Horse Problems Australia
Post Office Box 1361,
Victor Harbor, SA. 5211



25,000 letters answered and counting





20th July, 2014

Hi Folks. Hope You had a lovely Week. Nice Rains here again and our Tanks are filling well. On schedule, phew.

Mrs. HP is ready to compete again. Astounding progress. She rode Cappo for a full session Today and did the whole shooting match.

She and Her Cousin have been having great fun, both working together and swapping information, complimenting each other well. Cynthia has been intigued in some of the 'Horsemanship' she has seen here as well and fully admits that not much is seen in Holland. I am commencing the teaching of Natural Horsemanship with Her next Week but have already succeeded in getting Her to let go of the Head of Horses :)

Here we have Cynthia on my Girl Dulce, who is as calm as she always was.

and still the Guts...missed a Pellet. :)


Mrs. HP ready to compete. She rode Cappo for a full sessions this Week, including all the moves. Very happy Lassie :) Today she went for a Trail Ride with Cynthia.......and whilst that was happening, I was.......

Fencing the Dressage Arena at Gainsborough, replacing a Personal entrance Gate for Visitors, replacing a Fence in one of the Stables and other chores. Very tired Tonight.





Hi John,
Holly was vetted yesterday and the only comment the vet had was “you will never be able to beat that temperament, she is amazing”, so all systems go. What is your advice from here. She is very green so do I send her to a trainer for some training, or do I just trail-ride her for a while???? I have a fantastic trainer David Mcinnon. Amazing young man that is really fantastic with young horses. He is the fellow that was responsible for bringing on some of Brett Parberrys young horses, and in my opinion will be a better rider than Brett in the future. Any advice much appreciated as I want to do this right from the start.
Kind Regards

Well done  Julie. Patience is a Virtue possed by many few" :) Best of Luck with Your new lovely Warmblood........which Cynthia would have purchased if You hadn't have.




Hi Linda Just got notification that Nikki and Prince for the second year running have won the Australian Stock Horse National Pointscore for dressage in Under 13 years and went one better than last year and won the showjumping award too (she was runner up last year). See you on Friday Maree

Well done to the Kid from the Bush, who has lessons with Mrs. HP, via Broadband.




Picture 1 – absolutely terrible. This is Rocky my 3 year old Welsh Cob stallion, just back from the breaker. Wouldn’t stand still, and I only dared ride him in the round yard because everytime I moved my hands even a centimetre he would shoot off at high speed. I hate my position, the tension in my body, everything about this picture – yuk yuk yuk. I had to keep my hands like that otherwise we were off!

Another reminder about this lovely Breed. As nice as they are and as good as they end up, start them Professionally and accept ZERO evasion or scooting. It runs in their Breed. I have seen enough now. Air Brakes and You are fine.



Pretty quiet Week......apart from another Agistees from Hell who is such a Pig of a thing that I had to get the Eearth moving Equipment in Today, to replace not one but two Yards that she had trashed, as well as starting Her Horse who in desperation, broke into the Tack Shed and gave me more maintainance work to do. Her name is Hayley Smith. Warning to all Equestrian Centres, don't let Her within a Mile of Your Property and put Her in Your Black Book. She fled in the Night this Week, owing money to all. Your Summons is coming Darling and You may run but You can't hide. In the end, I will Nail Your Ass with a Warrant for Your arrest



"The feeding of Multiple Horses in a Paddock is a highly dangerous activity. NEVER let any of them get near You and I mean 10 Metres. Spread the Feeds out at least 20 Metres apart, to save some being starved by the Boss or kicked and injured as well"






A judge has convicted and fined TAFE NSW $300,000 over the death of a student in a horse-riding incident but agreed with her family it remains ‘‘terribly unfair’’ that the person ultimately culpable for the safety failings has yet to be named. Sarah Waugh, 18, a former Newcastle Grammar School student, died in March 2009 when, during a jillaroo course at the Dubbo campus, she fell from a horse when it bolted. It later emerged the thoroughbred horse, hired by the TAFE’s Western Institute from a supplier, had competed in a race about six weeks before the fatal incident.

Five years on, TAFE admitted in the Sydney District Court on Monday its staff failed to check the history of the horses for use by beginner riders.

