Saddle Breaking a Horse


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From John Lyons Trainer Keith Hosman


Trailer Training Horses [Downloadable PDF version]
A Downloadable Book

A sample from Day 1:

You know how you can take your car to the mechanic and suddenly it works great? Horses have the habit of doing the opposite, don't they? They're great here at home and freakazoids at the show. The same thing is going to happen later when we approach the trailer with the horse that does great today. We know that's going to happen so we must prepare for that by pushing the horse to be "extra perfect" here away from the trailer. Promise me now that you won't move to Day Two (or Three or Four) until Day One is in the bag. Each of the steps I'm outlining are important and you must make sure your horse is solid on them before progressing to the next.

Anytime you're working with your horse and he's either not getting it or reverts, fall back in your training and find something you both do well. If you "lost" your horse somewhere in his training, go back and pick him up, so' to speak. Then ask yourself if you can't break down the next step into even simpler, smaller pieces. How can you communicate to the horse using only questions that he can respond "yes" to? Hanging on to the rein till the horse "learns to sidestep" isn't as simple (to him) as hanging on to the rein till the left leg simply moves... anywhere, then quickly releasing. Because once we get that leg moving, we can work on getting it to move consistently. Then we can work on getting it moving consistently onto a certain spot. That's true for riding and it's true for ground work.

- Print out from home
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Available Downloads:
"Stop Bucking"
"Rein/Speed" (for Nervous Horse Owners)
"Round Pen First Steps"
"Trailer Training"
"Your Foal: Essential Training"


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Cinchy Horses

By Keith Hosman, John Lyons Certified Trainer

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Cinchy Horses

Here's an easy fix for horses that get cinchy or irritated when you tack up.

Have you ever seen a film that took place in a prison in which the prisoners didn't have some sort of secret world? Every prison film details the "secret life" the population carries on, the guards (seemingly) oblivious. They've got a whole "underground railroad" thing happening - with goods and services flowing back and forth, even their own currency. (Isn't it always cigarettes?) The underlying current making this all possible, of course, is their secret pipeline of communication, secret signals, informants and couriers, their own unique language. One tap of a tin can means the guard is coming, that sort of thing. The warden locks up for the night, hands the keys to his next-in-charge and goes home to the wife and kids. Meanwhile, prisoners 001 and 3924 are hatching some evil scheme to heist egg noodles from the kitchen.

Well, if your horse is stabled with one or more equine friend, he's doing the same. (Keeping him in "solitary" has it's own issues. "Cribbing" and "weaving" come to mind.) The very moment your car pulls out of the drive they get down to concocting their mischief. Maybe it's a feed room break in, maybe they're gonna kick a door in, maybe somebody's getting roughed up. One thing is absolutely certain, the older, more experienced horses are spending their evening counseling the others on ways to drive us nuts. "Move right before they put their foot in the stirrup." (Big horse laughs here) "That's a good one." I've got seven horses of my own and I know without a doubt that they get together and pass along what works, what doesn't, and how to make me crazy.

It certainly doesn't take them long to learn that a saddle on their backs means they're getting put to work pretty quick - so it's no wonder that so many bad habits develop along this point. They weren't born yesterday: You approaching with a smile on your face, a saddle in one hand and "Riding for Newbies" in the other can only mean one thing: Work. It's no wonder they begin channeling the advice they've heard from their buddies: "Dance around," "Act like you're gonna bite," "Don't let him put the bit in your mouth. You get a bit in your mouth and you're done for." And, they're always trying something new, aren't they? I'd finally worked one of my mares through - what I thought was every bad habit at saddling time - only to have her lay down on me. (I cured this by being the ready the next time: The moment her legs began to buckle I screamed like a stuck pig and got her moving... anywhere. Trust me, she didn't go back and tell the others to try laying down.)

You can only deal with these crazy things they try in one way - and that's by...

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   Meet the author:  

Keith Hosman
John & Josh Lyons Certified
Clinician and Trainer

Utopia, TX (Hill Country of San Antonio)

Keith Hosman is based in San Antonio, TX and is available for clinics, lessons and training. He frequently travels to Los Angeles, CA and Kansas City, MO where he partners with fellow clinician Patrick Benson for clinics and demonstrations. You can find him on Google+ and Reddit



Related Products and Articles

To see articles and training products related to the article you just read, see the following topics:

Bad Habits and Vices
Basic Training
Behavior and Characteristics
Cinching Up
Emotional Training
Establish Control - see Control
Ground Training
Nervous Horse
Positive Horse Training - see Active vs Reactive
Problem Solving and Troubleshooting
Respect and Trust
Retraining the Abused Horse
Saddles and Fitting
Saddling and First Ride
Standing While Mounting
Training Philosophy
Young Horse Training

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Lyons Training 101: Issue Eighteen, Part 1
"Saddle Breaking a Horse: Cinchy Horses"
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