Horse Training 101

Horse training is an art. But it also has rules that govern how to work with and train a horse.

For instance, when you're training a horse to do something, you don't want to drill him with it so much that he becomes sour on it and unwilling to do it next time. The trick is to get him doing what you ask, then asking him to do it a few more times, then stop asking.

You can ask him to do it more for you the next day but you should stop asking for too much.

Here's a human view on why that's important.

If you were to get a piece of paper and write the word "training" on it, chances are you would do it just fine.

But what if I asked you write it again? Why would I ask you to do that? Because I just want to make sure you know to do it. So, I ask you to write it again.

When you get done writing it again I pat you on the back and say "Way to go. Now, let's do it again."

Apprehensive and sighing, you do it again. This time, after you write it, I ask you to immediately re-do it because I want it capitalized.

You give me a dirty look and rewrite it.

Then I ask you to do it again.

Now....aren't you getting tired of rewriting the word "training"? After all, you did what I asked. Plus, I asked you to rewrite it and capitalize it. It was still the same word and you were still doing what I asked but I just wanted to make sure you were doing it.

This gives you a feel for why a horse shouldn't have to redo something over and over. The rule is once he gets it and does it a few more times then quit asking for it. Give him something else to do. Make it interesting for him.

Another thing I like to do is assess my horse's disposition before I start working with him. I like to know what my student is like before I start his education.

For instance, is he a nervous horse? If so, I'll be very quick to reward him and carefully use aids. I'll keep his confidence high by caressing him often.

Or, is he a willful horse? If so, I'll have to be more persistent and patient to get him doing something I ask.

It's important to know what a horse is like before training like a teacher should know her students before teaching.

If you were a teacher and the school principal accurately described what each kid was like then you could be a more effective teacher.

For instance, what if you had a kid that was deaf in one ear and a little hard of hearing in the other but was a fast learner? As a teacher, if you didn't know this you may be inclined to think this child is lazy or perhaps dumb. And if the child sat in the back of the room the whole time this problem would only get worse - and you wouldn't know he is a fast learner.

But if you knew he was deaf in one ear and hard of hearing in the other then you'd want to put him in the front row and talk louder. Perhaps you may suggest his parents get him a hearing aid. You'll do all you can to help your student learn.

This is much like a horse. The teacher must do all he can to help his horse learn. The teacher must understand his horse first to see how he can best help his student learn.

About The Author
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of several best selling horse training and horse care books. For information visit his website at He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training methods which can be seen at

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