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!

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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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Teach Your Horse to Behave on Grass (Grass Training)

Grass is growing everywhere (if you live in the Northern hemisphere 😉 ) and frustration is building up:

  • In horse owners for being pushed over and pulled when grass is in sight and in
  • horses because they want grass but it’s never without being pulled or shouted at.

Some horses like this game of “get-a-bite” and never will give up: this is just how play and reinforcement works for them. The bite is their prize! They will get it on an intermittent schedule (sometimes it works, other times it won’t) so we create a really strong pulling behaviour in our horses!

5 Benefits of Grass Training

  • Your horse follows you when your leading him with slack in the lead rope and ignores grass (he won’t even try)
  • No more frustration because your horse is being naughty or behaving like an ass (which is just another equine!)
  • Your horse will trust you more because you give him clarity: To Graze or Not to Graze
  • No more feeling like a failure. Now it will be clear to anyone that you’ve trained your horse well.
  • You’ll be proud and enjoy your horse more!

What I’ve tried (and didn’t work)

I’ve been pulling on ropes, using rope halters, ‘punishing’ my horse for unsolicited grazing (it’s not punishment if the behaviour doesn’t decrease🤣) and trying to avoid grass patches all together. Which is hard if grass is growing in your arena and liberty work will be out of the question during Summer months.

I tried it all: keeping the lead rope short, wiggling the rope, pulling and jerking (not proud of it) and later offering target sticks calling and using Kyra’s name and giving other cues.

Nothing gave me long-term results when grass was available, until I used clicker training.

Sandra Poppema

What worked

This only gave me short-term result. Sometimes only 5-second results, to be honest! Nothing worked long-term until…. I switched over to 100% POSITIVE reinforcement to teach my horse what I wanted.

Grass training works! If you use 100% positive reinforcement. ~ HippoLogic #grasstraining

Grass training when your horse is on a restrictive diet

The year after my grass training Kyra got laminitis and she needed to be on a strict diet. From a full day on grass to restricted soaked hay. That was hard for both of us. I had to exercise her (hand walking) to help her lose weight and the only place was on the road. With juicy grass growing next to it! I was worried…. And you know what? She didn’t push me over to get a bite! She didn’t pull on the lead rope to gorge on the grass. She was an angel! My new method paid off!

‘The Grass Trained Horse’:

  • Listens to his name and comes to you in the pasture
  • Can be lead on grass with slack in your lead rope
  • Can be ridden on grass without causing blisters on your hands
  • Is amazing at liberty training in Spring and Summer when greens are growing in or along your arena
  • Won’t snack leaves on trails
  • Doesn’t dive into grass when you get him out of the paddock or pasture

HippoLogic’s Grass Training

Since then I helped dozens of horse owners implement my way of grass training and they all got results. The relationship with their horse improved (no more frustration and anger even before riding started) If you want to join us in the HippoLogic Grass Training, we start in June again let me know.

Get started yourself: Grass Training (blog with video and step-by-step plan)

Or join me in an online grass training course. Click the link to get free tips https://mailchi.mp/04323b1356e8/grass-training We start June 5th

Questions about Grass training?

Book a free discovery call with me and get some advice what your next step in training will be.

Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
Helping horse people to bond with their horse and get the results they want.
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riding on grass without frustration or grass diving

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