Who Should Be Training Your Horse?

The following is a tale I have heard often, and it disturbs me every time I hear it. A good, caring, pretty experienced, sympathetic horse person buys a young horse. She does all the right ground work with him, gets him caring and obedient and all that good stuff.

Then the time comes to start riding him, and, never having ‘broken’ a horse before, what does she do? She sends him out to a trainer. The trainer doesn’t know the horse from Adam, and is only interested in putting some miles on him so he gets used to being ridden. The trainer is not cruel or abusive or anything like that, just impersonal, and with a time limit to get the job done.

When the owner gets the horse back, yes, he’s had a rider on his back, and he has walked, trotted, cantered, turned and stopped. And he is a total basket case! He’s lost all his trust, he hasn’t had time to really learn all the stuff he has supposedly been taught. He’s also lost most of his self-confidence from being overfaced in terms of information overload.

If his owner is really knowledgeable, she recognizes the problem, sighs, and goes back to square one until the horse recovers emotionally, which may be a year or more. If she is not so knowledgeable, she tries to ride him, and unless she is very lucky and the horse is very kind, she gets in serious trouble.

So, my answer to my rhetorical question above is that you should be training your own horse in whatever you can do well. Can you mount well? Then you should be training your horse to accept mounting. Can you ride at the walk in good balance? Then you should be riding your horse at the walk. Do you have reasonably good hands? Then you can teach him to steer. If your hands are not so good, you can use a halter or a mild hackamore, and let the horse teach you how to use your reins to help him learn to turn. (If he doesn’t respond to your aids, he’s just telling you you’re ‘asking the question the wrong way.’ If you experiment a bit (and read or take lessons) you’ll find out what works.)

So, who is training your horse?


PS Every time you do anything with your horse, you’re teaching him something! J’ever think of that??


Who Should Be Training Your Horse? — 2 Comments

  1. Hi there,
    I fit this situation and I am a beginner rider and I need an instructor myself do you know anyone or a clinic in the Saugus Mass area that I can learn on there horse perhaps so that I don’t confuse mine any further.



  2. Hello Gincy,
    At first, I would like to thank you very much for your wonderful book”How Your Horse Wants You To Ride”. It gave me a ray of hope to my going-no-where riding situations.
    Before I read your book, I almost given up riding, because of constant yelling from my instructors during my lessons even though they meant well. Also my horse’s on and off lameness which was obiously resulted from my bad riding.
    Since, I live in Asia, it is hard to find a good instructor with pacience
    or a trainer. Then I heard of you making a video of your riding instruction, is it on sale now?
    I would love to get one for myself, so I can have a good idea for correct positioning and centering of myself.

    Yours Sincerely,


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