Horse Training Articles by Expert Equestrians
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Horse Training Articles

Advice from Professional Horse Trainers

Mar 16, 2020
The Equestrian Show World Grinds to a Halt
National and Florida Horse Events Canceled
Resumption of the 2020 horse show season remains to be seen. With the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo uncertain and the duration of the Coronavirus threat unknown, how do equestrians plan?
It would seem prudent to continue training programs for the horses and riders to keep them in top form. Riders and equine support personnel will have to take it upon themselves to take the necessary precautions both inside and outside their horse universe.
Horseback riding for pleasure or for practice can be a great stress reliever, and when CDC recommended practices are followed, it should be relatively safe.

Dec 5, 2017
What It’s Really Like to Train Your Own Young Horse
Seija Samoylenko
Admit it, we’ve all been enamored at one point or another about how great it would be to get a young horse and end up at a CCI4* or [insert level here]. Often build-your-own appears to be the only option because young horses are often cheaper than made horses. But as someone that has actually bred and is attempting to ride a young horse, I can tell you the three truths that I have found. More info...

Apr 28, 2016
6 Overlooked Training Principles
If you're training a horse, you probably devote a lot of energy to technique. Technique isn't everything, though. Here are six useful horse-training concepts, often overlooked, that'll help you train a better horse.

1. Train off the rail.

Any horse benefits from this, even one destined for rail-class competition, and here's why: When a horse is ridden out in the open, he has to take all his guidance cues from the rider and learns to pay attention to what the rider's asking him to do. But if he's allowed to use the crutch of following along a fence (also a crutch for the rider), he soon gets used to using the fence as his autopilot guidance system. That allows him to tune the rider out to a great degree, contributing to problems with the next overlooked principle. More info...

Apr 26, 2016
Ask Our Expert - Tom Curtin
Photo by Ross Hecox
Q: My 4-year-old gelding is very quiet and has a lot of miles on him, but not a lot of formal training. He’s willing and easy to get along with, but he’s also lazy. I have trouble getting him to pick up his right lead and stay in it. The only way I can get him into it is to stop him and do a rollback to the right, and then he picks it up 90 percent of the time. Sometimes he’ll break down into a trot, though, and when he starts loping again he’ll be in the left lead. I want to show him in ranch pleasure, so I need him to get more consistent and pick up the correct lead from a walk, and stay in that lead at a lope. Do you have any suggestions? More info...

Jan 14, 2015
Sitting on the fence no help in training horses
Neil Davis

This slideshow sees the foal being introduced to a saddle blanket and girth for the first time.
The foal has never been frightened and doesn't expect to be frightened when new things are introduced. He's been taught to stand and whatever worries him will soon be removed.

Jan 14, 2015
Everyone's Goal, A Confident and Relaxed Foal. Chapter 13 #8
After a week of lessons this foal is confident and relaxed. This attitude can be achieved with every horse.

Jan 14, 2015
Starting a Horse Under Saddle. Chapter 8 #9
My first twenty minute lesson with this three year old mare, showing the preparation for starting her under saddle.

Jan 14, 2015
Handling the head shy horse and The hard to catch horse Chapter 19 #20
How to handle a horse that doesn't want a human hand near his head and ears. Learn how to catch any horse without chasing him in a round yard.

Jul 19, 2014
Improve Your Position Over Jumps
Greg Best describes "the perfect leg position" and the role of a rider's knees as pivot points while jumping. More info...

Jun 21, 2014
Show Prep Tips Designed to Keep Your Horse Healthy
By Katherine J. Meitner
You've been training and practicing for months. Your mare is right where you want her to be, and now it's time to get to the show and give her a chance to strut her stuff. But you can't just show up at the show like you do when you practice. You need to primp, groom, tweak—anything you can think of to make her look absolutely stunning. But are there long-term effects? Could you be doing something that might not be in your horse's best interest? More info...

Apr 30, 2014
How to Do a Half Halt
Erin King
Erin King of All The Kings Horses explains how to do a half halt with your horse to improve collection in this free video. More info...

Jan 9, 2014
Western Dressage Exercise – Shoulder-In on the Circle
Western Dressage
Correct execution of shoulder-in has remained throughout history as a prime means of straightening the horse. Due to its suppling effect, shoulder-in allows us to equalize both sides of the horse’s body, bringing his spine into balanced alignment and helping alleviate side dominance. Aside from its exceptional loosening benefit, though, shoulder-in provides a marvelous strengthening tool. By placing the horse in this position where he must reorganize his balance, the horse learns to engage the deep pelvic stabilizing muscles while shortening one side of his body and simultaneously lengthening the other. As his body weight shifts towards the hind end as necessary to move the front end laterally with ease and freedom, key muscles around the horse’s hip and stifle joints engage to adduct the leg and support joint angle.
The following exercise creates a smooth transition into shoulder-in by moving into it from an established bend. This progressively leads the inside hind leg. It should be noted, as is true of all lateral exercises, it is quite possible to execute shoulder-in not only incorrectly but in ways that bring the horse no gymnastic improvement at all. This happens when riders attempt the movement before their horse possesses sufficient balance. As a general rule, you should only do exercises such as the following when your horse is able to maintain a rhythmic jog in a steady bend and frame on 10-meter circles each direction. More info...