Category: Charles Wilhelm

Getting a Horse to Accept a Farrier

It is relatively common for a young horse to dislike having his feet or
legs worked on. Horses are prey animals. It takes a lot of trust for a
horse to allow a foot to be picked up as this prevents the horse from
running away. Your horse may be used to you and be relaxed when you
pick up a foot to clean it but you do represent the pressure around the
feet and legs that a farrier will. It is common, particularly for a young
horse, to dislike being shod but if the horse hasn’t learned to accept
pressure of any kind, he is going to react with fight or flight.

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Work with a Lunge Line to get Ready for the Trail

I have often discussed the need for de-spooking and dealing with the
distracted horse. I have described how to work with a variety of tools
including a tarp, a large ball and the birdie. These objects help a horse to
accept new, different thigs that pop up without warning. They teach a
horse to be quiet and emotionally sound. The change of direction
exercise is used in teaching a horse to go over a tarp. I am going to
review this exercise because this is a basic skill you will need your horse
to have before you teach him to go over a variety of other objects
including water, bridges and things that rattle under foot. There are
many objects that we can teach our horses to go over that will make
them more safe and solid on the trail.

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Versatility and Cross Training

A horse that is versatile can do a variety of things. It does not have to be
really good at every task. The horse may have one discipline that it
excels in but it is also able to do other types of activities. For example,
you may have a good trail horse and at the same time that horse is able
to work with cows and perhaps do some jumping. A trail horse needs to
be familiar with cows and you never know when you may need to jump
over an obstacle on the trail. The skills work together and that is where I
like to take the horses I work with.

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The Forward Cue

The forward cue is probably the most ignored of all the cues. It is
misunderstood and misused by most riders. I am sorry to say that it
is often not taught and so some riders really have no forward cue.
With those who do have a cue, I rarely see it practiced or
reinforced. The forward cue is probably our most important cue as
forward movement is critical for any maneuver a horse attempts. A
good, solid consistent forward cue is vital for a number of reasons.

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Trail Tips

A lot of problems happen out on the trail because we don’t do any, or the
right preparation. I am happy to share some tips to make your trail riding
safer and more fun. There are several things we need to think about before
we go out on the trail.
First, we need to consider how well trained our horse is. Many horses out on
the trail should not really be our there. People go out thinking that because
they can get the horse to go forward at a walk and trot, the horse is safe to go
out on the trail. Going forward is good but there are many more aspects to be
considered. One important question to ask is, can you stop your horse
easily? Does your horse listen to you?

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Using Treats to Train a Horse

I personally do not believe in giving treats when training because a horse is a very
easily conditioned animal. When I was located at a training facility that I drove to
every morning, my horses would nicker and come running up to the end of the
paddock because they recognized the sound of my diesel engine even before they
saw the truck. It became a conditioned response for them. Most people thought that
was nice and that they loved me but actually they knew that once I got there, they
would soon be fed. They also got to be aggressive, running into the stall, nickering
and basically yelling feed me, feed me, feed me.

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Dealing With a Horse That Bites or Kicks

What causes a horse to start biting or kicking? What can we do about it?
A horse will bite or kick most frequently in an enclosed area like a stall,
a stall and paddock or in cross ties. Every time you approach your horse,
you have an opportunity to “read” your horse. As you approach the stall,
the horse’s ears may be back or there may be some aggressive behavior
like pawing. This may be because you brought a treat and the horse is
anxious and demanding. The horse is getting a little cranky, t

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Setting a Goal for Your Horse and Reaching It

It is good to set goals for our horses and if one of your goals is to take your horse to a show, this article will help you develop a plan. There are a lot of steps between setting the goal and accomplishing it. What I like to do in training a horse is to have a training program planned before I start. It is good to have a weekly, three-month, 6-month and yearly road map. I allow as much time as is needed for each step working with that particular horse. For example, if I start a horse under saddle, normally in about three months, the horse will be 75% to 80% finished. After three months,

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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.

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Bucking and Bolting on the Trail

Safety on the trail is always our first concern. A horse that bucks, bolts or even rears when out on the trail is unsafe for the rider and for anyone who is near. This behavior is not acceptable and training is needed however, it is important to understand why a horse would behave this way. It appears that this happens frequently and there are multiple reasons why horses do this. Let’s discuss some of the reasons.

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