What is the proper technique for catching a horse for the
first time? I have a three year old, who has not been
handled or halter broke. I would like to know your procedure
for getting my hands on horses for the first time.
Spend some time feeding your young horse. Offer them grain
out of a bucket, don’t try to touch them, let them approach
you and resist the urge to reach out to them. As they become
comfortable and confident around the human, it will be
natural to rub and scratch them and then the haltering will
I bought two horses about three weeks ago. The mare is 9
years old and the other one is 5 years old. The thing is
that they want to be together all the time. As soon as I
bring the mare out, the 5 year old spins and does all kinds
of crazy things. He is broken but I'm afraid to ride him
because of the other one, and I as I don't have a school to
ride in it's in the open field. What can I do to correct the
situation? It's taking the fun away from me. Help?
I would suggest in your situation and your experience,
saddle up one and lead the other one so that they can be
together for the first ride or two until you get a feel for
how they do ride. I’d also suggest separating them at other
times by stabling them in different locations for a couple
hours at a time. When they spend all their time together
everyday, it’s a natural occurrence to become dependent on
I desperately need help with my 10 year old gelding. He has
some very nasty habits, such as rearing and bucking.
although he has improved since I bought him, he is still
very unpredictable. He has had a full check up and there are
no physical problems. Can you help?
Unless genuinely startled or stung by a bee, few horses
buck suddenly. Most have been sending signals that they’re
getting frustrated or scared, but the rider didn’t pick up
on the warnings. And unless the horse is really scared, if
he bucks suddenly, it’s because we missed something in his
Learn to recognize the signs that your horse is beginning to
get out of control, and then regain control before you have
a fight. If your horse speeds up but you haven’t told him to
do so, he’s taking matters into his own hands.
If you haven’t told him to move his hips to the left but
you’re going sort-of sideways down the trail, he’s telling
you he has something other than trial riding on his mind.
Don’t ignore your horse and intervene only when he’s doing
the wrong thing. Tell him what you want before his mind
wanders. By asking him for performance as you go down the
trial, you can make sure he’s thinking about your
priorities, not his own.
If you think your horse may be getting worried or
contemplating bolting for home, tell him to move his feet in
the direction you want them to move before he moves them on
his own. Replace his thought with your thinking and in the
process improve his responsiveness to some cue. The better
the horse’s training, the less likely that he’ll ever buck.
My horse is perfect in many ways, except I am having
serious trouble in getting him to stand still when I get on.
Can you help?
I’m sure that with a little guidance and the repetition of
some simple exercises, you could soon have your horse
listening to you. Here are some starting points.
Before even trying to mount, choose a spot in the yard where
you want him to stand, every time he moves off, return him
gently but firmly to the same spot. Reward him with a stroke
on the neck. Do this over and over again and you will find
he eventually gets bored of the game. You can then progress
on to getting him to stand and then standing up in your
stirrup, as if to get on, again over a few days, repeat this
before you go out for your ride. Progress on to swinging
your leg across and mounting, then get off and repeat it all
again. Patience and repetition are the name of the game.
Teddy is a 4 year old cob, who had a particularly stressful
start to life because he was one of twins—the other foal
died almost immediately after birth and, because of the
clearly difficult time the mare had experienced giving birth
to two foals, sadly she too died, a couple of days later.
There was no option but to hand-rear him. However, it’s
harder for a person to set these boundaries with a
hand-reared foal although we tried the natural horsemanship
method which help people communicate effectively with
horses. But in Teddy’s case, he never learnt where the
cut-off for unacceptable behaviour was, to his cost. The
inevitable next step was that people began to feel so
threatened by Ted that they resorted to forks and spades to
stave him off. He was shown aggression, but he comes back
with aggression. What is almost certainly, inappropriate
play behaviour on Ted’s part, has caused him, through no
fault of his own to become fear-aggressive of people, so
much so that instead of just threatening aggression a
typical ploy of most horses, he actually carried it out by
You say that you have tried the natural horsemanship method.
To establish with Teddy the pecking order is important.
Teddy should see you has his leader and respect you. Trying
the natural horsemanship method will truly work. You didn’t
fully understand the method, or you didn’t put the time in
for it to work or both. By persisting at these new habits
every day Teddy will learn to respect you.