Archives MAIN PAGE

Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

...makes me feel I'm a bad owner...

Hey Franklin,

I have been reading all your experiences that you have had with horses and what you do with them its very interesting and I'm inspired by your work. And I need help with my horse. I have a appaloosa mare. She shows me no sign of interest in me. She turns her back to me each time I try to approach her. I have to go around to get to her and this is in the paddock. Each time I go to her head she moves it. This makes me feel very upset like I'm a bad owner. She just gives me no attention.... Please help? I look forward to hearing from you.....

Thanks, Mehegan

Hi Mehegan,

First off, never take anything personally your horse does or does not do! Your mare is responding to your equine leadership abilities and not 'who you are.' You earn the respect of a horse by your abilities to direct and guide the horse's action and movement and reward attempts at compliance. Stop moving towards your horse trying to catch it. In the paddock (round pen, or small area), simply 'haze' the horse forward. Walk towards it's hip (not directly behind it) and wave your arms or swing a rope at it with the intention of driving the horse forward. You do not want to scare the horse or bully it. The horse can simply walk away as you are asking. You simply want it to move forward. If it does move forward 5 or 10 feet or so, say Whoa, stop moving at it and say Good Girl. Repeat this exercise for 15 to 20 minutes and leave after a 'Good Girl.' Do not worry about catching your horse. You want to become the good leader for the horse. Do this a few times a day for a couple of days. Then ask the horse to trot away from you and go about 20 yards before you allow it to stop. Again, give a Good Girl and wait a few moments ( the rest is a reward for the horse being compliant with your request). The immediate reward of a rest and a little praise is essential in training a horse. You are setting yourself up to be the compassionate, skillful and knowledgeable leader. Do this process several times a day for a couple of days.

Fairly soon after you do these exercises for a few days, you will see your horse begin to face you when you allow it to stop and give the reward of a break in the action. You want to see this. It will probably start to lick and chew as well. This is a word in the language of the horse saying it is trying to be compliant and acquiesce to the leader. At some point your horse may even simply want to come to you and stand quietly. This would be GOLDEN. But it does not have to happen this quickly. Eventually it will. Or, at least when it does face you, you will be able to calmly go to it, stand by its neck and pet it. Again, do not try to 'catch' your horse. You want it to be the horse's choice to stand by you and trust that you know what you are doing and that it is safe with you. This is the key to developing trust through appropriate action and interaction with you as the leader of the dance. If your horse trusts you, it will respect you and want to be with you as well.

These are a few essenial basics of training horses. I strongly suggest you get some solid education and knowledge about horses. At this point you are merely projecting your humaness onto your horse. This is inappropriate and will set you up to fail as this is a horse and not a human. I suggest purchasing a few training dvds and books on horses. There are many good ones in the backs of all horse magazines. I have several dvds in the shopping corral of my website that would prove very helpful to you. The Training Thru Trust dvd would be an eye opener for you. Anyway, get the knowledge and information you need to interact appropriately and successfully with your horse and stop projecting your psychological stuff onto your horse ("...makes me feel I'm a bad owner..."). Your horse is only responding to your lack of leadership abilities and not that you are 'bad' or a bad person in any way. Good Luck....

Sincerely, Franklin

Look for: