Author: Charles Wilhelm

The Importance Of Communication With Your Horse And Trainer

In communication with your horse, one of the first things to understand is that the horse thinks differently and speaks a different language than you do. It is common to humanize a horse’s behavior but you should not. For example, if you give your horse a treat every time you come into the barn and he whinnies when you come in, he is not welcoming you. He is asking for, and sometimes even, demanding his treat. Though people see this as cute and the horse being glad to see them, it is not good behavior and can lead to...

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Balance And Collection

We often hear the words “balance” and “collection” along with a variety of methods of achieving these goals for our horses. There are many different opinions on this broad subject and the short version of my mine is based on many years of experience working with many different horses in a variety of breeds. I have found that some really great trainers who I have worked with over the years share this view. We all agree that a balanced horse is a horse that carries himself. If you were to balance a horse on a scale, you would find...

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What Is A “Broke Horse?” – Part II

Last month we talked about some of the problems horses can exhibit and the different standards that are applied to determine a “broke horse.” We discussed what a broke horse is not: a horse that refuses to go forward, is lazy, won’t move off the leg, doesn’t understand or respond to cues from the inside or outside rein, doesn’t back up with energy, and a variety of other behaviors. This type of horse may not be a problem horse but may simply be uneducated. In one of my Responsive Riding clinics, I asked riders to rate their horse’s backing...

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What Is A “Broke Horse?”

We hear the term broke horse and sometimes it has a negative connotation as if it is describing a horse with a broken in spirit. To me the term “broke horse” does not have any negative connotation but most people today prefer “started, started under saddle or finished.” When I was growing up and working with horses in the show world, the term “broke horse” just referred to a stock horse, a western pleasure horse, a trail horse or a horse in some other specific discipline such as a jumper or a dressage horse. Whatever term you use, you...

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