There is so much advice available online that it’s sometimes hard to know who to follow.
I subscribe to quite a few blogs and these are some of my favorites for working ‘with’ horses using methods that are generally positive and considerate of the horse’s needs and feelings.
To get off to the best start with your horse, I like what Karine Vandenborre from Horsefulness Training offers. Being a good leader or partner to your horse is one of the most important things to develop and her tips are a good reminder that leadership is indeed a partnership!
7 Tips for natural leadership
Karine says: “When you are together with your horse, during the daily interactions or during training you can talk about a “herd of 2” and just like in a real herd someone has to take the lead….” but “Only when both may and can lead, both human and horse, you can speak of partnership.”
This makes total sense, and in this article, Karine explains how to:
- be decisive,
- be emotionally stable,
- communicatee clearly,
- be genuine and
- Make sure you have 100% trust.
Karine also offers 2 free e-books as a place to start your journey, and her online courses are very popular. Read the full article here.
Freedom Based Training
Another inspiring teacher I’ve followed in her journey to take a mustang and train her at liberty without tools of any kind, is Elsa Sinclair.
In her article ‘Love it or Change it’ Elsa writes a detailed account of what training means to her, and how she gains both freedom and connection with her horses.
She says: “We all, horses and people alike, instinctively reach for freedom. Freedom is our ability to be unique and individual and reach out to live a life that suits us” and “Training is also part of everyday life because training is simply the development of habits. I believe habits form regardless of intention, and, if we can be conscious, then we can form the habits that may serve us.”
Elsa’s Equine Clarity blog has so many great posts that I’m hoping one day her writing will be turned into a book for there is so much to read and learn here. Her movie Taming Wild is very inspiring to watch and beautifully filmed and available as a download.
To learn more about Freedom based Training, Elsa runs online classes where you can take part in live Foundation and Confidence courses.
Listen To Your Horse
Another of my favorite blogs is from Jini Patel Thompson and her daughter Kesia, who share very thought-provoking posts about horse care and horsemanship.
Jini has reviewed Taming Wild and brings up a debate on the topic of ‘choice’ – she asks “Is true choice even possible?” and “So now we’re back to the question of how much choice is really present during manipulative training techniques? Much as I am drawn to and open to the possibility that true choice could exist, I also feel the pressure of preparing my horses to be functional in captivity. And I too have been unable to bypass that default.”
If you read the comments at the end of the review, you will also come across Jini’s recommendations for books and articles to read about better ways to be with horses. Again there are so many great posts to read on this blog, I’m sure you will never run out of inspiration.
Hippologic – 100% Horse Approved
As far as training techniques go, I prefer those based on positive reinforcement, and the Hippologic blog fits this category beautifully. Sandra Poppema posts many great training tips that are so very helpful whether you’re into clicker training or not.
This post gives you a sample of her teaching style and it’s a great place to start.
How To Teach Your Horse Anything
This is such a great guide for all aspects of training.
Sandra shows how once you have your goal, a plan is laid out in logical steps so you can focus on what you need to do, and how you’re going to do it.
Then the stages of learning and practicing are explained, with a video added to give you the visual picture.
Her example of lining up to a mounting block helps you see the steps in an everyday situation, and is an easy exercise to start with on the ground. The video takes it a step further showing how to do it at liberty as well.
Sandra says: “This is the general ‘recipe’ I use in teaching my horse new behaviors. You don’t have to use positive reinforcement training to use this in your training.”
Relaxed and Forward
For reflective inspiration with a real moral stance, I look forward to reading the musings of Anna Blake in her Relaxed and Forward blog which she describes as a horse/life blog.
In amongst the weekly photo challenges (very entertaining) and reflections on life with horses, there is plenty of training advice that comes from Anna’s many years in the saddle, both as a ‘cowgirl’ and ‘dressage rider’. She regularly instructs riders and rescues horses, donkey’s goats, and dogs.
One of the posts I enjoyed reading is Admitting You’re Wrong where Anna says “So much about good horsemanship is perception gained from hindsight–the other side of the experience. Needing right-ness narrows that view and chokes down the opportunity for learning. And for those of us with insecurities, needing right-ness about our own shortcomings might be the most limiting thing of all.”
In Reciprocity: A Softer Ask, A Softer Bend Anna poses: “Of course riding well is a challenge. It’s addictive and frustrating and sometimes counter-intuitive. It involves an outlandish level of control of own our body, which is easy to confuse for trying to control the horse’s body. Then some loud-mouthed trainer (me) says, “Breathe, let it be simple.” Like there was even one easy thing about simple.” and concludes with “Reciprocity is the true name of all horses and it’s a sweet place, riding on the kind side.”
While I’m not a dressage rider, I do love the way Karen Rohlf trains her horses and writes so much about horsemanship and horse behavior in general. Karen’s weekly emails feature many helpful tips on horse and human training that are relevant no matter what form of riding you do.
Her goal is to help you create a happy athlete and you can read her ‘seriously light-hearted musings’ on her blog.
I hope this gives you some insight into the type of horsemanship I follow and enjoy reading about.
The other reading I do is books – lots of them, and if you want to see what I recommend for horsemanship and training, check out those on the shelf in my store here and my book reviews here.
I’d love to hear of other blogs you have found helpful and inspiring too. Please add their links in the comments below so we can all take a peek and learn more.
And remember to get my news and views first, subscribe to my blog (at the top of this page), and share this so your friends can enjoy more good reading too.