How to Tame a Horse or Pony

Four Methods:Earn the Trust of Your EquineGround WorkConditioning For RidingRiding and Cantering

Horses and Ponies can be a person's best friend, taking us on rides through dense forests, or winning shows and ribbons, as well as just providing someone to talk to after a long day at school or work.

  • Horses aren't born knowing their purpose - much like we aren't born knowing what job we'll have as an adult, and much like us, they have to be schooled to be ridden and to trust humans.
  • So how do they do it, and how do you train your horse if you have one that's not yet broke? Well, here's how you get started!

Method 1
Earn the Trust of Your Equine

If the horse or pony is afraid of people, this may take longer than a horse who is familiar with humans. In any instance - whether your horse needs re-schooling in manners, or you're breaking it for the first time (or you just got it and want to make sure you know it before you try to ride it on your own) just spend time with it.

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    Linger nearby as it grazes, or spend time talking to it in its stall. Let it loose in a round pen to just hang out, and watch it for a while. If the horse is afraid of people, keep doing this until it settles down and starts grazing nearby. If you notice it start paying more attention to you (looking at you with its ears forward, licking its lips, etc) you can move on to ground work, as these signs mean it's interested or comfortable with your presence.
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    Make sure you talk to it so it can get used to your voice. Otherwise, you can sit nearby and read a book - the point is for it to get familiar with you. Take your time doing this!
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    Hang out for a couple hours each day, and take as long as the horse needs. If you try to rush the horse's training, you or the horse can get hurt.
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    Make sure it's comfortable with you before moving on.
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    Try to catch it. If it's hard to catch, or you're breaking it for the first time, you may need to keep it turned out in a small pen for the time being. If it needs a refresher, get it from the paddock or stall, and put it in a roundpen.
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    Let it loose. It's ideal to remove the halter when doing this, but if the horse is hard to catch, you may leave it on. If the horse is dangerous, or tries to rear up and thrash at you, go back to lingering nearby as it grazes.
    • Do this until the horse comes to you. You want it to be comfortable with you to proceed in its training.
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    If you can safely be in the round pen with the horse, grab a lunge-whip and adopt the center of the pen, forcing the horse out toward the rail. If the horse isn't familiar with people, it may move to the rail on its own, as it's trying to get away from you.
    • In both cases, talk calmly to the horse, and use slow, deliberate movements until you can start lunging. Raise the whip in one hand (or both if you need the leverage to operate the whip) and swing the line toward the horse's haunches. #*Don't crack it just yet. If the horse is easily spooked, you can get it moving just by the sheer motion of something coming toward it. If the horse is used to being lunged, you may crack the whip.
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    After the horse is moving, lower the whip - don't drop it. This tells the horse it is doing something right, and will allow it to focus on you, as opposed to the whip.
    • Don't worry about what gait the horse takes on at first, just focus on keeping its hooves moving. The horse might pin its ears and buck at you - this is okay, just make sure it's not attacking you (horses will buck when being lunged, and they'll return to the rail soon after.)
    • Crack the whip each time it bucks, to discourage it from doing it again. If it starts getting more dangerous about kicking at you, next time you crack the whip, let it sting the horse. Some trainers (and owners) will oppose of this, but if it's becoming a habit, the horse needs to associate the bad action with something uncomfortable, such as the sting of a whip.