It pleaded guilty to breaching occupational health and safety laws, with WorkCover alleging its systems lacked ‘‘any kind of rigour’’ and an ‘‘institutional vacuum’’ had existed.

Miss Waugh’s father, Mark, told the court he felt ‘‘betrayed’’ by authorities and the ‘‘inconsistencies and falsehoods’’ put forward, and feared the full failings that led to his daughter’s death would not be known.

‘‘Despite all of this, no person is yet to take responsibility for the myriad of mistakes that were made, and to compound it all it is still possible that an incident like that which killed Sarah could happen again,’’ he said. Her mother, Juliana, read to the court a diary entry she had written to her daughter in which she said she felt she was ‘‘slowly dying of a broken heart’’. She said she would not be able to grieve properly until mandatory rules for the horse-riding industry were implemented. Barrister Martin Shume apologised on behalf of TAFE .

He said it had since made changes that would prevent unsuitable horses being used and reviewed all its high-risk courses. Judge James Curtis said ‘‘grave’’ fault lay with teachers Sara Falkiner and Geoff Bastian, who had ‘‘the primary and immediate duty to Miss Waugh’’ to ensure she was safe. Judge Curtis added it was ‘‘not helpful’’ for WorkCover to have referred to ‘‘the defendant’’ rather than identifying all the individuals within TAFE who were at fault. TAFE’s then director of education delivery, who was not named on Monday, had also failed to enforce the safety checks and ensure the horse supply tender process ‘‘identified and weeded out’’ unsuitable animals. ‘‘It is I think terribly unfair that Mr Waugh, even at this stage, cannot identify whether to forgive, or not, a natural person who will take responsibility,’’ he said. He fined TAFE $400,000, out of a potential maximum of $825,000, but reduced it to $300,000 for the guilty plea.

Sarah just before Her Death, on the Horse with NO MOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and note the T.A.F.E. Jumps in the background.






A central Queensland property has been quarantined after a horse died from the Hendra virus. The horse was found dead at the property near Gladstone on Thursday. It had been sick for several days. Chief veterinary Officer Allison Crook said the animal had tested positive for the Hendra virus, making it the third case of the virus in Queensland this year. "The property has been quarantined, which means restrictions apply to moving horses and horse materials on and off the property," Dr Crook said in a Department of Agriculture statement on Saturday. Authorities are assessing whether other horses need to be tested. Queensland Health staff are checking on anyone who may have come into contact with the infected animal, but no one is believed to be at serious risk.




Tortilas won the Grand Prix at Aachen and the British and thoroughly deserved to win as well! I would have given Him an even higher score.

Bias is the enemy in Horse Judging and commentating and in my opinion, Euto Dressage showed theirs right here this Week.......


In Dutch there is a proverb which accurately describes the exciting sport and unbelievable competition that occurred in the 2014 CDIO Aachen Grand Prix on Thursday 17 July 2014. When two dogs fight over a bone, an unsuspecting dog will creep up and carry the bone away. This is exactly what happened when Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin and German rival Helen Langehanenberg battled it out for the top two spots in the ranking, but made too many mistakes. Matthias Rath and Totilas benefited from this fault-fest and finished at the top of the leader board.

So in other words, he didn't deserve to win, he never deserved to win and he only won because the others made mistakes!!!!!!!!!! Thank God Euro Dressage weren't judging.

Tortilas and his Rider were great and thoroughly deserved to win. Bravo to them!!.......however, for goodness sake Rider, DON'T GRAB THE EAR OF THE HORSE again. He hates it.






GARDEN VALLEY, Idaho (AP) - A 59-year-old Garden Valley woman has died after falling off her spooked horse and hitting her head. Authorities say Charlotte Davis died of a head injury Thursday after the accident at about 10 a.m. on Easley Creek Road. Boise County Deputy Coroner Mike Johnson says Davis was riding with another person when her horse spooked and ran down the road and out of view. Johnson tells the Idaho Statesman ( that the other rider reported the horse came back without Davis, who was found on the side of the road. Emergency responders arrived but Davis died at the scene.




