Animal portraits and Horsemanship

western riding and training animal portraits

Training tips!

 December tips:

Snowy weather and not being able to ride? Why not hone your ground work skills?

1. Does your horse stand tied in the yard without fussing? if not one way to cure him is to stand him tied, work around him sweeping tidying. DO Not go to him when he fusses, give him attention when he IS standing still.

2. Will your horse give you his feet? If not run your hand down the leg gently to the fetlock and ask. If no reaction gently squeeze the chestnut until you get some movement. Once lifted place the foot back down don't drop it down.

3. Work on your horse dropping its'  head into the headcollar ask the horse to flex slightly towards you and drop his nose into the noseband. This works better if you go under the neck so you can use your hand to encourage the horse. Your aim is for the horse to help you catch it, this leads on to asking for the horse to lower its head when pressure is placed downwards on the halter and ultimately vertical flexion.

4.Practice standing your horse at the mount block, walk up stand on your mount block and ask the horse to line up beside you. Outfit your horse in a headcollar and long line. The deal is they should be in a position that you can get on, if you were going to! If not kiss, flap or swing your line to tell the horse to move to try again. the kiss means move your feet! If you have a youngster be patient reward any try they make it may take a while for them to understand what you are asking! The aim is for them to line up where you ask them to stand quietly and wait to be told to move off. With a baby pat their back, neck, rump,mane ask them to move and bring them back. This gets them used to feeling a human somewhere different on their back and lining up where asked. It also lets them see you above them. Do not baby them if they do not like something or somewhere being touched, keep calm but do not let them train you into not touching them there.

have fun and keep safe! Think of where you are working and wear a hat, gloves and boots if you feel they are necessary.


January tips:

If you have a young horse and have followed the above now start more desensitisation! use a scrnched up carrier bag rolled into your hand. Gradually work this all over your horses body. If the horse moves do not take it away until the feet stop. You must reward the effort but where you want it! on the try not when the horse thinks it has moved itself away from the stimulus or you have taught the wrong thing. Once the horse is happy with it small increase the size of the bag and make it noisier, assess any areas the horse is really anxious about and work on these as well, moving away and back if the horse finds it hard to tolerate this. Use the same idea with the saddle pad or cloth. All this must be in place if the horse is to be a safe riding horse or a childs pony it has to cope with all eventualities! Keep doing the circle work even if the footing is not great work at a slower speed but insist on better quality work more response. There is a lot you can do even in this weather. get your youngster used to standing at the mount block and lining up beside it for you. Use your long 12 ft line and kiss to the horse, this is the cue for moving your feet! is it gets stuck wiggle the line encourage some movement then ask again by you standing on the block, log etc. If the horse trys the reward is no movement! If it does not try fully move it until there is a better try. Feel free to email me with any questions!

Give it a try!


I cannot believe we are into March! well the ground is starting to dry up. Probably time to look at what you want to achieve this year. With regard to coaching it is setting yourself achievable targets! Look at your ambitions for 2011 and realistically look at what you want to do and how you want to get there. If I coach you already we can work on this just ask me!!

Have a good look at your horse.... what do you want to change, look at the basics does your horse do what you are asking and are you happy with that! Now is the time to tweak anything like mounting, tie up or handling issues.With your baby horses does it accept boots? Put one on at a time starting with the front then circle, then the left circle and if that goes well work towards the back. make sure you desensitise to the sound of the velcro!! I start with fetlock boots working towards bigger and longer boots.

Next comes the pad! I would use a western pad whether backing english or western as they are heavier and the horse is aware something is on its back! on and off as often as it takes walk the horse around but make sure the pad does not slip! remember to do it on the right and left hand side. Now make sure you do not assume everything is hunky dory!! make sure you go back to revise all you have done with your horse you are now looking for it to stand still, think about what you are asking the reaction time should be less. Make sure you do not reward an incorrect response take away the pressure whan the horse is standing still not when it is moving especially when preparing for saddling and bridling.     

 Tails.... will be wet and muddy have a look. I wash out with a good shampoo dry them off and then put babyoil in a spray bottle and spray onto the tail and brush it through. I then plait the tail( not too tight at the top) and put two bands on at the bottom. Not only does this keep the tail clean it allows the tail to grow down without being pulled out.      


well most of the tips from previous still stand really! we have been hit with weather that has put a hold on most training plans if you have a young horse. Lately wet, windy and frosty weather have halted most people. However one main idea is to sit down with a notebook and plan! yes plan for the short and long term! set yourself a goal for the next two months something that you would like to achieve, will it be leading your youngster out on a walk, leading and riding or putting boots on, pad etc. For a ridden horse maybe you want to go and do a dressage test or a show in the new year. so step one set a goal, now look at what stands in your way nerves, tack, lack of training or place to school. Now another column what can you do to achieve that goal? Trailer your horse somewhere, get some lessons look at what you might need for that class, do you need to plait or pull a mane? is so start practising!! You tube is good for looking at dressage tests or western patterns being ridden and are a good way to help memorise a reining pattern or dressage test. Start now with a plan and you will find it helps to focus your mind and acheive little goals to work towards the big one. Hope everyone has a good christmas and new year. I am aiming for a christmas day ride, hopefully!


My goal for this year was to run a reining pattern! I did it I rode two not great, loads still to work on but I did it now I know what we have to work on in 2013.




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