    • It doesn't have to be a full-on lash - the grazing of the edge is enough to sting it. Think of the whip as an extension of your arm - when the horse does something bad, it should be your instinct to correct it. In this case, if the horse gets dangerous about bucking out, you need to correct it by making it uncomfortable.
    • If the horse is afraid of you, a simple crack of the whip (not stinging it) will usually be enough to keep it from doing it again.
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    Keep the horse going around the pen, letting it canter or trot as much as it needs to. Keep on the horse - if it starts slowing down, encourage it to keep going. if you're working in a small arena, there might be corners or gates the horse might try stopping at.
    • Find out where the horse will usually stop, and prepare to crack the whip as it approaches the next time around. You need to get the horse to focus on you, not on escaping. If the horse does get "stuck" in these areas, leave the center, jog toward the horse on the side opposite you want it to go (approach on the right if you want it to go to the left and vice versa) and crack the whip.
    • Don't get too close, as the horse will almost always buck out at this.
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    Once the horse is moving, jog back to your place at the center and keep it moving. After the horse has tried exploiting every nook and cranny (and failed) and has calmed down some, stand still, lower the whip, and look at your horse
    • Tell it to "whoa" even if it doesn't recognize cues. This inactivity tells your horse that you are no longer driving it, and it can stop. The horse should stop and look at you. If not, that means it doesn't trust you yet. Regardless, if the horse stops, praise it.
    • Tell it "Good boy/girl" and go back to slow movements. Some people may find this to be the perfect opportunity to attempt the join-up, however it's best to switch hands with the whip, point in the opposite direction, and to get it to move in the other direction.
    • The horse will try its games again, so remember the spots it tried to stop at, so you can be prepared to drive it forward. Horses have to be taught on one side, what they were taught on the other, so you may find that the horse will be as rambunctious as before.
    • Keep doing what you did when it was going the other way, and soon the horse will be calmed down and should be trotting (or cantering) past the problem spots.
    • Praise the horse each time it ignores corners and gates, and remember to keep the whip lowered when you're not using it.
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    Don't let the horse break its gait without you telling it to. If it trots after cantering, and you want it to trot, make it canter again and tell it to trot after a few strides. You want it to listen to you, not do what it wants.
    • Even if the horse trots when you want it to, if you didn't give it the command, it will see that as something it can get away with, and not something you told it to do.
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    Stop driving it again. Keep looking at it and tell it "whoa." This is a perfect time to get the horse familiar with commands if it's not already, but make sure you remember your body language. At this stage, your inactivity is what tells it to stop, not the words. Only later will it start associating "whoa" with "I need to stop."
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    Praise the horse for stopping, and if you can, walk up to it and give it a pat. If the horse is still unfamiliar with you, simply turn around. (If the horse is familiar with you, turn and walk away after you pet it, and stay in the center facing away.)
    • If the horse trusts you, it will walk up to you, or follow you. This is what we call the join-up. You may put the halter back on or clip the lead back on the halter if the horse successfully joined up. If it hasn't, you can try again with another lap or two in both directions, or you can leave it at that for the day.
    • Short sessions are better than long sessions, and always try to stop on a good note. Keep doing this every day until the horse joins up, and even if the horse did do it the first time, it's good to start out each training session with a join-up, as this gets the horse focused on you, and helps build trust.
    • Even with seasoned, trusting mounts, the occasional join-up will keep it in shape and give you both something to do when you can't ride or don't have a lot of time in your current schedule to exercise it under saddle.