An 11-year-old boy died on Tuesday morning (15 July) as a result of injuries sustained during a riding accident in the grounds of Kirtlington Park, Oxon. Mehdi Junior — son of Mehdi Mehra, who is a member of Kirtlington polo club — was out riding when his horse bolted and he fell. He was wearing a riding hat at the time. Despite efforts from doctors and paramedics, Mehdi Junior never regained consciousness. “Mehdi Junior was starting to show a great interest in polo and was becoming quite a regular at the club,” said a spokesman from Kirtlington Polo Club. “He was coming to the club on weekends, running around with the other youngsters with his foot mallet. “He was very popular and well liked; a polite and well-spoken boy whose life ended so early as a result of an awful accident.” “Our thoughts and prayers must go out to his parents in this very difficult time.” The funeral for Mehdi Junior took place this morning (17 July).



A DEVASTATED horse owner has spoken of her horror after her animal was killed in a collision with a van at the weekend.

Laura, a 16-year-old black and white cob, died on Lizard Lane, in South Shields, on Sunday morning, and her 41-year-old female rider is still in hospital.

As police continue their inquiries to establish exactly what happened, local residents are co-ordinating a plan of action make the road safer.

On Saturday, at the Temple Park Centre in South Shields, a public meeting is being held from 6pm to seek the views of horse riders, villagers and others.

The injured rider is in Newcastle’s RVI where she is to undergo a second operation on her ankle.

More on this story

Horse killed and rider injured in crash with car

Call for new road safety measures after horse killed in South Shields crash

Laura’s owner, Linda Roberts, has backed calls for the road – which runs from South Shields to Whitburn – to have an entire 20mph speed limit imposed.

The 53-year-old, of Norham Avenue South, South Shields, said: “I was on the scene of the accident within 20 minutes on Sunday, my son-in-law drove me there.

“I’ll never forget the sight that confronted me on that hill. It was horrendous. Laura was dead in the middle of the road. She was a big animal, 15 hands, she must have been hit with real force.

“She had another 10 to 15 years ahead of her.

“Caroline, the horse rider, was lying on the grass verge and there were police everywhere. I can’t tell you how gutted I am.

“Caroline, who must have taken that same route hundreds of times before, is just so lucky to be alive.”

Car dealer and horse rider Nigel Oxman, from Cleadon Village, is helping co-ordinate the community response to the accident.

He has received the backing of Coun Jeff Milburn, Conservative representative for Cleadon and East Boldon, and Coun Tracey Dixon, Labour representative in Whitburn and Marsden.

Mr Oxman also revealed he had narrowly avoided injury when out riding his horse India on the same stretch of road on Sunday afternoon.

He said: “I was on my horse when a van came over the hill, causing my horse to rear up. I had to jump off.

“The driver didn’t stop. He just drove off and beeped his horn as if it was my fault.

“There is going to be a fatality unless something is done. The lady on Sunday was so, so lucky not to be killed.

“We want as many people as possible to sign the petition calling for action on speeding over the next couple of weeks, and we will then have a meeting with the councillors to see where to take things next.

“We will be distributing the petition to riding schools, farms and riding school shops. We want the whole community to get behind this.

“I believe the best way to cut speeds is to have two speed cameras installed there. Speed bumps just don’t stop them, but the risk of a £60 fine will.

“That is probably the way to go, but we will see what people have to say on Saturday.”



Dunn County (WQOW) - The Dunn County Sheriff's Department responded to another accident Saturday evening in the Town of Tainter, after a man was seriously injured while riding a horse. The sheriff's office says witnesses say the rider fell of the horse and then the horse fell on the rider, causing head and leg injuries. They say the man was air lifted to an area hospital and his condition is unknown at this time.





MAGNA — The bodies of 10 horses that died in a large field in Magna have been sent for examinations as the investigation into their death continues. Members of the Salt Lake County Mounted Horse Posse returned to the field near the Pleasant Green Cemetery, 9200 W. 3500 South, Saturday morning to make certain they found all of the deceased animals. Deputy Robert Burton, the posse's coordinator, said the group fought daylight as they searched at day's end Friday. "We didn't feel comfortable enough that we were able to search the fields as well as we wanted to," Burton said.

 "The sheriff requested the mounted posse team come back out here and conduct another search in daylight so we could feel comfortable enough that the fields that the horses had access to, that we searched them." No additional horses were found Saturday. In total, 10 horses were found dead Friday after an area resident reported finding the animals' bodies in the field. It is believed the horses may have died from dehydration, but Mike Reberg, division director at Salt Lake County Animal Services, said it is really too soon to say. The horses have been transported to Logan for a necropsy, which should provide more information. The horses' trough located in the field was empty. "(Dehydration) seems like the obvious situation and the case, but we don't know that for sure," Reberg said. "Really, we want to ascertain time of death and cause of death.

