About Horses, Horsemanship, and Us

Horse training is the music of psychological and physical pressure orchestrated by timing. It is a waltz or a tango between two synchronized partners: A horseman and his horse.

The information and opinions presented here are meant for anyone who is as passionate about horses as we are. The pictures and videos are neither professional nor perfect representations of finished horses, trainers nor techniques. We use them for our own critiques and fine-tuning our own performances. Camera work and horse work are sometimes not compatible due to time and personnel restraints, so we take photos and videos when we can and try to make them as instructive as possible after the fact.

This is a compendium of life at the Kristull Ranch in Austin, Tx. It was started in 2010 to chronicle the journey through the world of horsemanship that is ongoing at the ranch. As we learned together, the site has become a sort of Horsemanship for Dummies.

Most articles are written by myself, Jackie Nelson. I am an animal behavior specialist and horse trainer. I have been training dogs and horses for many years. I have a degree in Social Psychology and 40 years experience teaching animals and their humans how to maximize their bonds and live together as mutually respected and enjoyed companions.

While I have trained several horses, I do not train professionally for other people nor for compensation. My interests are strictly a personal passion and spiritual journey accompanied by my friends. I learned a lot along the way and still have much to learn.

You will probably notice that I am older. Many photographs were taken when I was just 63. The movies weren’t added until I was 70. In the wake of age and accidents, my physical body has gotten more arthritic, but my passion has not waned.

See the rest of our volunteer staff of handlers, helpers, and trainers below. We have each been a training dummy, a crash dummy and just plain “a dummy” at one time or another. It’s been fun. It’s been serious. It is always a challenge. And it is always rewarding.


Horse Training Theory contains some perspectives grounded in my Psychology background and are a little different approach than you might find elsewhere.

Horse Training Exercises is an attempt to instruct the reader in the actual, hands-on techniques I have used to train one horse or another. I have included many exercises whose details were gleaned from other, more prestigious trainers in the world of natural horsemanship as well as my own experiences with my own reasoned techniques. If the reader is likely to run into one road-block or another during a particular exercise, I have tried to anticipate it and offer a solution.

I realize that there are “a million ways to skin a cat”, and every horse and every training situation is unique. Most of my horse training is directed toward the weekend rider rather than the professional or show horse. These advice and experience pieces are not meant to be the be-all or end-all of horse training. But if my enthusiasms and experiences can help you on your own journey I will be gratified. In the meantime, I love documenting my own path as a way to “chew and digest” my own lessons as I go along.

I would like to thank Kristull Ranch in Austin, Texas for most of the animals and people presented in the pictures and videos on this blog. Most of the horses pictured are beautiful examples of the horses bred there and trained by myself and my very talented helpers and handlers.

Please contribute. We can all benefit from your insights and experiences as well.

Note that advice presented here is neither veterinary nor prescriptive in nature but offered only as an introduction to the topics addressed.  Please follow-up with extensive research and talk with your veterinarian and other equine specialists if you suspect that your horse has a medical condition.

Additionally, horse riding and training can be dangerous – even to the most experienced rider or handler. Not all methods work on all horses. Instruction presented here is an opinion based on personal experience and the published experience of noted horse training professionals. While we try to present relevant and valuable content, under no circumstances does horse-pros.com or its members or contributors take any responsibility for the well-being of any horse or person using any method outlined here.

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