Method 2
Ground Work

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    After your horse or pony has successfully joined up move on to ground work the next day. This is the stage where you'll teach it basic manners, and it'll set you up for later when you attempt to ride it or train it to be ridden.
    • Start out with the join-up, but once you get the horse, praise it and start leading it around.
    • Get it to walk next to you around the pen, in both directions, and teach it to "whoa" or make it stop every once in a while. This teaches it responsiveness, and gets it thinking about what you're asking of it. If the horse doesn't stop immediately, face it, give a couple sharp yanks of the rope, and walk into it.
    • If the horse knows how to back up, it will take a couple steps back, which is what we want. Otherwise, the jabbing pressure will be uncomfortable, and the horse will know that was a bad action.
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    Try again, but this time, pull back on the rope when giving the "whoa" command. If the horse remembered how uncomfortable it was to have the halter bop its face, it should stop this time. don't expect it to stop immediately at the command, but if it does, praise it.
    • If it takes another step after the command, repeat the correction, and try again. Keep doing this until the horse stops when you tell it to. You can keep pulling on the rope each time you give the command, however, after a while, the horse will stop when you stop, regardless if you give it the command.
    • Unlike in riding or lunging , this voluntary halt is what you want, so praise it when it stops with you.
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    After you get the horse to stop on command teach it to back up. Just as you corrected it for not stopping, turn to face it, walk into it, and give light jabs of the rope, pushing the rope toward the horse's chest each time, and say "Back."
    • Keep doing this until the horse takes a step back, and then praise it, and walk off. Keep repeating this, until the horse takes a step back with ease, and then move on to two steps, praise, and walk off. eventually, you can ask more of your horse - asking for six or more steps in one go.
    • Regardless, praise your horse whenever it does something you like, so that it knows that was a good action. You don't need treats for any training - a simple scratch behind the ear, or pat on the neck is enough assurance the horse needs.
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    Once the horse responds well walking, stopping, backing, and turning start working on showmanship patterns (even if you don't show) to get it to handle well. Most showmanship patterns will require trotting in-hand, stopping, backing, and pivoting, so these are perfect patterns for training a horse to handle well on the ground, and to get it to think about focusing on you, and trusting you.
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    Take it back to the round pen and make it stand. If the horse doesn't stand well, work on this before moving on. Each time it takes a step out of place, correct it and make it take a step back. The goal is to get it to stand in the same spot you had it in, but as long as it re-claims its leg(s).
    • It'll be okay if it's slightly off. Praise it as soon as it stands quietly. The horse might see this as praise for the bad action, so be prepared to correct it again, and praise it again when it stands still.
    • After a while, it'll stand quietly for a little bit, and praise it when it does. Then, walk a few steps and stop it, and count. Fifteen seconds is a good start for a horse that'll stand quietly for a short time, but depending on our horse, you can shorten or lengthen the time as you feel the need.
    • If the horse steps out, correct it and start again. After it stands quietly for the time, praise it, and let it walk on, and do it again. Before you end, count the time, praise it when it stands, and let it stand a few seconds more.
    • Be careful not to get it used to walking on after a praise, so you can do this even before you end, so it doesn't try to walk before you've given it the command. Once the horse stands quietly even after you've praised it for standing, you can be done for the day and let it back out into its pen or stall (or pasture/paddock if you can catch it.)
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    Work on desensitizing it. By now, the horse should have been in training for over a week, and should be fairly comfortable with you. If you've done the join-ups every day, you should notice that now the horse licks its lips when it's standing, looking at you with its ears perked, and maybe even turning toward you while changing directions.
    • These are all signs that the horse trusts, respects, and is comfortable with you. Once you've gained the trust of your mount, you will be able to do this with little risk of the horse acting out dangerously (IE rearing, bolting, charging, etc). #* Get the horse in the center of the arena and wave the whip around. Use slow, deliberate movements, and don't hold the whip too close at first.
    • Keep slack in your lead, as the horse will want to move around at first. While we want it to stand still, this is a completely normal response to anything scary (fight or flight) and if you try to hold it in one place, it could act out (fight).
    • Talk to it in a low, calm tone, and slowly wave the whip around until it stands still, then praise it. Wave the whip overhead, side to side so that the excess rope hits the ground and flies overhead. The horse may back up, or raise its head, and this is okay, just move with it.
    • You don't want it to be able to escape the whip, so you have to keep it the same distance regardless of the area of the arena. After a while, the horse will realize that it's nothing scary, and will settle down. Praise it.
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    Lower the whip and let the horse sniff it. It knows that it's not going to hurt it, and allowing it to sniff it and subsequently touch it, allows it to realize this. Once the horse is done sniffing it, start rubbing it over the horse's body. The horse may move away from it, and this is okay, just move with it, and keep talking calmly to it.
    • This is a perfect time to get it used to things touching it in sensitive spots, such as the belly, thigh/groin area, rump, back, etc. If the whip can reach it, let it touch it. This is especially needed with geldings/stallions, as they need their sheathes cleaned and require to be handled for that.
    • Once the horse accepts the whip, praise it, and do the same thing for the other side.
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    Move on to scarier objects, such as bags, bags on a stick, tarpaulins, umbrellas, a bouncing ball, and just about anything you can think of that would scare a horse. Which is everything. Do two or three items a day, and leave it on a good note.
    • Praise it really well (you can give it a treat for the end of the day, but a good scratch and pat, and lots of "good boy/girls" will do just as well) and turn them back in their stall/paddock/pen/etc.

