Recent Posts

Exercises: Groundwork – Fence / video

The fence exercise consists in teaching your horse to pick you up from a fence or from a mounting stool for instance. Interest is obvious for those who mount high horses, as for those who start problem horses that would be difficult to mount from the ground. This is actually useful for all horses as it will help to build confidence and partnership between horses and riders.

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Resolve to love your horse

Resolve to love your horse

Lately, I have been asked the question: "Do you really reward your horse all the time?" It might sound like the answer is obvious, but I think it is...

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Exercises: Groundwork – Sending / video

Sending a horse is one of the most useful exercises we can perform from the ground. Indeed, every day we are confronted to situations where pointing a direction and feeling our horse respond at once and without any fear or hesitation would be of great convenience: walking through a gate, getting out of the stall, loading into the trailer, and so on. This exercise is designed to teach a horse to move on a feel, trusting our decision and judgment.

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Books: A New Illustrated Edition of J.S. Rarey’s Art of Taming Horses / quote

J.S. Rarey is probably one of the firsts who helped to make Natural Horsemanship technique known to the public. He was probably also one of the first horse(business)men. John Rarey was an Ohio farmer of the 19th century who understood and applied the NH basics. He enounced three fundamental principles on which he built his theory:

  • That [the horse] is so constituted by nature that he will not offer resistance to any demand made of him which he fully comprehends, if made in a way consistent with the laws of his nature.
  • That he has no consciousness of his strength beyond his experience, and can be handled according to our will without force.
  • That we can, in compliance with the laws of his nature, by which he examines all things new to him, take any object, however frightful, around, over, or on him, that does not inflict pain — without causing him to fear.

These principles are clearly related to some concepts already mentioned in Natural Horsemanship: consistency, gentleness, desensitizing. It is quite interesting to read along the book some concepts and ideas that were contemporary to Xenophon more than 2,000 years ago.

Resources: book A New Illustrated Edition of J.S. Rarey's Art of Taming Horses
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Books: Lyons on Horses / quote

Resources: book Lyons on Horses by John Lyons
I have had the opportunity to see Lyons-program followers working and I wondered why they looked so distant from their horses. The reading of this book explained it all.

John Lyons understands the mechanics of NH (Natural Horsemanship) but has no feeling with horses, he is not able to communicate with horses _ which is the big difference with Tom Dorrance for instance. John Lyons’ understanding of horses is purely mechanic: horses are binary animals, unable to think or feel, unable to understand.

All his program is based on conditioning a horse to give one specific response to one specific cue:

If we set up the condition often enough, and we get the same response consistently, then the condition becomes a cue for a specific, desired reaction or response.

Lyons on Horses, John Lyons

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How to mount a horse? / video

I might look presumptuous, to talk about mounting a horse, yet I saw some so-called riders having quite disturbing habits: pulling hard on the mouth, or actually breaking their horse’s back to the point that it was about to fall down… Hopefully, most people are more careful, yet a few tips might be helpful.

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How to saddle a horse? / video

Unfortunately, most of the time, classic horsemanship leaves no place to such desensitizing, which eventually leads to problem horses: fidgety horses, animals moving when you come with the saddle, others biting when you cinch up, and so one. There are three steps in desensitizing a horse to the saddling process: the pad, the saddle, the cinch.

All the time you will spend to do the following work with your horse is an investment that will be rewarded a hundred times. Think about that: you will ride your horse for more than 15 years, so what about spending a couple of hours to get it used to such important pieces of equipment?

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Every situation is an opportunity for education

Every situation is an opportunity for education

The other day, I was preparing pancakes and my son came with a question: "why do you add baking powder?", and here I go for a casual lesson about...

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How to desensitize a horse to the rope? / video

Why should you desensitize your horse to the rope? The answer is obvious for ranch workers and ropers, yet such exercise should not be forgotten by all the others.

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Exercises: Groundwork – Half Circle / video

The Half Circle exercise is a continuation of the Full Circle. It is strongly recommended to blend both exercises as soon as you master them both. Actually, it is only one exercise cut in two parts so we can learn it _ horses do not need this to understand and perform. The purpose of this exercise is to improve the mobility of the horse, its capacity to move the hind end from the front end separately.

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