Understanding Your Horse Before You Start Their Training

Getting To Know Your Horse

Too many times I see people jump in and immediately start training their horse before they get to know them. Horses are like people with their different personalities, likes, and dislikes.

You’ll benefit greatly by taking time to see what their personality is like and observing other things about them like their habits.

Taking Time

When you take the time to get to know and understand your horse you will find out such things as… is the horse sensitive, spooky, fearful, pushy are they easy to catch or not.

See if you can touch them all over or are there places that they will not let you touch?

Other Horses

If you have another horse observe their reaction with each other for a few days this can tell you a lot about them. For instance one of my mares will turn and kick after smelling a new horse so you would want to be aware of this as it may be something they try when you start working with them.

Some horses like to bite, some may strike and some will charge you. Don’t be fooled because some horses will use the same type of behavior on us.

My Experience With My Welsh Pony Stallion

As an example, I purchased a Welsh pony stallion a few years ago that didn’t have much handling. After I let him settle in for a few days I started working with him.

He was coming around nicely. On one occasion I went to offer him a treat and as soon as I touched his lips he struck at me. Horses are quicker than a cat.

I was so glad that I was off to his side at a 45-degree angle because if I would have been in front of him he would have nailed me. So see you just never know.

Observation Time

After getting to know their personality and quirks I then start to look at things such as do they have white spots on their back from an ill-fitting saddle, do they drop a lot of grain when eating which could mean they need dental work.

I also run my hand over their coat from head to tail to see if there is a difference in texture. If there is a difference in texture it could mean a nutritional imbalance or energy block which can cause behavior problems.

I don’t go in and start using a training method or technique with a horse because I want to find out more about them that way I know what direction to go with the training. Always keep an open mind when working with horses because there will be times when you have to try different methods to get results.


Keep a journal on what you observe and on your training progress. As humans, we don’t always remember where we left off. Horses are all unique individuals and what works on one may not work the same way with the next one. 

There are several other things I do when teaching horse owners how to work with their horse. Want to find out more contact me today to set up your lesson 325-261-3360.

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One Comment

  1. You make some excellent points. There is an informative article in Equus this month addressing the issue of reading your horse’s body language. I have used clicker training on my dogs, but not my horse. Too bad you are in TX.


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