Training Exercises: Disengage

Disengaging is a fancy way of saying that you want your horse to move away from you with the slightest touch. Teaching him (on the ground) how to disengage his rear, disengage his front, and as back up prepares him for many, many more maneuvers further in his training. We spent quite a bit of… Read More Training Exercises: Disengage

Training Exercises: Join Up

Joining Up is the first step in a partnership between you and your horse. It builds his trust and overcomes the “fight or flight” instinct inherent in all animals. The object of this lesson is to teach your horse that you are his leader and require his respect as well as friendship. You tell him… Read More Training Exercises: Join Up

Foal Imprinting

Imprinting endows a foal with trust and willingness, and it takes fear of and struggle against humans away. Konrad Lorenz demonstrated how incubator-hatched geese would imprint on the first suitable moving stimulus they saw within what he called a “critical period” between 13–16 hours shortly after hatching. When I was about 12 yrs old, my… Read More Foal Imprinting

Horse Basics: Pasture Etiquette

Horses are natural herd animals and very insecure, uncomfortable, even unhappy, when not in the presence of other horses. There are many communication signals used by horses to understand each other’s intentions. Understanding horse communication is important for horse training, as most techniques try to closely simulate a horse’s natural communication skills. Lead (dominant) Mare:… Read More Horse Basics: Pasture Etiquette

Training Theory: Anticipation

Anticipation can be a positive or a negative depending on what your horse is anticipating. If he anticipates a coming maneuver (such as the coming jump) when he feels the slightest signal from the reins, and he prepares for some yet-to-be-requested action by heightening his alertness, his anticipation is a good, measured response: Signal, Prepare… Read More Training Theory: Anticipation

Training Theory: Pressure

There are two types of Pressure: Physical pressure and Intention pressure (threat). Physical pressure: that is the tactile feelings such as the bit against the bars in his mouth or the rope halter bearing down on the poll at his head. It can be as uncomfortable as necessary to move him, or as subtle as… Read More Training Theory: Pressure

Training Theory: Fight or Flight

Threatened mammals (including horses) have built in instincts for life preservation. When threatened, they can either turn and run or stand and fight. This is called the “Fight or Flight” reflex. Because horses are ill-equipped to fight (they have no horns, fangs, or other very effective fighting weapons,) they generally choose flight. Predator species are… Read More Training Theory: Fight or Flight

Training Theory: Natural Horsemanship

In the early days of cowboys and vaqueros, horses were “broke” to ride. The emphasis of most horse training was on overpowering a horse or wearing him down until he accepted a rider on his back. Natural Horsemanship has been a growing trend. There are several famous natural horse trainers who propose that the best… Read More Training Theory: Natural Horsemanship