Horse Training Basics


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From John Lyons Trainer Keith Hosman


Rein In Your Horse's Speed Course [Downloadable PDF]
A Downloadable Book

A sample from Day 1:

Bear in mind that simply asking your horse to do something over and over - without seeing a change - is going to annoy your horse and stall out your training. As I've been inferring, every single time you pick up the rein, you should have a backup plan already set in your brain. You should have a backup plan that says: "If Seabiscuit doesn't move his hips (for instance), I'll ask him to move his shoulders instead." That way you've still kept the correlation (in his brain) between you picking up the rein and him moving some part of his body in order to get a release from bit pressure. Example: If you want the horse to stop his shoulder and move his hips around (a disengagement or turn on the rear), you should already know that if the horse simply hangs on the bit, continues moving his shoulder and just kind of drifts around, then you should be prepared with your backup plan. You might then, after about six seconds, change the angle at which you hold the rein and increase or decrease the pressure until the horse moves a shoulder a step to the left or ask him to take a step backward instead. Find something to get that you know your horse will do - and end on that.

And, on a related note, remember that the longer you hang onto the rein, the less you can ask for. That is to say, if you pick up the rein and you're asking for a nice smooth bend in the horse's neck and zero pounds of resistance - and he just hangs there - you've got to "find an out." When you've hung onto the rein for several seconds - with no change from your horse - then let go on any lessening of resistance. The horse really doesn't go back to the barn and tell the other horses that he got one over on you. They're really not vindictive despite what we might begin to believe sometimes. He just wants you to get out of his mouth and let him go back to the barn. So, find a "win-win." And keep telling yourself that if you improve your horse just one tiny percent a day he'll be twice as good in just over three months. Right?

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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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Horses That Pull Back or Won't Stand Tied

By Keith Hosman and by Josh Lyons

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Horses That Pull Back or Won't Stand Tied

Training a difficult horse? This issue is for you if your horse pulls back, won't stand tied, drags you off, or if your horse wants to bolt, buck or blow up.

Our clinics are based on foundation work. They help you build a foundation for whatever you want to do with your horse, whatever discipline you ride. On day one, for the first fifteen minutes, riders are encouraged to do whatever they normally do when they ride their horses. They'll lunge their horses if they normally start out that way. They walk the horse around if that's normal, they trot their favorite pattern, they ride in a shank, a side-pull or snaffle... whatever they typically do, that's what they do. Then we start making changes.

If you're attending one of our clinics, or reading this article, or hiring a trainer, then virtually by definition, you too are looking to make a change. That change begins when you "fall back to the basics" and place your focus on foundation work.

The training articles that follow form an "electronic textbook" mirroring what we teach in our clinics. They describe how to build a strong foundation by taking control of your horse, one "body part" at a time.

When we're training, we don't specifically teach our horses to not pull back. Instead, when we're working on "giving to the bit," what we're teaching is to "give" in the direction of the pull, regardless of where it comes from. Up, down, whatever angle the pull comes from - it should make no difference to the horse. No matter where the pressure comes from, you want them to give to that bit, in the direction of the pull.

If you want to stop your horse from dragging you off or pulling back, he needs to learn that when he feels pressure his head should go down or give toward that pressure. You do the same thing from their backs everytime you ask them to "give to the bit." In the end, it's your riding that teaches a horse to stand tied.


Read previous article: The Snaffle Bit vs The Shank Bit

Read next article: Teaching Your Horse To Stand Still

See Complete List of How-To Articles


   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



   Meet the author:  

Josh Lyons
Clinician and Trainer

Cross Plains, TN

Josh Lyons inherited his father's stamina, patience, and talent for getting positive results from both horses and people. As Josh says, "Knowledge and patience are the only tools that you need to bring with you into your barn."�Josh currently trains out of his ranch in Cross Plains, TN.


Related Products and Articles

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

Baby Give - see also Give to Bit
Behavior and Characteristics
Ground Tie
Pulling Back
Standing Tied
Tying and Cross Ties

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Lyons Training 101: Issue Three, Part 1
"Horse Training Basics: Horses That Pull Back | Won't Stand Tied"
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