Teaching a horse to move forward and give

A horse that’s confident and relaxed thinks on a very simple level. When you tap your horse on the rump or touch him with your leg or spur, he moves forward and the tapping, leg or spur stops. Your horse soon learns how to make you stop tapping or spurring – just move forward and … Read more

Teach your horse to stop

We should try to use as little unpleasantness as possible at every phase of horse training. Everyone thinks horses stop when you pull on the reins. However, before you apply pressure on the bit, bring your legs on and sit in the stand and relax position. If your horse is ‘giving’ and ‘listening’, he’ll understand … Read more

A Horse’s Memory

A lady bought a horse to one of my clinics and said, ‘I’m having trouble with flying changes. Can you teach him to change leads for me. I’m doing dressage and I need flying changes.’ There are many steps that lead to a correct flying change. Your horse must be able to walk, trot and … Read more

Give a Little Bit

When I was about fourteen, one of my chores after school was to exercise our racehorse. My father always said, ‘Just sit quietly and canter him up the hill. Don’t take hold of him. He’ll pull if you take a firm grip and you won’t be able to hold him.’ I can remember the horse … Read more

The Best Laid Plans

When I trained horses for a living, I rode between eight and fifteen horses every day. Each horse was at a different stage of training and each horse reacted differently on any particular day. Half the time I couldn’t even remember where I was up to with them. It didn’t matter because each horse soon … Read more

Mind Over Muscle

If you watch a week-old foal playing in the paddock, you’ll see that he already knows how to walk, trot, canter, do flying changes, turns, spins, levade, piaffe, passage, extended trot/canter/gallop and every other movement you ever dreamed of. When we ride, the problem we have is to convince our horses to perform these movements … Read more

How to Teach Your Horse to Back Up

Teaching a young horse to back up should always be one of the last things you do. Backing up is actually an extension of moving forward correctly and is quite an advanced movement for a horse. Though every young horse needs to be taught to back up, it must never be the first thing you … Read more

Why Your Horse Feels Soft or Hard

People often describe how their horse feels when they’re riding. Some say their horse is soft in the mouth and light and supple. Some say their horse is stiff and hard and they need to flex him to one side to soften his neck and poll. Others say their horse is hard in the mouth … Read more

A Bit of Bit Advice

Walk into any saddlery and you’ll see many different types of bits. There are hundreds of different types of snaffle bits – all shapes and sizes, smooth metal, rough metal, twisted wire etc etc. There are hundreds of different types of curb bits – short shanks, long shanks, spoons in the horse’s mouth, nose pieces … Read more