Working with Barn and Buddy Sour Horses

You try to go out for an enjoyable trail ride, but what you imagined as a peaceful ride over hill and dale turns into a battle of wills as your horse refuses to go forward, struggles to turn and head for home, and calls incessantly for his friends left at home. Or perhaps the horse

Targeting, Training Problems, & Timing: Equine Affaire ’16

Listen in to a segment of the demonstration by Angelo Telatin and I on how the basics of learning theory can be applied to work through behavior problems. We talk about how the principles of positive reinforcement, focusing on what you want, and how poor timing can actually cause many “bad” behaviors. During the talk,

Using Food to Train Your Horse

Using food in training is still a controversial topic in many horse training arenas. Will giving treats cause my horse to become mouthy or pushy? How do I start using food as a learning tool? What kind of treats should I use? Food is a powerful tool in training. We can use it to help

How to Stop Bad Behavior

Horses can do many things that are annoying, frustrating, or downright dangerous. Take Finn, the young horse who likes to nip and bite when he gets bored, or Winter, the pony who would rather buck than trot with a rider. What about Sydney, the Thoroughbred gelding who slams on the brakes at every other jump,

Why “Being the Boss” of the Horse Isn’t Necessary

Many riders have been told that the only way to be successful with horses, to be able to teach and train them, is through first “being the boss”. It is often taught that aggression is a necessary part of working with horses because of their social structure and need for a clear “pecking order.” I

How Long Should Your Reins Be?

Rein handling is one of the most essential skills of riding. Our reins provide communication with the horse at one of the most sensitive areas of their body – the mouth. In order to use the reins for communication we need to be able to maintain an appropriate length of rein and be able to

When Do You Need a Bigger Bit?

The title to this post is a bit misleading as the answer to most problems where people begin considering a “bigger bit” is not to change the horse’s mouthpiece but instead to reconsider the horse’s training. Problems like head tossing, pulling, rooting, or rushing may initially seem as though they could be fixed by simply

Wendy Murdoch: Finding New Possibilities

As riders, we all have things that hold us back. Often there are little patterns of movement or areas of tension that make use feel as though we can’t find our balance, like we need to constantly grip the saddle, or that we just can’t get “in sync” with the horse’s movement. Wendy Murdoch is

The Importance of Turnout & The Dangers of Stall Confinement

I have always felt strongly about the importance of turnout for horses. I think horses are happier and healthier when they have the freedom to move around, socialize with other horses, roll in the dirt, and generally just be a horse! Just as chronic stress can create many problems for humans, the stress of confinement

Buying Your First Horse

Buying your first horse, or any horse, can be an intimidating process – what kind of horse is best, where do you look, what should you expect in the process? In this video, I am going to share a few tips for what you should consider before you even go out to look at a