Posts

5 Training Tools

Here are 5 principles that show how your horse’s mind works. They are the rules for how he learns things. I use these to retrain every behaviour problem that I get. If you understand them too, you will be able to keep your horse well trained.

Horses have to get used to perceived threats in order to survive. They can’t always be running away, wasting energy. We can systematically use this to get horses used to things they tend to be scared of.


Horses learn by trial and error. When the result of a certain behaviour is something they want, they are likely to repeat it. When the result is something they don’t want, they are less likely to repeat it. Horses don’t learn well from punishment.


Horses easily make associations. When one event predictably happens before another, the horse strings them together in its mind. These can be good or bad associations.


Horses get progressively better with practice. If they practice something we don’t want and it is somehow rewarding, they will get better at that just as much as practicing behaviour that we like.


Horses need clear consistency. They rely on the cues we give them, intentionally or not. They must always be able to tell what we are asking of them.


By knowing these things about horses, I can ‘speak’ in a way they understand. You can, too.

When you take lessons with your horse, I go through how these training tools work. When you register your horse for training, you get access to me during training to learn how I teach him and a lesson to put it into practice!

Register Now

This information was adapted from the International Society for Equitation Science’s (ISES)10 First Principles of Training.

What is Equitation Science?

Equitation Science is the measurement and interpretation of interactions between horses and their riders.

— Equitation Science (2010) Andrew McLean and Paul McGreevy

Equitation science is very exciting because it is bringing the advances of the training of most other animals into the horse world. Dog trainers, dolphin trainers, cat trainers almost without exception use Learning Theory.

Horse trainers are stuck in the world of tradition and trial-and-error.

Tradition is not a bad thing. The best horse trainers and riding coaches are already applying the principles of Learning Theory; that is why their training and teaching works. ‘Horse whisperers’, instructors, and the great modern trainers have made huge advances in the availability of horse knowledge.

But this is better.

What we can measure we can track, and what we track we can understand, and when we understand something we can explain it to others.

Equitation science opens up a conversation about how we can ethically use, train, and keep horses without subjecting them to abuse, accidental or not, so the horse industry does not tarnish its reputation.

Coaches can now teach their students how their horse thinks and learns, because when the student understands how the horse thinks about situations, they are much safer and can train the horse to become safer as well.

Trainers can put the tools into their clients’ hands to continue their horses training so the horse’s confusion is reduced and their welfare improved.

Science improves our ability to understand what we do with our horses and how we do it so we can get the best out of ourselves and our horses in the least invasive way possible.

How the Lesson Program Works

  • Two hour lessons: one hour of horse care and safety instruction and one of riding and handling.
  • Build confidence and develop leadership skills
  • Learn what is going on inside the horse’s brain

Our methods are different than other riding lesson programs, and each barn operates differently, so even if you have riding experience the first lesson will be on the ground. Groundwork is essential to our program, because it is on the ground that riders gain the confidence they need to control the horse, and it is on the ground that the horse gains the knowledge it needs to be ridden safely.

Learn the basics that will make everything else make sense. Click the button below to register or to contact me regarding your situation.

Register Now!