Author: Charles Wilhelm

Teaching Your Horse to Accept the Clippers

Do you have a battle with your horse every time you try to clip his bridle path? Is clipping around his ears and feet impossible? Here are some tips on how to get your horse to accept being clipped, or being what I call a “clipper broke” horse. In other words, the horse accepts the noise and vibration of the clippers and stands quietly.

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Working with a Blind Horse

Over the last 35 years I have worked with many blind horses, probably three or four dozen. Most have been blind in one eye, and some totally blind. Through practical experience I’ve found that when a situation like this happens, the horse wakes up one morning and can’t see and life goes on. Unlike the human reaction where we, with our mental processes and rational minds, understandably fall apart until we come to terms with it. We must become familiar with what we have and with our space. We must learn to accept and cope with life. With a horse, blindness comes much easier. They don’t have the trauma of the loss of something and they don’t have the emotional stress. I think with horses that are blind in both eyes, they learn to rely on other senses just like humans, hearing and smell and a level of acuity. Like humans, they utilize their other senses to adapt to the best of their ability.

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Dealing with a Horse That Rears

I’d like to discuss what causes a horse to rear and how we can actually set a horse up to rear. There are two basic facts to consider. Horses learn by pressure and release and, a horse can go six different directions: forward, back, left, right, down and up. If you think in those terms, when we work with a horse, we always have to give the horse a way out, a way to find release. If you try to close off all the directions, the horse is going to take one of the directions that you can’t block. In other words, you may not get the response you wanted and the horse may go a direction that you didn’t want at all. For example, if we want our horse to go over a log, a tarp, a pole, through a creek or toward anything that the horse does not want to go near,

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Working With a Pushy Horse

I see a lot of rude, pushy horses. Probably 90% of the horses brought in to the barn for training are pushy and do not respect our space.  As owners, we usually spend more time riding than dealing with ground issues. There is nothing wrong with riding and having a good time. We buy a horse so that we can go out on the trail, rope, sort cattle or do any number of activities.  However, believe it or not, more accidents happen on the ground than while riding.  

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The Influence of Natural Horsemanship – Part II

Another principle of natural horsemanship that has become accepted is the practice of de-spooking. Back when I first talked about de-spooking a horse, it was an unknown concept. Now it is a common term and simply means we are taking the spook out of the horse. All horses have the flight instinct and de-spooking is getting a horse to accept pressure. What I see now is that people are trying to make their horses safer by desensitizing or de-spooking them. They often end with dull horses because they are not willing to increase the pressure until the horse gives.

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