Category Archives: Brain-Based Horsemanship

The Bareback Years

It was snowing and blowing yesterday, so my young Warmblood True got the day off and I worked on a photo gift for my father. This required sorting through 170...

Training the Human

Sometimes the hardest part of horse training is training the human. This problem shows up in many ways—we humans often reward at the wrong moment, apply different cues at once,...

Mistakes with Youngsters

Two years ago, I had just purchased my then-three-year-old Warmblood True. He’d been with me for three months, and I took him to a small schooling show just to ride...

“Likes to Jump”

Brain-based horsemanship makes a person pretty skeptical about what horses do and don’t “like.” Without a prefrontal cortex that can evaluate and judge, horse brains are left to innate instincts...

Putting Smell to Work

If you’ve read Horse Brain, Human Brain, you know that our human noggins are designed to rely on vision as their primary sense, but horse brains are ruled by smell. True,...

Crosspole Roulette

My green Warmblood True is doing well with his early hopping lessons, except for one little thing. I call it “crosspole roulette.” Crosspole roulette is evidently some kind of equine...

Legs

My green Warmblood True, like most youngsters, has these beautiful lower legs with clear definition between his strong tendons that brings a smile to any jumping rider’s face. We protect...

Leaving the Ground

True, my young Warmblood, is trotting individual ground poles and sequences of up to four poles in a row, in both directions at various locations around the arena by now....

Interruptions

Writing a column like this, where one article follows another in perfect lockstep, suggests that horse training is a serial process. It’s as if my green Warmblood True learns one...

Pole Sequences

Don’t worry, we won’t be on poles forever. Last week, my four-year-old Warmblood True was clearing a three-inch raised pole by three feet. I redirected him to a different task...

Raised Poles

Following the exercise described last week, my four-year-old warmblood True is walking and trotting smoothly from each direction over single poles scattered around the arena. With such practice, he's learned...

One Little Pole on the Ground

You know how show jumpers sail over gigantic obstacles, like oh say…CARS? Or set records for height, like oh say… EIGHT FEET high? Or breadth… um, that would be 28...

Pre-Checks for Jumping

It’s time to start teaching my green warmblood True to jump. As usual, we have to begin with some preliminary checks. First, be sure your horse’s bones and body are...

The Value of Time

Time: that annoying measure of life that’s worth its weight in gold! In these weekly articles, I often describe brain-based training techniques that proceed slowly. Most people, especially those who pay...

Three Daily Treats

Today’s title might perplex those who read this column regularly and know that for brain-based reasons I prefer to train by reward, but non-edible reward. The three treats refer not...

Roundness in Practice

OK, let’s climb on my young Warmblood True and see how this roundness business works in real life. As with any maneuver on a young or green horse, be sure...

Rounding the Back

A couple weeks back, I promised some words on teaching roundness in young and green horses. This is kinda complicated, so let’s approach it in chunks over the next few...

Truedini

In the past couple weeks, I’ve described my green Warmblood True’s progress with the lessons on my training agenda. But maybe the most fun to consider is his training agenda—all the stuff...

Rewards or Lures?

In all my training, with my young Warmblood True and other horses, I use reward as a primary technique. In general, it’s quicker over the long term, lasts longer, is...