Got My Horse

Building Trust and Control: The Essentials of Effective Horse Training

Establishing Dominance

Importance of Dominant Role

In the horse world, it’s vital to establish yourself as the leader or alpha horse. Horses are herd animals, so they’re used to following a strong leader.

As a trainer, it’s crucial to establish your dominant role early on, so the horse understands that you’re the one in charge. Assertiveness is critical, and you should avoid being too tentative, as this can confuse and frustrate the horse.

Demonstrating Dominance

The most critical element in establishing dominance is your body language. Horses are incredibly sensitive to body language, so it’s essential to demonstrate in your actions that you’re in control.

Your personal space is critical, and a horse should never invade your space. Always stand tall, shoulders back, and don’t make unnecessary movements.

Make eye contact, as this is another way for a horse to gauge your confidence. Another way to demonstrate dominance is through nonverbal communication.

Horses respond well to pressure and release. For example, if you want the horse to move away from you, apply pressure with your body language.

Once the horse moves away, release the pressure. This teaches the horse that you’re directing its movements.

Groundwork Training

Benefits of Groundwork

Groundwork is an essential aspect of horse training, and it provides numerous benefits. One significant advantage is improving balance and coordination.

Groundwork is also an excellent way to teach your horse patience and relaxation. By doing groundwork exercises, your horse will learn to respond to your cues without feeling anxious or stressed.

Basic Groundwork Skills

There are several basic groundwork skills that every horse trainer should know.

  • The first is standing still or ground tying.
  • Ground tying is an essential lesson for a horse to learn, and it’s also a convenient way to keep a horse still while you’re working on it. Horses that are properly trained to ground tie will not move unless they’re explicitly told to do so.
  • Another essential skill is yield to pressure.
  • Yielding to pressure means that the horse will move away from pressure instead of fighting against it.
  • This is an incredibly important skill when you’re riding a horse, as it allows you to direct the horse’s movements without excessive force.
  • Finally, lunge line work is another fundamental skill in groundwork training.
  • Lunge line work helps to teach your horse balance and coordination, and it also allows you to observe the horse’s gait and movement.
  • Additionally, it’s an excellent way to exercise your horse without having to ride it.

Saddle Training

Preparation for Riding

Before you start saddle training, it’s important to prepare your horse for riding.

  • This involves working on leading, pressure responses, and getting your horse used to the saddle pad.
  • Leading is an essential skill for any horse, and it’s especially important for a horse that’s going to be ridden. Your horse should be able to walk, halt, and turn smoothly with you leading it.
  • Your horse should also be familiar with pressure responses. Pressure responses are when a horse moves away from pressure that’s applied to a particular part of its body.
  • For example, if you apply pressure to your horse’s hindquarters, it should move forward. Your horse should be able to respond to pressure cues consistently before you start saddle training.
  • When your horse is used to leading and responding to pressure cues, it’s time to introduce a saddle pad. The saddle pad is an essential piece of equipment, and it’s essential that your horse gets used to it.
  • Start by placing the pad on your horse’s back and let your horse sniff it. Then, place the pad over your horse’s back and apply some light pressure.
  • Be sure to monitor your horse for any signs of discomfort.

Steps to Saddle Training

Once your horse is used to the saddle pad, it’s time to start saddle training.

  1. The first step is to add some weight to the saddle pad.
  2. Start with something light, like a bag of sand, and gradually increase the weight. This will get your horse used to the feeling of the saddle on its back.
  3. Next, you’ll want to introduce the cinch. The cinch is the strap that holds the saddle in place, and it’s essential that your horse gets used to it.
  4. Start by introducing the cinch slowly. Place it lightly around your horse’s girth area and let your horse get familiar with the feeling.
  5. Gradually tighten the cinch, making sure to monitor your horse for any discomfort. Once your horse is comfortable with the weight of the saddle and cinch, it’s time to saddle your horse.
  6. Be sure to check the saddle’s fit before you put it on your horse. Place the saddle on your horse’s back, making sure the pad is in the right position and the cinch is tightened.
  7. Again, be sure to monitor your horse for any signs of discomfort.

