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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

Your site helps so much...

Thank you so much for your site. It is so convenient to have the "search" box included here for keywords that take me to situations so similar to mine.

I'm a first time 40 year old horse owner, who has loved horses all her life and finally able to have one. She is a 12 year old registered Arab mare we call Ellie. She is only 14.3 hands but she still intimidates me due to my inexperience with horses so in time I'm sure I will be emailing you a question or two. She has only arrived here just short of a month now.

But in the mean time, being able to read questions and your informative answers does help a great deal to know the things I am doing right and the things I can learn to do to build a great relationship with Ellie. My priority is not to ride her, I have been concerned mostly with building a bond with her from the ground. I feel safer there, lol. I have also learned here that it is not a bad idea not to just jump in the saddle, which I have been told that riding a horse determines quickly who is in charge. My own thoughts are...if I cant get control on the ground, I will not have as hard a time in the saddle as a novice rider.

My biggest action now is to be in control at feeding time. I lead her to the stall she, gets in first and then she must wait until I get the food and give it to her, where I leave her in peace for her meal. Or when she is eating hay from that same open stall I will occasionally ask her to move away and pretend to mess with her hay until I invite her back in. Being an Arabian mare she can show me attitude at times and it takes all I have to squash my fears long enough to take control and not back down just long enough that it all ends in a good note. Her "attitude" has consisted of turning her head away from me and then presenting her rear to me when I approach or to give me just a slight defiant look, not yet aggressive, but giving me a feeling of a building to this if I allow it. So far, a stern WHOA will stop her feet. Then I make a hasty retreat back to the house and calm myself down again.

This does not sound like much action is being taken but I feel I need to take baby steps with her before I get in over my head and I teach her bad habits by letting her get away with too much by not knowing what I'm doing for sure.

I have tried to lunge her and I got scared with that. I don't know how to control her speed yet even though only using a 12 foot lead. Id rather start at a walk for both of us and work to a trot. She starts at a trot and then gets really wired. She also has problems going to the right or counter clockwise. Until I learn more about lungeing I wont be trying that for a little while.

Ill keep reading your site, and planning to purchase your videos, (maybe you could suggest the best set for my level), and take lessons for myself.

Thanks again, Debbie

Hi Debbie,

I really appreciate your email a lot. It is wonderful to know that the years of effort and money to put the site together and maintain it, really helps people and their horses. I love hearing how folks use and enjoy the site. It is my life's work and mission to help the horse/human relationship. Thank you for seeking assistance and finding it.

As you have discovered, it is all about trust developed through appropriate, confident and sound leadership. It is not about dominance or control. You also understand that the horse knows everything about you. It knows your physical and mental state (respiration, heart rate, etc confidence level and intentions) because that is how it intuitively knows whether or not you are a threat to it. I highly suggest you expand your knowledge about horses and horse training through getting some educational assistance through DVD's and books, etc. as you have said you desire to. Any of my DVD's would prove helpful to you. They are for folks of all levels of horsemanship who want to improve. Consider the new DVD and the Maypine Farm Series. Those DVD's will give you a lot of techniques as well as why they work, which is just as important to know as the technique. I highly suggest you also invest in a round pen. It is perhaps the single greatest tool you can own as a horse owner. They are not that expensive and will give you simple yet profound training options that you won't have in other ways without having years of experience under your belt. I know the training DVD's will really open your eyes to what and how to 'lead the dance' better and more appropriately and effectively.

When you go to find a teacher, be careful that they actually know about horses as well as riding instruction. Most riding instructors are of the "show them who is boss and take control" sort of teachers. This is terribly wrong and does a great disservice to their students and the horses. They won't admit it, but their knowledge of horses is extrememly limited and frequently, outright wrong. Through your experience with my website and reading the philosophies and techniques put forth there, you have a feeling for what is approprite and what is not. The only things you are lacking is more knowledge and acquired skills. You have the right attitude which many folks never acquire. Good for you and the horses in your care. I look forward to hearing back from you. Incidently, you would also benefit greatly from any phone coaching we did. I have telephone coaching clients around the world. Its another option for you to consider as a way to get first hand information, coaching and quick feedback on successful or unsuccessful events with your horse.

Again, I sincerely thank you for you most kind email. I shall continue to offer assistance to horse lovers as long as I am able. Happy Thanksgiving!

Best Wishes Always, Franklin

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