This is a sneak peak excerpt from the first title of the Horse Sense and Cents series title, Turning Challenging Horses into Willing Partners, due for public release in February, 2010.


There’s something to be said for learning from the wisdom — and mistakes — forged by others before you. The Horse Sense and Cents™ series is intended to help the novice identify problems and potential solutions, including solutions that may require professional assistance.

The books are also designed to benefit the professional through lessons learned, case studies, and chapters that include insights of other equine authorities from around the world. The anecdotal approach of the series makes the reading fun and the material easy to implement.

While throwing money at a problem can be effective, it’s more rewarding if you can understand what it takes to address or resolve an equine issue. Even if you choose to delegate training, raising, breeding, or any other activity that involves your horse (if you insist on spending the money, we at Halcyon Acres® welcome your business — visit us at, eventually you’ll want to understand how your actions affect your horse’s behavior.

For those who are living on a budget, but oh-so-determined to have a horse around the house or at a neighboring stable, we’ve been there and offer tips and tricks that can save you money and frustration as you dig your heels in to stay the course or gallop off into the sunset.

If you’re looking for a down-to-earth, easy-to-follow, and imaginative guide to the equine challenges you face, this series provides an excellent tool for creative and effective solutions to what ails you or your steed.

We’ve chosen to feature our “turning” treatise as the first book because this is a concern almost every seasoned equestrian has faced, along with a good number of unfortunate novices to boot, yet it is a topic rarely covered in detail by the pros or the industry media. We use the term turning to explain the process of transforming a mount that has been taught to be uncooperative, scared, or mean into a willing companion. Usually, this is an equine that has been started badly and has major resulting issues that are the fodder for nightmares. Obviously, it’s best to start right; but this doesn’t always happen, and the ensuing quirks and behavioral challenges range from annoying to downright dangerous.

Our approach is different from the norm — we don’t prescribe formula solutions but, instead, believe that each horse is distinctive in the way he or she responds and reacts to handler and rider cues. The signals and stories illustrated in this guide should help you identify problems that you may be facing with your steed while enabling you to type your horse a bit by recognizing tendencies. Identifying such behaviors may help you pinpoint how your horse may have been previously conditioned to distrust, disrespect, or hate his or her handlers and riders. The successful solutions can be guides as you strive to create an understanding between you and your particular problem child. Of course, we also offer mistakes as fodder for thought and cautionary notes on when it may be time to simply call it quits.

The time and effort necessary to turn a horse that’s been conditioned to behave badly can be considerable, but the rewards associated with that moment of connection and rapport are immeasurable. Usually, the turn is sud-den and dramatic. Additionally, if you are truly successful with your turning efforts, you will likely join with a mount that offers you a willingness to exceed your requests while sharing a bond that’s more invigorating than any equestrian activity involving a made horse. I hope you are able to experience the joy of this amazing experience with your equine project.

Nanette Levin

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