No Method, No Worries

A fellow rang the other day to buy a copy of my book. ‘I need it straight away because I’m breaking-in my horse and tomorrow I have to tie him up and put the bit on for the first time. Everyone says I have to tie him up before I ride him. Is the book … Read more

Desensitisation Doesn’t Make Sense

A common theme doing the rounds at the moment is that you must desensitise certain parts of a horse and sensitise other parts, in order to ride him and control him. Apparently, you must desensitise his girth area so he won’t buck and you must sensitise his mouth so he stops. You must desensitise his … Read more

Be Careful of Quacks

We’re often told that horses are mimics and will copy whatever their ‘leader’ does. I’ve seen trainers run along in a trotting motion when they want a horse to trot alongside them. Even better, when they want the horse to canter, I’ve seen trainers skip along pretending to canter, thinking that the horse will copy … Read more

Kick the Habituation Habit

Many equine scientists say that horses must be habituated to every situation – a new stable, the saddle and girth, the headstall, bit and bridle, the saddle cloth, the rug and on and on it goes.  If you ask ten different people what they mean by habituation, you’ll get ten different answers. Habituation seems to … Read more

Horse Training It’s Time for a Change

Everywhere I go I see older horses that are frightened of humans. Riding horses, brood mares, competition horses. Horses of all shapes and sizes, from four years old to twenty four years old. I see horses that are nervous and worried every time they’re approached, let alone handled or ridden. I’ve read that’s there’s been … Read more

Pressure and Relief in Horse Training

Most horse training is based on pressure and relief. Everyone uses pressure and relief in some way shape or form, even those who say they don’t. Pressure can be described as anything that a horse finds uncomfortable or unpleasant or worrying. No matter how slight the discomfort, unpleasantness or worry may be, it’s still pressure. … Read more

Of Horse Herds and Pecking Orders

In every group of horses, there’s always some form of pecking order. When you feed a mob of horses in the paddock, there’s always one horse who will chase the others away so he can eat more. If you take this boss horse away, another will take his place. In the wild, a stallion keeps … Read more

Your Horse Never Stops Learning

Whether you realise it or not, your horse learns from every interaction he has with you. Every time you go near your horse, you teach him something. Even when you clean his stable, you teach him something. Every time you ride your horse, you teach him something. Horses don’t think, ‘We’re out on the trail … Read more

No More Flags on Sticks

Lots of trainers tie a plastic bag or a flag on the end of a stick and call it a ‘training tool’. When the stick is used, the plastic bag/flag makes a whooshing noise that frightens horses every time it’s waved near them. If a horse is already worried or frightened when you approach, you … Read more