Method 3
Conditioning For Riding

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    Have a horse that walks with you willingly wherever you go, barely so much as flinches at a flapping tarp, and focuses on you during the join-up. If so, you have done an excellent job of training your horse so far! Now it's time to get it ready for saddle work.
    • Chances are, the only thing that's been harnessed to your horse's head was a halter so far, so now we have to decide what we'll be using to ride the horse. Some people prefer hackamores and bitless bridles for their horses, but most shows require a bitted bridle in order to enter.
    • Because of this, the horse needs to be taught to accept the bit, and to respond to the bit. We start with this, because the horse already knows how to be lead around, and we're coming fresh out of the groundwork stage into the conditioning stage. This is a perfect time to bridge that gap, with a little bit of both.
    • Even if the horse has had a bit in its mouth before, it's always good to start from the bottom and work our way to the top. So, for this, we'll take a good snaffle - preferably egg butt or D-ring, but a loose-ring will work as well. Just make sure to get the right size, as one too small is very prone ot pinching the horse's mouth, and will ruin what we're trying to accomplish.
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    At first get the horse to accept the bit. We're not going to ask too much of it, as this is more than likely a new thing to it.
    • Take the bridle (a piece of twine tied to the bit as a headstall will work just fine for this stage) and put the bit in your hand as you normally would to bridle a horse.
    • Proceed with your normal bridling routine, and press the bit to the horse's lips. If the horse is face- sensitive, work on rubbing your hands all over its face for a while, even if that's all you do today.
    • Get it to accept it's head being touched, and then move on to bridling. The horse most likely will not open its mouth for the bit, as it doesn't know to yet. If the bit has touched its teeth, and it still won't open (be gentle if this happens), take your thumb, push it in the corner of its mouth, and shove it in as far as you can, until the horse opens its mouth.
    • Take this opportunity to place the bit behind the teeth, and pull the headstall up and over the ears. Give it a good pat if it accepted this, and then carefully take the bit out and do it again.
    • Do this 3-5 times at first, and then go back to your normal ground work routine.
      • After a while, the horse should accept the bridle, and you can start using that in place of a halter. Depending on your horse, this could be the next day, or in five days.
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    Be patient. After you do your normal join-up (at this point, catching your horse should be a lot easier) switch out the halter for a bridle, or bridle over the halter altogether and give it praise when it accepts it.
    • Continue your groundwork routine as normal, but remember that the horse has a bit in its mouth, so if you have to make any corrections that involve the reins, do them lightly, as the mouth is more sensitive and doesn't need a lot of pressure to get your point across.
    • Work on pivoting, turning, backing, halting, walking, and trotting while the horse is bridled, and do any patterns you have found, or do new ones. (heck, make up your own!) After a while of this routine, you should be able to bridle the horse straight from the paddock, though it's still recommended to get them out normally beforehand.
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    Start conditioning it to be saddled. Back when you were desensitizing it, one thing you could've done (if you didn't) was to take a saddle pad and gently throw it onto its back. If not, we can do that now.
    • Take a saddle pad, or even saddle blanket and let the horse sniff it. Rub it over the horse's neck and side, as well as back, and really all over the horse's body.
    • Take it and place it on the horse's back as it would be under a saddle. Praise the horse for standing and accepting it, then drag the pad off it's back, and do it again.
    • Do this on both sides, exaggerating the movement more and more, letting the saddle pad fly over the back to land on it, and yanking it off. Aside from a few twitches in the skin, the horse should stand quietly after about five to ten minutes of this. Praise them for accepting it.
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    If you want to move slowly leave it at that for the day. However, it won't hurt to to the same thing with the saddle soon after. Let the horse sniff it, and then rub it over its body, before setting it on its back.
    • Expect the horse to fidget with the weight, and tell it to "woah" if it moves, but move with it, just like when you were desensitizing it. let the saddle sit on its back, but don't fasten the girth/cinch.
    • Pat the horse when it stands, and then remove the saddle, walk over to th other side, and do it again. It won't hurt to let it sniff it again, and to let it rub over that side as well, before setting it on its back.
    • Praise it once it stands still, and then repeat on both sides until it stands still, and then give it praise. Leave it at that for the day, and come back to it tomorrow.
    • Once you get back through your routine join-up and get to the saddling part, you'll do something different once the horse accepts the saddle the first time. Praise it as usual, but now, reach for the girth.
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    Fasten it just tight enough to touch the horse's belly. This is where the desensitizing with the whip comes in. If you desensitized every day after your join-up, the horse should be okay with being touched everywhere by now.
    • If it fidgets too much, wait until it stands still, praise it, unfasten the girth, remove the saddle and pad, and work on it letting you touch it everywhere. Come back to saddling it later.
