Horse tales that are made for the movies: a trio of alpha fillies starting under saddle makes life interesting at Halcyon Acres

It’s a good thing I like alphas – and have a knack for reaching them. Right now there are three uber alpha fillies at Halcyon Acres starting under saddle. This trio has the ability to make my blood pressure rise or make my day, but mostly, they keep me smiling with their clever approaches, dramatic communications and immense staying power.


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Eleven Quick Tips for dealing with alpha horses

Alpha mares and fillies can present some interesting challenges where training and handling are concerned. They also become some of the most loyal high achievers you’ll ever encounter if you learn how to reach them. All seem to have heart beyond the norm, smarts and a wilfulness about them that will test your fortitude. Try to dominate these gals without an ear and eye toward their communicated needs, and they’ll give you a schooling you won’t soon forget. In the…


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Alpha Mares – how do you define them?

I’ve seen a lot of chatter – and some interesting convictions – concerning the alpha equine. Some base their comments on alleged scientific fact culled from published and apparently credible herd observer gurus and others either expound on what they’ve been told or make it up as they go. Admittedly, I’ve logged many years as part of the “don’t know what I don’t know” crowd of horse handlers, but like to think I’ve crossed over to a place that has…


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Alpha sneak peak excerpt from Chapter Five

Overwhelmed and cagey Rosie spent two days at the racetrack after being “broke” at a distant farm. She wheeled about thirty times in a single trip jogging around a half-mile training track, terrified of oncoming traffic and the scene that presented itself to this unprepared, frenzied baby. At Thoroughbred racetracks, generally jogging (or trotting) horses travel on the outside rail moving to the left; galloping horses and those moving at a faster pace track right toward the inside rail. On…


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Athlete baby of the decade returns as bronc champ re-break

Jay merits mention in both our Turning Challenging Horses and Don’t Get Thrown Starting Horses Under Saddle books because she was a dual challenge that came to Halcyon Acres for initial starting (which wasn’t completed) and then back to fix her subsequent, learned talent for unloading riders at another farm that tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to take her on. We were making good headway with this difficult Thoroughbred filly during her first stay at the farm, having gotten to the point…


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Is being the boss really the best way with horses?

Friday’s Opinion I’ve seen so much written lately about how critical it is to “be the boss” with your horse. Granted, I don’t have a degree in horse psychology, nor do I have the learned qualifications of some who have studied the horse brain and journals extensively, but I’ve sure had a chance to watch horses and herd dynamics for a good number of decades. I find it interesting to see how horses respond to a “boss.” They don’t like…


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Horse comedian of the week

Clover is a three-year-old Irish Draught Sport Horse filly. She’s always been precocious, a bit belligerent and an extreme athlete. This year, she effectively challenged her mother (who may school her after her current foal is weaned) and a newcomer last year to serve as the new herd leader. We started her under saddle this month with a whole lot of caution and a bit of concern over whether her ability to move at dizzying speed in leaps, bucks and…


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