Grass Training Step 2

Is your grass diving horse the most annoying in Spring? When the grass is lush and green and enticing?

Is that when you think about putting Stop Grazing on cue?

Spring Problems

Do you know why this is the most challenging time of year to start Grass Training? Right: when you need it the most!

It’s also when you need it, it’s hard(er) to take the time to train it and practise patience!

It’s also the hardest time of year for your horse: when the grass is like candy, sweet and juicy and their body’s want to store energy for court shipping, breeding and maybe even already for Winter. They just can’t help themselves and then they have to deal with being pulled on their lead ropes all the time. It’s just not fair….

Southern hemisphere

If your living in the Southern hemisphere you might think this is not the time to start Grass Training. Winter is coming and you have other things on your mind…


I’ll let you in on a little secret: it would be the Best Time of the year! You can start with less enticing grass (or even hay) and make the Stop Grazing behaviour already a strong habit then when the grass starts to grow YOU are prepared and your horse won’t even try to dive into grass.

Step 2 is: Start before you need it! If you can… JUst like all other training, start before you need it.

Sounds unbelievable?

The year after I perfectionate my 100% R+ approach to grass training Kyra got Equine Metabolic Syndrome. And laminitis. I had to exercise her AND put her on a restrictive diet.

She went from 12 hours of pasture with friends to 24 hours solitary confinement. During the day in a small paddock and at night in a stall just like the other horses.

I had to hand walk her over the road at the end of Summer when the grass was just about to do another grow spurt… See picture left: Kyra with her special boots, offering Key Lesson Patience so I can make a picture. She’s ignoring the grass!

I was so afraid that I would have to struggle with a grass diving, hungry horse. I worried that I had to battle a tug of war over grass and that I would loose. I was already in pain, seeing my horse suffering.

She was so good! It was truly amazing!

Lasting results

Honestly, I couldn’t believe that I still reaped the benefits of the grass training we did that year before! Kyra didn’t pull me towards the grass and in the moments it did happen (occasionally) I cued her to stop and she listened! Once you a behaviour becomes a habit, it will be very, very strong!


Start today, making heads up a habit on grass! You never know when this comes in handy!

Join me in Grass Training if you want to get rid of the grass diving. I show you how you can teach your horse to ignore grass, teach a Stop Grazing-cue and make this a great training for your horse and for you: both get what you want! How does that sound?

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Sandra Poppema, BSc

Teaching horse people to make training a win-win and bond with their horse so they can enjoy their time together.

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Grass Training Step 1

Here is step 1 in your free mini course Grass Training. If you want to join our in depth 2-week online course, then click here. If you’re more of a DIY person and want the self paced course, click here.

Biggest pitfalls in Grass Training

Do you know the biggest pitfall most horse lovers fall into, when they want to teach their horse manners on grass? They use negative reinforcement or punishment to train it .

Pitfalls in Grass Training

They don’t do this on purpose. And hey, to be honest: I’ve fallen into this pitfall myself!

This is what happened:

  • I held the lead rope extra short so my horse couldn’t reach the grass, if he pulled he’d feel pressure. Especially with a rope halter. Yes, it can hurt when they dive strong and quick into the grass and yet … he would dive into the grass the next opportunity he got! 

So no real training (behaviour modification) there. Only prevention. And only as long as I kept the lead rope tight!

What else did I try?

  • Yes, I wiggled the lead rope when my horse took a bite until he’d lift his head. In training terms this is P+ (positive punishment: adding an aversive in order to decrease a behaviour (the grazing)). This tactic hasn’t given me long lasting results…. You? (In the course I explain why this won’t work)
  • I mixed these together with a click and treat for good behaviour.

It still didn’t work. With these techniques I never gotten long lasting results. Only very short -in the moment- results and my horse seemed to forget the whole spiel already after our ride. So frustrating!

Therefor I didn’t had the confidence to trust the process of pure R+ (positive reinforcement) until…


I started to be really precise and take a good look what was I doing that was R-, R+, P- and P+ in my training? I let go of everything NOT R+ and …. I got really, really good results!

This was a difficult process, but since I’ve been through this myself and helped hundreds of people do it, I can do this very efficiently now.

So don’t fall into the pitfall of using R- or P+ in Grass Training. Not even a little bit!

Step 1: Start using only Positive reinforcement and TRUST the process!

  • Click and treat for desired behaviour
  • Use high (enough) value appetitive to reinforcer the wanted behaviour
  • Start small: make a shaping plan to help you start small

In the course I will explain in more detail how you can shift to 100% R+ and why you will get long lasting results.

I also share 6 other reasons people are not successful in teaching a solid Stop Grazing-cue and what you can do to change them.

What do you think is your pitfall in Grass Training? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Happy Grass Training!

Join HippoLogic’s Facebook group

Become a member of our Happy Herd on Facebook and get access to my Facebook LIVE’s.

Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
Helping horse people to bond with their horse and get the results they want.

Click HERE to buy  the HippoLogic Grass Training course

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