Training Exercises: The Squeeze

Years ago my dog mysteriously got out of my backyard and into the neighbor’s back yard. I asked the neighbor’s 4-year-old boy, my dog’s best friend, if he had any ideas how it happened. He ran on his stubby little legs to the back corner of the yard where the back fence met the side… Read More Training Exercises: The Squeeze

Training Exercises: Lateral Flex

Teaching Your Horse the Lateral Flex The object of this exercise is to teach your horse to move his neck and shoulders: to bend and flex laterally (left to right and vise versa). Lateral flexion is a HUGE basic lesson that all horses must learn on the way to training. Without it there is no… Read More Training Exercises: Lateral Flex

Training Exercises: Vertical Flex

The Goal The goal of this exercise is to teach your horse to yield to pressure at his poll. This is first used to induce a horse to lower his head for easy haltering or bridling. It is further used to start your horse lowering his head and tucking his nose in preparation for Collection.… Read More Training Exercises: Vertical Flex

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

Training Theory: Patterning

Horses are creatures of habit. They quickly adopt patterns as a way of life. Example: If they move to a pasture in the daytime and come back to their paddock at night, they will move from one place to the other without guidance if the gate is open. A more dramatic example would be a… Read More Training Theory: Patterning

Training Theory: Retrospective Learning

The phenomenon whereby, as if by magic, a horse who is given time off with a fallow mind and no pressure suddenly becomes proficient at an exercise that eluded him when his trainer last left him. Learning takes place during an exercise in each of its phases: the introduction, the practice and the fine-tuning. However,… Read More Training Theory: Retrospective Learning

Training Theory: Shaping

Shaping is the term used for GRADUALLY lengthening or fine-tuning a response. ie: After your horse reliably backs up one step, start asking for two. When that is an easy task, ask for three etc. etc. Soon he will back clear across an arena with only the lightest pressure from the bit and your calves.… Read More Training Theory: Shaping

Training Theory: Introducing Maneuvers

Each time you introduce a new move, your horse is building on past maneuvers. That is one reason that it is advisable to follow the steps in the Horse Training Exercises in order. Each lesson builds on the previous lesson. You may not see the importance of any particular lesson at any particular time, but,… Read More Training Theory: Introducing Maneuvers

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: Release Training

The Three R’s of Horse Training: Release. Relax. Reward. Release training is the art of releasing a horse from pressure at the exact moment that he complies with your cue or request. It is the basis of all horse training – the holy grail of horse trainers. Horses don’t learn from the application of pressure.… Read More Training Theory: Release Training