Category: Charles Wilhelm

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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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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The Influence of Natural Horsemanship – Part I

Thirty years ago, when I was doing round pen training, few people knew what a round pen was. If you were working in a round pen, you looked like an idiot that didn’t know what you were doing other than running a horse around in circles. Fifteen years ago, more people were aware of natural horsemanship and it started to have an influence in the horse world. Ten years ago, it really started taking hold and now you see natural horsemanship techniques, in some form or another, used widely everywhere in training programs. I remember at Horse Expos I attended ten years ago, I was the only guy out there with a blue tarp and people were wondering what in the world I was going to do with it.

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Personality and How It Can Effect the Training of Your Horse — Part II

We’ve been talking about the part that personality plays in the training of a horse. We know about the herd instinct and the fight or flight mechanism, but the personality of the horse is also an important factor in the training of a horse. Last time we discussed five of the seven distinct types of personalities: compliant, bully, indifferent, timid, and the Nervous Nellie. This time we are going to cover the last two personality types.

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