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    If it let you cinch it thus far with no problems, go ahead and continue tightening the girth one hole (or one inch if western) at a time. Work on both sides so as to give even pressure. Work only as far as the horse is comfortable.
    • As soon as it puts up too much of a fuss, wait until it settles down, praise it, and unfasten the girth. Then, do it again, but only fasten it as far as it allowed last time. Remember to pat it each time it stands quietly when the girth is fastened.
    • Eventually, be it today or over the span of a few days, you should be able to get it cinched all the way up with no problems.
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    Lunge it. You can do this with or without a lunge line if you're in a round pen, but regardless, you're going to want to pay extra attention to your horse. As soon as you let it go, it will gallop around and buck. I recommend you wear a helmet for this, just in case its hoof were to get you.
    • Keep on it, and let it buck. This is the equivalent of a bronco buster, only without the rider. Since there's no rider, as long as the saddle is fastened and you make sure the horse doesn't fall, the saddle will always win.
    • Crack the whip whenever it tries to stop or lay down, and keep it going in one direction until it's calmed down to an easy canter and you can order a trot. Just like the join-up, switch hands and order it to go the other direction.
    • Remember, it may start bucking again, so keep it moving forward until it stops bucking. Then, change directions two more times (about 5 laps each) and halt the horse. It's gotten this out of its system today, but you may need to do this for a few more days until it no longer bucks with the saddle on.
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    Work a few more days after you get it saddled successfully without a fight, and then you can move on. Start doing your ground work routines with it completely tacked up.
    • Do the showmanship or trail-in-hand patterns with the bridle and saddle on for a few days, and then you can move on to getting it used to weight. You want it to think of the saddle and bridle as nothing, and by doing this routine, you'll get it to focus on you while working under the equipment it'll be wearing when you're on its back.
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    Start working on getting it used to weight in the saddle. Grab a buddy to either hold the horse for you, or to be the guinea pig for this part - whoever's lighter or more capable.
    • Step or have them step onto a mounting block so that they'll be taller than the horse's back (if a horse - a pony may not need either if the rider is tall enough. Just remember that they can carry up to 20% of their bodyweight when deciding who should "get on")
    • Put your foot in the stirrup, and grab the pommel and cantle of the horn.
    • Stand like this for a moment until you know the horse has calm down. This part might not bother the horse. Now, put weight in the stirrup, and be prepared for the horse to step away. if it steps too far, release the saddle and place your foot back down until your helper can get the horse situated back at the block. You may need to step down at first, depending on the horse.
    • Try again, until you can successfully step into the stirrup and hold your weight there. Stay there for 5-10 seconds and do it again for the other side. Then, step up and lay across the saddle.
    • After a while the horse should be calm enough to let your helper lead you two around like this. It may not be flattering, but it is needed as you can easily dismount should the horse decide to act up. If at all the horse does act up and you end up on your feet again, go back to stepping up and laying over the saddle, and then leave it at that for the day.
    • Keep doing this until you can successfully be lead around from both sides. Remember to wear a helmet for these stages, and give the horse praise an time it does something good.
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    If you weren't working in the round pen before, return to it. Warm up your horse as usual, and this time, mount the horse, still with your helper holding the horse (or however you did it last time). Just sit there, and dismount the other side.
    • Mount that side and sit there for a while, and dismount the opposite side. This gets the horse used to not only you sitting on its back, but having action happen on both sides. Once the horse accepts being ridden at a stop, have them lead you around/lead them around until they can trot in-hand. Then, move on to lunging.
    • You will need to have a line for this, as the horse isn't being actively ridden. The rider is there simply to train the horse to carry a person, but it still needs to be worked out. At this stage, it may be best to lunge it in only a halter, and to provide a grab strap for the rider if they are riding english.
    • The horse may buck this time, but not as severely as with the saddle as it is already used to the weight being on its back. So, whoever rides the horse has to be good at staying on.
    • An experienced jumper may be best if no one experienced in this stage of training is available, as they have good seats from jumping their horses. Otherwise, just try to center yourself (or tell the rider to center themselves) and hang on.
    • Make sure the rider especially is wearing a helmet. Lunge the horse as normal in both directions. The rider shouldn't do anything but sit there, and you or whoever is lunging should be giving the horse commands.
    • After a successful session, leave it at that for the day, and repeat the next day. Eventually you will be able to lunge with the bridle, and progressively introduce cues (nudging with the heel/squeezing for example) until the rider can take over completely.

