Asking a horse to drop their head with a soft and immediate response is one of the best things you will ever train into your horse. When a horse is stressed and cortisol is running freely, the head will be high and stiff, somewhat like a periscope in some horses! In this state there is little you can do with your horse until the cortisol levels have dropped. Horses do not learn anything at all when they are in a state of stress. Also there are obvious safety concerns for the
In the horse world, there are two main types of people, horse riders and horse trainers. While trainers are an excellent option for starting young horses, they’re not always the best solution for problems with older horses. This article will discuss some of the reasons why this is so, and suggest that a more effective path may be to train them yourself. Riders have lessons focusing on their riding position and application of the aids. If a rider has a problem with their horse
Recently a student pointed out that my work is defined by how I listen to horses. The traditional way of interacting with horses is to tell them what to do, its unidirectional communication. The human tells the horse what to do and the horse must do it. If the horse protests, then the human gets stronger and ‘shows the horse who is the boss’ until the horse does it.
This is how I was taught and this is what I did for many years. I was good at it and most horses did what I a
In the Spanish language, horses are caballos. Recently I was staying with a Colombian family who had a large farm in the Andes that had been in the family for generations. It was accessible only on horseback; people and supplies have to be taken up and down the mountain using horses. The horses are mountain bred, they live and work there. They are strong, intelligent and willing, with the ability to climb up and down mountains effortlessly. They’re all bone, muscle and sinew,
Many people use positive reinforcement with horses, instead of or as well as other forms of training (negative reinforcement, habituation, desensitisation, shaping, classical conditioning). As with all horse training it helps to understand the theory behind the method.
Research indicates that positive reinforcement may be more effective than negative reinforcement, and holds many benefits for equine well-being. Horses learn quicker, retain the learned tasks longer, experien
When a young horse misbehaves, the lead mare may send them out of the herd, running them in circles until they give signals saying they accept the rules of the herd structure. Running a horse around you simulates this situation and creates a response similar to the above. It’s used to engender connection and develop a healthy relationship between human and horse, to burn off excess energy and to condition horses. It can be done using a lunge rope, a 12” training rope or no ro
This heading sounds a bit like a topic for a conference, not the horse paddock. But it’s a very important subject to be aware of when working with horses. A confident human is one who feels solid in the world; they have a good idea of where they are and what’s coming up, within a flexible framework. The same goes for a horse, in order to feel confident they need to understand and accept what is currently happening and be fully prepared for upcoming events. Frequently when I’m