Starting & Restarting Horses Of All Ages For All Disciplines
"Often people like me compete
before we know how to ride,
and ride before we understand
the horse. This needs to
change".-David O'Connor -
Olympic gold medalist three
day eventing Sydney 2000
"Your horse thinks,
feels, makes decisions.
Treat him like a friend,
not a slave" -Ray Hunt
Our philosophy of training focuses on building a positive experience between horse
and rider through partnership rather than fear and intimidation. It uses the principles
of natural equine behavior and herd communication to position us, the humans, as the
Using a tested and proven step by step method, horses will learn to become the
confident, relaxed and willing partnerS that every rider is looking for.
Our training of the young future competitor or the re-training of the more mature horse is based on
those simple but essential principles TRUST - RESPECT/CONTROL - CONNECTION. Regardless of
the discipline contemplated. The step by step method we use takes into account the horse basic needs:
SAFETY, COMFORT and FOOD. Because we akcnowledge the horse's basic needs to begin with, our
method works with any horse.
Ethically, it is unfair and unacceptable to ask a horse to work under stress. The goal is to gain the
horse's trust and obtain a courageous horse who is afraid of nothing while he remains highly
sensitive. That is the desensitizing work.
The absence of fear does not mean that the horse becomes "heavy", ever. The horse is right awake
and not scared. The timing in the desensitization process keeps the horse light to all aids and signals.
Once the basis for TRUST (combined with the introduction of mutual RESPECT) is laid out the work
on the CONTROL begins.
All the work on the ground revolves around the four movements: move the hindquarters, move the
shoulders, go forward and go backward. The TRUST, CONTROL AND CONNECTION obtained on the
ground will translate directly into TRUST CONTROL CONNECTION in the saddle for a horse that is
not controlled by its environment but by the relationship with the rider.
TRUST, CONTROL/RESPECT and CONNECTION not only improves safety but they also enhance the
performance and pleasure for both parties.
The quality of the relationship can always be improved (do less, obtain more - use a subtle signal
instead of an aggressive aid).
In the end, it is not about the technique, it's about the principles. Establish the link between what is
between the horse's ears and its hindquarters, use positive reinforcement, let the horse win, become
the comfort zone, and work with the horse on three different levels: mental, emotional as well as
Good ground work helps good work in the saddle and good work in the saddle helps good groundwork.