Trail practice is good for mind and body

During the summer months, we try to get the horses out on the trail a few times a month. For horses that are new to us or worried about things, we start with the trail course here on the ranch. As they get more comfortable with the various obstacles and events they encounter here at…

Trail preparation with Cool

I ponied Cool on the trail last week and he did great! He stayed behind Dave for most of the 2-hour ride. We went through a creek and over two wooden bridges. Bikes, strollers, runners and other horses passed by and he was very calm. In the creek he was very curious, nosing through the water,…

Preparing horses for the trail: ATV time!

We spent some time helping Jordan, Raji, and River get comfortable with the ATV. We allow the horses time to relax around the ATV when it’s not running. We also have them follow the ATV at the walk and trot to help build their confidence — it’s always less frightening when the noisy thing is…

A casual Quest

It was a beautiful day to play outside of the arena! Here are a few snapshots from a recent session with Quest, a 4-year-old Arabian gelding.

Developing horse and rider as a team

River is a four-year-old Quarter Horse that Maddy and I have been starting for Regina. Regina has been involved throughout the development process by observing and participating in training sessions, taking lessons, and discussing her goals and River’s progress with me on a regular basis. Regina has recently started riding River on her own, between…

Quest’s first ride

Quest is a three-year-old Arabian gelding who came to EPI to be started. He recently had his first official ride, with my intern Maddie as his passenger, and I’m happy to report that the session went well from start to finish. To start, Quest left his hay to be caught, even though the other horses in…

Relaxation in all the zones

Maddie has been working with four-year-old Ollie for a few months, helping him become a responsive partner without dimming his natural enthusiasm. This is Ollie on the day he arrived at EPI: Part of this process involves playing with him in all of his zones — nose, neck, side, haunches, tail — on both the…

Slow and steady start

Pat Parelli’s reminder to “take the time that it takes so it takes less time” is especially important when starting a young horse. I constantly evaluate the horse’s mental, emotional, and physical readiness for each step of the process, and adjust based on what the horse needs. The worst thing I could do for horses…

Playtime with Lakota

This video of Lakota’s progress illustrates the importance of playing with horses on the ground in addition to riding them. Can you see how the relationship at liberty has a direct connection to the relationship under saddle?

Creativity with a cart

Natural horsemanship provides a foundation of mutual trust, communication, and respect, supporting just about any activity or sport you want to do with your horse. This video shows some of the fun I had with Dave, my Quarter Horse/Welsh pony cross, and two of the horses here for development, Devon (Fresian) and Hermoso (Peruvian Paso).