The Truth About Desensitisation

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 … Read more

The Horse as a Prey Animal

Every time I pick up a horse magazine, I read that horses are prey animals and humans are predators. Many articles say horses are ‘naturally’ afraid of humans because humans are predators. Others say it’s ‘natural’ for a horse to buck when the saddle is introduced, because a ‘dead animal’ is being strapped onto their … Read more

Advance and Retreat and Learning Theory

In my opinion, advance and retreat is the key to introducing everything to every horse without frightening them. Equally, when a horse has previously been frightened by a specific item, advance and retreat must be used to overcome the bad experience. When advance and retreat is used, two components of learning theory are at work: … Read more

The Respect Myth

I’ve heard at least a thousand times that you must gain your horse’s respect. It’s a mantra parroted off by horse people everywhere and many trainers say that respect is the first thing you must achieve. There are countless videos, articles and books on how to gain respect from your horse. Respect is often explained … Read more

Give the Flap the Flick

When you ride your horse, many trainers would have you believe that the biggest problems to overcome are plastic bags blowing in the wind, umbrellas suddenly opening and a world covered in plastic tarps. The first thing these trainers do is frighten young horses with plastic bags, flags, tarps, umbrellas and goodness knows what else. … Read more