Author: Charles Wilhelm

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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Feeding Treats

While I am not against feeding treats, I do think it is more appropriate and safer for treats to be put in a bucket rather than be given by hand. I know many owners get enjoyment from hand feeding their horses so let me explain my reasons for discouraging this activity. Horses are very condition response animals and they soon catch on that when you come to the barn you have something good for them. I know that many of you like your horse to welcome you with a nicker when you come into barn. However, it is not...

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Why Do We Need All The Gadgets?

I think there is a lot of misconception about the many, many types of equipment available. There is a lot of equipment out there that we might not have a need for or want to use, or we might not be qualified to use. Also, any piece of equipment can be abused if used improperly. Two of the most common pieces of equipment that are abused are the snaffle bit and the cowboy or rope halter. Many horses come in here dull, non-responsive and abrasive because they have been ridden improperly with a snaffle bit. Riders don’t know how...

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