Excerpt from Turning Challenging Horses Into Willing Partners

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Most of the prior book excerpts featured on this blog were culled from Section Three, Tips from the Trenches. These snipets spotlighted perspectives, tips and stories from a variety of trainers from a diverse array of disciplines. In the coming weeks, we’ll feature the stories of real horses and how challenges were met and resolved (or not). Below is the introduction to this section.     

Section Two

Developing a work plan

Stories can help make learning easier. This is especially true when dealing with riding horses, a discipline that uses most of our senses, particularly when trying to turn a challenging mount. Therefore, the following chapters include instructional guidance with ample anecdotal information to illustrate some of the cases we’ve dealt with at Halcyon Acres. Working with equines that have learned to misbehave is always a trial-and-error process. We hope you’ll discover a winning plan for your particular problem child with ideas from the many success stories, while also learning to exploit and avoid some of the mistakes we’ve learned from along the way.

Often, young horses are misunderstood during the “breaking” period and forced into situations that overwhelm, frighten, or annoy them due to the trainer’s failure to communicate. This can last a lifetime, if these animals aren’t reprogrammed — by restarting training from where things first went wrong. Caught early enough, these problems can be redirected for amazing performance results, but this process requires a lot of patience, staying power, and intuitive responses. There are few lost causes with horses, but a lot of lost opportunities due to misunderstandings. Problem mounts are more often the result of problem handlers and riders early in life, rather than inborn reactions. Get to know what your horse is trying to tell you, and you may be amazed at how much progress you can make with just a little bit of listening.

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