February 17th, 2014

Starting a horse under saddle - The first lesson
The first slideshow shows a three year old mare’s first lesson with me. Initially she’s nervous and worried and has no idea what I want her to do, so I give her the answer before I set any problem. I start by rubbing her head. I show her it’s always easy and pleasant to keep her head with me. Next, I apply a small amount of pressure at her rear end. After a couple of circles, I stop her and rub her head. I show the mare that the easy and pleasant thing is to keep her head ...

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Always aim for perfection but be happy with improvement

February 6th, 2014

Always aim for perfection but be happy with improvement
At every stage of every horse’s education, you should always aim to improve. Even if you’re walking a circle, aim for a ‘perfect’ circle – where the horse walks the exact track you ask, at the exact speed you ask, with the exact bend you ask. This may sound easy but it’s actually very difficult. These ‘perfect’ circles are what I always aim for. Whether a horse has been ridden once or one thousand times, until he walks exactly where and how you ...

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Teaching a horse to move forward and give

February 4th, 2014

Teaching a horse to move forward and give
The nine year old thoroughbred on this video had learned to resist instead of move forward and give when asked. A horse that’s confident and relaxed thinks on a very simple level. When you tap your horse on the rump or touch him with your leg or spur, he moves forward and the tapping, leg or spur stops. Your horse soon learns how to make you stop tapping or spurring – just move forward and the pressure (tapping, leg or spur) is removed. Simple and uncomplicated. Timing is crucial...

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A Magic Horse Training Fix

January 31st, 2014

A Magic Horse Training Fix
  This horse has learned to resist, instead of move forward and give. Everyone who rides or handles horses will have problems at some point. Everyone has trouble at some stage. You may have a problem cantering on the correct lead; you may have a problem making your horse go; you may have a problem making your horse stop…. The list is endless. Sometimes, problems develop into something more serious. Your horse may learn undesirable behaviours and even become dangerous t...

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