Training the horse

“Good Training is all about Good communication. A badly behaved horse is often either confused, worried or in pain, sometimes all of these”.

Karen’s aim is to get the horse to respond to the lightest of cues (aids), therefore making the horse a pleasure to ride. This allows the horse to reach their full potential in a calm confident and happy manner, with horse and rider in partnership.

“Every horse can teach you something, you just have to be prepared to listen.”

Individual training
When training the horse Karen is very aware that each horse is an individual, most horses respond to being trained very positively, some are more sensitive and may at some point in their lives have been frightened, some may have experienced pain which has gone undetected causing anxiety or damage to the horses confidence, others may have been misread perhaps they have been told off for misbehaving when really they were trying to discover what behaviour was required of them. Communication is a two way thing and sometimes we humans can miss read it only seeing the symptom rather than the cause!

“Its important to remember that Horses don’t have pre meditated bad behaviours they simply react to the forces or events presented to them”

Positive and negative reinforcement

Pressure and release is a very successful way of training the horse, it has been used for many years; for example, applying the pressure of the riders lower legs on the horses sides to ask for “walk on”, or go faster, the moment the horse gives the correct response the legs release the pressure, behaviourist would call this ‘negative reinforcement’. Karen also uses a number of positive reinforcement techniques, to reward the desired behaviour, depending on the motivation and response of the individual horse. The timing of both positive and negative reinforcement is crucial to its effectiveness.

Karen keeps the training as simple as she can, asking for one cue at a time. This allows the horse to process and understand what action or behaviour is required.

“I am always prepared to go back a step if I feel the horse doesn’t quite understand”.

“Over the many years of training horses I have collected a large tool kit of ethical and uniquely developed techniques”.

Confidence and understanding is achieved by being consistent with both ‘in hand’ and ridden training, Karen uses specific voice cues, and physical cues (legs, hands and breathing) making sure that her timing for releasing the cue is the moment the horse shows signs of giving the required behaviour.

Good Foundations
Every schooling session would be incomplete without some foundation exercises. When training a riding horse for jumping or dressage Karen believes that the basics are always essential in creating a good foundation from which to succeed. Whether training a 4 year old, or a mature horse at the top of his game.