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Training Ideas Archive

Why your horse does what he does… A Simple Model for Understanding Behavior

Behavior can be both simple and complicated. Today, let’s focus on the simple. Understanding the behavior of your horse, what causes different behaviors, whether certain behaviors will continue, and how horses learn new behavior are all very important for your work with your horse. The more that we can understand how behavior works, the more

Fight, Flight, Freeze – It’s More Subtle than you think

“He just took off. I had no warning at all!” “I was just brushing her and then she bit me, I never saw itcoming!” Has your horse ever had a reaction that seemed completely unprompted? You were not expecting it, were not prepared for it, and then all of a sudden… it happened. They bucked,

Does Your Horse Like to be Petted?

Touch can be connecting, soothing, reassuring, and calming. But not when it is unwanted. We love to touch our horses. They are beautiful, from their shining coats and flowing manes and tails to their soft muzzles. We love to touch our horses, however, it is important to recognize if the horse also appreciates that touch.

Should You “Move Your Horse’s Feet”?

You may have been told at some point to “move your horse’s feet.” Whether intended as a punishment, a calming aid, or a way to get respect, this instruction is not necessarily good or bad advice. It depends on how it is done and the intention behind it. The biggest key to whether movement will

What Does That Mean? Subtle Signs of Stress in Your Horse

What do you do when you are stressed? Scratch your head, crack your knuckles, fidget with a pen, rub your hands together… Do you recognize any of these common moves in others? These are called pacifying or self-soothing behaviors and they are part of how our bodies regulate stress, whether that stress is from learning,

What Most Annoys Your Horse…About You?

If your horse could speak, what would they say? Do you think there is anything that your horse finds annoying or irritating? In last week’s video, we talked about listening to your horse, noticing small changes in behavior and subtle signs that give clues to what they may be feeling. Now we are focusing specifically

Don’t be a Horse Whisperer – Be a Horse Listener

The term “Horse Whisperer” brings up a variety of images for people. The term has mainly been used to describe a person who seems to have unusual affect or control over horses. While today, horse whispering may bring to mind thoughts of someone treating a horse softly and kindly, and connecting to them in a

How to Recognize Anxiety, Tension, or Pain in Your Horse

Bucking. Rearing. Biting. Spooking. Going Too Fast, Not going forward. There is one common factor in all of these problems. The problem is tension. Specifically, too much tension. Yes, the causes of these problems can vary, the horse may have physical pain, he may have had bad experiences in the past, or he may be

Your Horse Won’t Do What You Ask – Now What?

We make many requests of our horses, from putting their halter on in the field to standing patiently for the farrier, heading calmly down the trail, jumping around a course, or climbing into a trailer. Sometimes our horses just don’t respond the way we would like. They run away from us in the field, dance

How Does Your Horse Learn? Simple Explanation of Learning & Training

Have you ever given the right cue, but your horse still didn’t respond? If you’ve ever had this happen, then you know that communicating with a horse involves more than just the right position and the right cues… To be effective, confident riders, we need to know how horses learn, so that we can better