Method 4
Riding and Cantering

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    To get on without a lunge line, do the same thing you did during the groundwork, but with you on its back. Cue it to walk, teach it to "woah," back up, get it to flex its neck for turning. You'll be in this stage for a while, as you'll want to get the horse moving off your leg with little to no hesitation and pressure.
    • Dressage tests are perfect for this stage, as they have tons of circles and figures to keep you and your horse thinking, but you can also do horsemanship and trail patterns as well.
    • Stick to walking until you can get a good "woah" and good response from your leg, and then do the same for trotting. Make sure these two gaits are solid, and that you're getting good flexion from the neck and body in your turns. Figure-eights are a must.
    • Try not to stay still too long, as you'll want to keep the horse thinking and moving to prevent it from potentially testing you and forming bad habits. (Pawing, head swaying, etc)
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    Eventually move on to cantering. Make sure you have a solid "woah" for this, in case the horse gets carried away. Work in a large, enclosed area, such as an arena.
    • Get the horse to pick up a canter. It will feel unbalanced and you may get a rough, brisk trot beforehand. That's okay, just keep urging him to canter. Get a few good strides, and then ask for a trot again.
    • Slow down to a rideable trot, and then ask for a canter again. Slow down again after a few good strides. The reason for doing this is that the horse - if it's just now being trained - doesn't have a strong canter yet. It can't balance well, and if you ride an unbalanced canter, you and your horse can both get hurt. The goal is to strengthen his canter.
      • This may take months, so be prepared for a lot of trot work. To do this, form a circle in your arena. 20 metres if available is best, otherwise the width of the arena will do just fine.
    • Get a good trot going, and then ask for the canter. Canter the circle, and keep light pressure on the reins. Don't hang on his mouth, just ask for him to turn the circle. This forces him on his haunches to turn, and will strengthen them enough for a good, balanced canter. Always start with the side they are better at. You can find this out by watching them in the roundpen. What side to they like to canter better?
    • Keep yourself centered in the saddle, and let your arms and elbows stay pliable. As soon as the canter goes unbalanced, or the horse tried to rush, go back to a trot and immediately half-halt. Trot the full circle once or twice to regroup, and then ask for it again.
    • Repeat as needed. Eventually, the horse should transition soundly into a rhythmic trot from his canter, and if he doesn't after he's had plenty of time to realize what you were asking, do a trot-halt transition.
      • This gets him thinking again, and you can continue and try again.
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    Repeat this for the other side, in the other lead. Eventually, you'll be able to lengthen the time you stay in the canter and shorten the time you trot, until you're able to canter the whole circle. At first, however, you may only be able to canter half the circle balanced, and have to trot the whole circle to get a rhythmic trot again.
    • Work on this every day to get your horse to strengthen and balance his canter, for a month or two depending on how long it takes your horse.
    • Now, your horse should be able to canter multiple circles without needing to trot in-between, and he should be getting the transitions between trot and canter immediately. Now, do a figure-eight, cantering the circle at one end of the arena and then dropping down to a trot.
