Author and educator, William Arthur Ward once said “Teaching is more than imparting knowledge, it is inspiring change.” Re-educating a horse with bad manners is no different than training a trick horse. Recognizing that horses react from pressure is important when associating pressure release with the correct behavior.  

Regardless of the training dilemma, I take horses through three core training methods: ground control, long reining and body control. 

Every horse that comes to me begins with ground control basics.  Through a series of exercises, the horse will learn respect for the handler and how to react positively to new situations. By setting up scenarios, horses are exposed to circumstances they may face in the future.  The goal is to move through these tough or unpredictable circumstances with confidence to negotiate and respond in a way that keeps both horse and handler safe.  For example, introducing a simple tarp on the ground will prepare a horse for an encounter with an unfamiliar surface. 

In equine entertainment, the ground control method is taken to the next step.  Liberty training asks horses to work through the same exercises around the handler free from all tack.  

Once ground control is well established, then horses move into long reining basics.  Long reining encourages self-carriage and flexibility.  This method allows the handler to uniquely apply consistent pressure to make it very clear to the horse what they are being asked.  This method is ideal for confronting training problems, such as a horse that rears, without jeopardizing the safety of the rider. 

The advanced long reining exercises are used in liberty training; teaching horses advanced maneuvers like to sit, to lie down, bow and piaffe. 

The final step in the process of re-educating horses is body control basics under saddle. Body control builds on the lessons from ground control and long reining to further construct the foundation for a soft and responsive partner. The exercises in this method are used to develop control of the five main body parts: the head, neck, shoulders, rib cage and hind quarters.  Body control is beneficial for horses of any age and riders with any amount of experience.  By teaching the fundamentals to achieve flexibility and softness, riders will discover beautiful circles, smooth lope departures, flawless lead changes and effortless roll backs.  Riders will reach their goals by refining their body control to develop a more supple horse with a willing attitude.

Liberty training takes builds on body control by removing tack from the horse’s head and mouth.  Horses learn to take cues from riders entirely from their body language.

Horse handlers can apply the ground control, long reining and body control techniques to their own horsemanship to start, re-educate or refine their horses.