First Time Mounting Exercise

Mounting for the first time can be intimidating for both you and your horse. Ensure that you have a quiet and calm environment without any distractions.

Start by standing on a mounting block next to your horse. Before you mount, check your horse’s position and adjust it if needed.

Ensure your horse is standing square, with all four feet on the ground, and not leaning to one side. Once your horse is standing correctly, turn to face your horse and place your left hand on the saddle horn.

Next, gently place your left foot in the stirrup, and bring your right leg up and over the horse’s hindquarters, positioning yourself into a correct riding position. Remember to keep your heels down and your back straight.

Ensure your reins are of an appropriate length to maintain control of your horse.

Care and Caution

Mounting and dismounting correctly is important for both you and your horse’s safety. Ensure that you are mounted correctly and are not putting unnecessary strain on your horse’s back.

While riding, be aware of your horse’s behaviour and any potential issues. Before you dismount, ensure you are in a secure and safe area.

Slowly slide off the saddle while keeping your hands on the reins, and gently touch the ground with your feet before completely dismounting. Never jump off your horse or let yourself be pulled off by your horse.

Safety precautions should always be taken when dealing with horses. Be sure to wear appropriate riding attire, including a helmet and boots with a heel to prevent your feet from slipping through the stirrups.

Additionally, always ride in an area that’s safe and clear of obstacles.

Beginner Training

Many people are interested in horse training but are unsure of where to start. If you’re a beginner horseman, it’s important to seek guidance from experienced trainers or horse owners.

Learning from others who have experience with horse training can help to avoid common mistakes and ensure that you and your horse have a successful experience. When starting as a beginner, it’s crucial to take things slow.

Horses are incredibly perceptive animals, and they require time to build trust and a relationship with their handlers. Be patient and never rush the horse’s training.

Building a solid foundation of groundwork and dominance training will set you up for success when you eventually start riding. It’s also important to focus on developing your own skills as a rider and trainer.

Consider attending clinics or lessons with professional trainers to improve your own skills and gain new perspectives on horse training. As with anything, practice and hard work are essential for success.

Horse Training Costs

The cost of horse training can vary widely depending on the experience of the trainer, the type of training, and the location. As a rough estimate, expect to pay around $1000-$1500 per month for professional training.

Some trainers may charge an hourly rate, which can range from $50-$200 per hour. It’s crucial to consider costs when deciding on horse training.

Determine a budget, and seek out trainers that meet your criteria. Some trainers may be willing to offer a payment plan or a package deal that works within your budget.

It’s also worth noting that in some cases, the cheapest trainer may not be the best option. Always do your research and ask for references before committing to a trainer.

Consider the experience and reputation of the trainer in addition to the costs.


There are many factors to consider when it comes to horse training, from establishing dominance to riding skills and choosing a trainer.

If you’re a beginner horseman, seek out guidance from experienced trainers or horse owners. Remember to take things slow and focus on building a solid foundation and improving your own skills as a trainer and rider.

When considering horse training costs, determine a budget and do your research to find a trainer that fits your needs and budget. By following these tips, you’ll set yourself and your horse up for success in the world of horse training.

Training a horse requires a solid foundation in dominance, groundwork, and saddle training techniques that must be taken slowly, with an emphasis on patience and communication. Professional training costs may vary depending on factors such as location and type of training, so it is important to determine the budget and do research to find a trainer that fits your needs.

Additionally, beginner horsemen can benefit from seeking guidance from experienced trainers and focusing on developing their own skills. FAQs cover common questions including costs, beginner training, and the importance of groundwork training, among others, for a comprehensive overview of horse training.

If you’re new to horse training or are looking to improve your skills, the key takeaway is to prioritize groundwork, focus on building trust with the horse, and seek guidance from experienced professionals.

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