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Horse Training

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Welcome to our Horse Training Section!

Twenty years ago we started putting safe and sane horse training information up on the internet. Over the years we recorded many of the concepts and techniques we found useful in training horses. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed.

People often ask us, "Which training methods do you use? The Dorrance Brothers? Pat Parelli? Ray Hunt? Monte Foreman? Frank Bell? Tellington-Jones? Clinton Anderson?"

We usually simply reply, "Yes." In some form or other we use techniques illustrated by all of these clinicians and more. Humans have been training horses for thousands of years and in the past couple of decades some talented people have been taking the best of these techniques and presenting them to the public. We simply apply those ideas that work best in the situations that we encounter.

We consider what we do as "Open Training" which is very similar to "resistance free training" except that we are more focused on developing "Learn-Learn" situations. In this way the horse always has an opportunity to choose between a primary objective (the task we want him to learn) and a secondary objective (which usually involves more work). This methodology is more fully explained elsewhere in this section, but in summary we have found it to be extremely efficient in modifying bad habits and teaching the horse to think and respond, rather than react and/or spook. We also understand and appreciate the value of positive motivation, especially when dealing with wild or anxious animals. Fear can inhibits desired behaviors so we work to get the horse to invest his energy in curiosity rather than fear-based avoidance.
Please note: There are many ways to accomplish horse training and we are not suggesting that the ideas which we present are the only appropriate training methods, nor would they always be the methods most appropriate for your personal situation. If you are training a horse, you have to be aware of your capabilities and limitations as well as those of the horse. No matter who presents the information, you must decide if it makes sense to apply it to your situation and your horse. It is in the spirit of sharing information, with the reader assuming sole responsibility for his or her own actions, that this material is presented. We hope you will find it useful and that you use good judgement and humane and safe practices when dealing with your horses.

We also need to acknowledge the LRTC Wild Horse Mentors and workshop clinicians who since the late 1980s have brainstormed and tried many new variations on traditional approaches as well as new ideas. If a variety of people could use a new approach and get consistent results, then the approach had some validity.

Of course we also apply a great deal of conventional wisdom, so the Training Section is really a combination of familiar concepts mixed with some fresh ideas.

Why we use the web to share this information.
(Our reasoning for using this format rather than selling books & videos)


Some Perspective
  • A little philosophy before we get started
Don't Worry About Mistakes!
  • For the most part, there are no mistakes. Here's why.
How Horses Learn
  • How horses learn from their environment and each other
Developing Confident Horses
  • Getting extraordinary reults from ordinary horses
Horse "Mythbusters"
  • A few common horse myths exposed
Pats or Scratches?
  • Are you a "patter" or a "scratcher"... and does it matter?


Wild Horse Facilities

Building a Practical Mustang Pen
  • How to build a safe and effective pen without breaking the bank.
A Practical Handling Chute
  • A safe chute for trimming feet, treating injuries, etc.

Approaches and Techniques

What Now?
  • You finally got your wild horse home. What do you do now?

Behavioral Factors When Training Unhandled Horses
  • Factors to consider when dealing with feral, unhandled or problem horses
Gentling Wild Horses, Approaches Which Work
  • Some fundamental theory on developing good horse responses
Catching Difficult Horses
  • How to use "approach and retreat" in the "neutral zone"
Dominance to Flight Ratio / Why Horses "Blow Up"
  • Will your horse confront or flee from a particular stimulus?
Training Horses the Wal-Mart Way
  • Training with ordinary stuff from Wal-Mart (or similar stores)
Wild Horse Case Studies
  • Case studies of recent wild horse gentlings, with pictures
Wild Horse Mentors
  • Volunteer support for wild horse adopters
Wild Horse Mentors' Workshops & Clinics
  • Cutting edge workshops for gentling and training
Success or Failure, It's Up to You
  • Some tips for the prospective "wild horse" adopter


"Open Training" and setting up "Learn-Learn" Situations
  • How we develop calm yet responsive horses by getting their emotions under control
Using Rope Halters
  • Why rope halters are so valuable in training and some ideas as to how to use them
Round Corral Logic
  • How the dynamics of round pens and longeing enhance training
Longe line Logic
  • Basic and more advanced maneuvers on the longe line

