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What is the basis for how you train horses?

Hi Franklin,

How would you describe, in a nutshell, the basis for how you train horses? What makes it work? I love your website.

Thanks, Laura

Dear Laura,

The basis for how I communicate with horses is “trust”. How much trust can I develop in this horse? How much of a sense of safety can I establish in this horse? How much confidence can I help this horse to feel when he/she is with me? This trust, sense of safety and confidence I want the horse to develop comes from me understanding how the horse is in the wild. What takes place between the herd members that help this horse to trust the other horses and feel confident that he/she is safe?

When I find resistance in the horse (i.e. fear), which can show itself in innumerable ways (not loading in trailer, cinchy, biting, kicking, head tossing, tail wringing, not standing still, pulling back, not wanting to go near or through water or mud, spooking from various objects, rearing, bucking, refusing jumps, running off, resisting the bridle or bit, hard to saddle, rearing, nervous all the time, rushing gates, rushing in or out of the stall, crowding the handler, etc.) I don’t just attempt to power over the horse to force them to do my bidding. I stop the activity and go back to where the horse was obviously feeling safer. By approaching the horse thoughtfully and consciously, I begin to determine the source of the fear. I treat the horse like I was the “perfect parent”. I show respect and thoughtfulness. I offer support and encouragement just like the horses natural Mom would. I do this in the horse’s own language (which I can easily show you). Most behavioral problems with horses are the result of inappropriate communication by humans or out and out abuse. I have found that horses are very ready to forgive us our errors, once we make the effort to communicate correctly with them in their own language. It’s easy. All it takes is some knowledge, and the desire to make things better for the horse. Throw in abundant patience, thoughtfulness, and a loving, caring attitude, and miracles can happen, quickly. After that, being consistent will secure this sense of safety within your horse, just as it would a child.

Want to learn about riding without a bridle? How about playing games with your horse that give the horse an opportunity to really have fun with you and not just be carrying you around all the time, games that help build your bond with your Equine partner? How about creating a willing partnership with your horses, as opposed to simply dominating them? We can do this; it’s easy, fun, magical and is life enhancing for all involved.

Thank you for offering me this opportunity to talk about this. It is my passion (can’t you tell).

Sincerely yours, Franklin

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