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    Change direction as you turn across the center of your arena on a diagonal, and then trot the new circle, before asking for a canter of the lead corresponding to the direction of the circle.
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    Repeat, so that you're changing leads after a full circle of trot in each direction. Once you've got this down, start shortening the spans of trot, so that most of it is done in a canter.
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    Practice cantering the 3-loop serpentine pattern. Start at one end of your arena and pick up a trot. Trot a 20 meter circle to start, and then pick up the canter at the short end. go into the first loop for whichever lead you're on, and then transition to a trot as you straighten out.
    • Ask for the opposite lead, and finish the next loop. Repeat for the final loop, trotting as you straighten out, and ask for the final lead. Return to a trot as you complete the pattern. Try to gradually shorten the span of trot each time.
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    Use the entire arena. Trot a 20 meter circle at one end of the arena, and then canter the circle. Now, drop down to a trot at the corner, and trot a 10 meter circle, and ask for a canter to go down the length of the arena.
    • Do the 10 meter trotting circle at that corner, and repeat the pattern round the entire arena. Feel free to trot the 10 meter circle twice if you find it difficult.
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    After working on the horse's gaits for weeks or months, start introducing the half-halt. Return to the original 20 meter circle. Trot one half, and canter the other. Gradually shorten the trot length, until you trot for roughly 3 steps before taking the canter again.
    • Next time,silently ask for a trot by dragging the reins and shifting your weight for a downward transition, but keep a gentle, supporting leg, and as soon as you feel your horse shift for that transition, apply more leg and ask for the canter again. Alternate this between actually trotting, so he can associate it with something he knows.
    • Remember to repeat for the other direction. After he gets the half-hald down clearly, you should be able to ride a balanced canter all around the arena!
    • Now you should be able to ride your horse walk, trot, and canter, and you can start schooling for the events you want, or just go hit the trails!
    • Remember, though, wear a helmet when doing new things, and if you're going out alone, let people know where you're going and how long you plan to be gone. Should the horse spook and dump you somewhere, people will know where to look for you. Enjoy working with your horse!


  • Give the horse enough time to learn a new thing before you move on to the next. If you move too quickly, you'll confuse your horse too much and will have to start again from something he knows.
  • Wear a helmet any time you do something new and potentially dangerous, even when handling on the ground.
  • Have someone or a trainer around while you ride, or let someone know you'll be working with a green horse should you happen to get injured.
  • Be patient and work slowly.
  • Horses of all riding levels can use a refresher!


  • Horses are unpredictable animals and anything can happen, so please have caution when working with a new or green horse
  • Each horse is different, and depending on your situation, some things may work better than others. Assess your horse and use this only as a guide. some things you may have to do differently to suit your and your horse's needs.

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Categories: Horse Training