What’s your horse’s best behaviour?

Today I posted this question on my Facebook page and the answers were pretty diverse and also surprising. When I thought about this question myself I thought back to when I got Kyra.

Kyra’s story

Kyra was 11 months old and was separated from her mom and her whole family herd three weeks earlier. Kyra was born in a nature reserve. As you know horses live in family groups and losing your family and moving to a totally

Hippologic Kyra verhuizing

Day 1: super stressed

different environment is a pretty traumatic experience. Studies say that moving is in the top 3 most stressful events for people. I guess for horses it is even worse because they don’t have a say in it. So when I got Kyra she was stressed, wounded and totally feral.

She was in a stall but each time you would open the door, she tried to jump over the wall in the opposite corner of her stall. When I agreed to take Kyra as my horse I thought it would take me a year to tame her. I had no previous experience taming wild horses.

Clicker training

HippoLogic samenvatting maand 1 3a

So I started training her with positive reinforcement. Within three weeks I could approach her, halter her, touch her all over, clean her wound and spray it with a disinfectant, clean her hooves, tie her and lead her over the premises.

HippoLogic mei '09

After three weeks of clicker training

My biggest accomplishment

The behaviour I am most proud of teaching her is for her to approach me and stand still while being touched. It all starts there. A horse that runs away and tries to escape you is not ready to learn anything else from you. So that is one of the behaviours I taught her that I am most proud of.

What is your story?

Tel me: What behaviour have you taught your horse that fills you with pride? Please share your story in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear your story.

PS: If you like this post you can share it on your social media with the buttons below. Come back later to see what other peoples comments are.

Sandra Poppema
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10 thoughts on “What’s your horse’s best behaviour?

  1. First of al, wonderfull that you have used a positive approach.
    I think the behaviour I’m most proud of is teaching my shetlander to think with me when we work togheter. Everytime we work togheter, he really does his best to understand me and think with me when a new task has been ask. Off course, his character plays a role in this mindset, but only an open and positive working relation will lead to this kind of mindset during the trainings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cindy for your uplifting and kind words.
      It is a real pleasure to have a horse that follows your lead and thinks with you. Well done. Indeed this only happens when there is trust between you and also if training is pleasurable.
      Thank you for sharing your story. 🙂


  2. Thank you for the opportunity to share. My horsey physio sent me a YouTube video on biomechanics. It showed horses not working in a healthy way ( back and hind quarters not truly engaged and nose tucked in ) it showed horses with ‘broken cervical verterbrae and kissing spines. I stopped everything right there and started to teach my mare how to stretch down at walk on the lead rope then on the lunge. Then it developed into self carriage and then my mare started offering more flair! This is the result. I am happy when she works long and low as there are some arthritic changes (she is 18) and I want her to work well within comfortable limits. She has completely changed from hollow bent to the outside (back, teeth and tack all regularly checked) to rounded back and soft outline being her preferred way of going. She will offer this ridden too. I am blown away that she is aware of what her body is doing and offering this rather than being pushed and pulled into an outline by pressure from legs and hands. A real light bulb moment for us both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jo for sharing your story here. I have watched your video (everybody, take a look). I like the way your horse starts to dance at 0:18.


  3. Maybe not the most glamorous behaviour but knowing this horse’s background, I’m pretty proud of him. Mr D came to me a few years ago to enjoy a quieter more fun life in semi retirement. He came with baggage. Ill fitting tack , muscle spasms and a real issue with the mounting block. Whilst physio and tack built for him has worked wonders, he still has some pretty unhappy associations with the mounting block. He has a pretty well practiced single buck at the block which he does if I haven’t been on for a while. I have started to re shape the whole process and ask him to come and line up for clicks and treats. Hopefully reconditioning him with happy thoughts. The next phase is to stroke him, put my foot in the stirrup and c/t for standing still. I hope to make this process a happy one for him

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooh, hard to choose after him learning so many with +R! I’ll do top 3;
    1- his default pose, his way of politely asking for a treat & just me being there seems to be the cue!
    2- standing at the mounting block while I get on. To think he used to fidget & someone hard to ho!d him standing with whip at the ready ( he was never hit but now I can’t stand using anything as a threat) No need for battles anymore thanks to +R.
    3- Wait. Really helpful in many situations 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think that it now has to be ‘being happy at the mounting block’
    One day we hope to be like Sandra and Kyra’s video mounting completely at liberty.
    But for now I am really happy with this golden oldie’s progress who had a lifetime of unhappy associations and discomfort from his previous home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing Jo. I think you will be an inspiration to everyone who has a difficult to mount horse. I see a real team here and a sincere win-win!


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