Why Ground Schooling is Important
  • The purpose of ground schooling and why it's necessary
"Clicker" Training
  • The resistance free breakthrough for those trouble spots!
The Bamboo Pole Method
  • Desensitizing and gentling horses safely with a bamboo pole
The Sliding Neck Loop
  • A safe loop to use on an ungentled horse
Working With a Flag
  • Using a plastic bag on a stick to train and desensitize a horse
Leg Tugs!
  • Teaching your horse to accept handling his legs and feet

Training by the Numbers
  • Logical sequences help guide the training process
Working with a Labyrinth
  • How to get horses to lead lightly and respect your space


Seven Steps to Safer Horsemanship
  • An explanation of Frank Bell's Seven Step Safety System
Filly's First Saddle
  • Organizing a youngster's successful first time being ridden
Bits and their Proper Use
  • The true story about snaffles, gags and curbs and how to use them
Building a Horse Course
  • Some simple obstacles which can be built using things around the barn
Disengagements and Rollbacks
  • Two great drills for improving lateral movement

Farrier Training
  • Getting your horse to stand quietly for the farrier
"Dances with Horses"
  • Ride your horse to the beat to resolve rushing or lagging problems.
Rhythm Beads
  • Using bells to focus your horse on his/her gaits

Pulling a Tire

  • Some tips on teaching your horse to pull objects
Trailering Made Easy
  • Teaching your horse to load can be as easy as 1-2-3


How to Ride a Horse
  • Important things to know if you're contemplating horseback riding.


Evacuations and Technical Rescues
  • LRTC's Emergency Response and Preparation Page
Desensitizing "Bridle Shy" horses
  • A case study with "Dahlia", an abused "rescue" horse
Horses afraid of Riders!
  • Getting wild horses used to horses and riders using "Horse-on-Horse"
Oh my Aching Back!
  • Is that behavior or training problem really a back problem?
Spooky Horses!
  • Techniques for successful "spook removal"
Bath Time!
  • Teaching a horse to accept (and like) a bath
You can Lead a Horse to Water
  • A cool trick for getting your horse to drink
Controlling Fear
  • Preventing fear from taking over


Horse Course Section:

Building a Confidence Course
  • Approaches for safe and sane confidence building
Wooden Bridges
  • How to construct and train on a simple wooden bridge
Footing Mounds
  • How to build and train on footing mounds
  • How to effectively use that hole the dirt for your mound came from
PVC Obstacles
  • Lightweight obstacles you can set up in your arena
It's the Bomb!
  • Setting up a "bomb proofing" course

Halter and Lead Equipment Section:

Training with the Halter
  • How to use a proper halter as an effective training tool
Side Pull Modifications
  • Using a rope halter as a side pull headstall
Horse Handling Ropes
  • What a proper handling rope is and how to use it
Safe Tying Practices
  • How to tie and secure your horse safely
Quick Release Knots
  • Quick release knots which will let go when you need them to
Progress Strings
  • What they are; what they are used for

Bits Section:

Curb Bits and Snaffles
  • What they are, how they differ
The Tom Thumb Bit
  • In spite of it's modest name, this is a serious bit!
Mechanical Hackamores
  • How they work; how to gauge their severity
Riding and Stopping in Snaffles
  • How to get reliable results with snaffle bits
Mecate Reins
  • A unique and practical training and trail riding tool
KBR Safety Section
  • Outdoor safety, survival and emergency action information

"Some people, who as soon as they have got upon a young horse, fancy that by beating and spurring they will make him a trained horse in one morning only. I would fain ask such stupid people, whether by beating a boy, they could teach him to read without first showing him his alphabet."

William Cavendish, Marquis of Newcastle (1743)

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KBR Horse Training Information, © 1989-2009 Lamm's Kickin' Back Ranch and Willis & Sharon Lamm. All rights reserved. Duplication of any of this material for commercial use is prohibited without express written permission. This prohibition is not intended to extend to personal non-commercial use, including sharing with others for safety and learning purposes, provided this copyright notice is attached.
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