 It looks like (dehydration), but it could be a whole range of things. It could be a disease that struck the herd. We just don't know yet." Detectives from Salt Lake County Animal Services and the Unified Police Department interviewed both the horses' owner and the person hired to care for the animals, he said. "I think anytime 10 animals die, people are concerned and it's a serious matter," Reberg said, noting that he is happy that both Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder and Mayor Ben McAdams are taking the situation seriously. "This could be a felony, it could be a misdemeanor, (or) it could be something else entirely." In addition to the 10 deceased horses, one horse was found alive and is eating, drinking and interacting with other the animals, he said. "So far so good on that horse," Reberg said. He said the incident serves as a reminder to the public to call and report concerns when they have them.

"I think anytime the public sees a case or a situation where they think animals — be they dogs, cats, horses, livestock — are in some sort of distress and they're concerned, they should call because we will respond," Reberg said. "We take these things very seriously. We'll go out and check it out. … People should feel comfortable and OK to give us a call." Burton said the posse's members share a passion for horses and serving the community. "On this situation involving the death of horses, it hits really close to home for them because they care very deeply for their animals," he said. Larry Milburn said he and those in his family grew up with animals and often go riding Saturday mornings. But the circumstances made this ride different. "This is sad," Milburn said. "There's no need for it. I made the comment last night that it takes a lot to kill a horse. I hate to make it sound that cruel, but it truly does, and for something like this to happen, it's horrible."







Any way was on facebook and someone had posted a video of a Natural Horseman guru (don’t need to mention name as I think it’s irrelevant ) So I watch the video and he makes a comment re that people get into trouble with their riding as they don’t do proper preparation on ground ,I think to myself well yes have done all that J didn’t think about it again next morning go out catch the horse and think hmm wont ride today maybe I will go and play with the twelve foot rope ,so I head up to the arena and start doing the NH stuff and to my surprise, Shock, horror realise that I cant move her shoulders without a fight :O especially to the left she threatens to rear run over me etc , so I work on this for a couple of days and then I have all the ingredients shoulders hindquarters forward back etc J

 ( And I would have bet any money before hand that my horse would do all that NH stuff )So today I catch her saddle her up but take the bridle and do all the NH stuff first then put the bridle on stand her next to my mounting block and go to mount she attempts to walk off so I back her up and then precede to get on before I get my foot in the right stirrup she attempts to walk off so instead of doing what I would normally do ( pick up the reins and back her up ) I think okay I will pick up right rein and flex her to stop but she didn’t she kept circling so I think okay well I will just hold the rein until she stops at the same time I then go to put my foot in the stirrup and she lays her ears back and attempts to bite my foot :/

So I resist the temptation to actually kick her in the teeth ;) and just sat there until she stopped which took about twenty odd circles all the time nipping at my foot at times I had considered I may lose a toe ;O, eventually she stopped I patted her let the rein go and stood for a few minutes and then spent the next twenty odd minutes just flexing her into a stop no leg or anything else just picking up the one rein either way. Once that was good I went on to leg on move your hindquarters at first the same reaction tried to bite my foot but after a couple of tries got that going well J I then went onto ask for trot from walk (all this I was on the buckle at all times )and then I get the suck back, snake her neck, ears back, kick at my leg (all this behaviour that I thought I had got rid of ) but I just kept my legs on till she went to trot so after a few repetitions I get trot transition no bad reactions J

I then got sideways backwards walk trot back up all without picking up the reins JAll on the buckle .I then had a real OMG moment I don’t know whether I am on the right track or not but i realised I never ask her to do things I tell her to do things if that makes sense, since getting this mare back from lease I have been trying to get on top of her bad behaviour ears back at every request trying to bite, kicking at my leg etc etc . and I have set things up to make my requests happen :/ I have not allowed her to try and make the choices right or wrong I have been a control freak !!!!! I don’t know whether I am on the right training technique or not but have decided to follow this path for the next couple of weeks and see where it leads ,before I get back onto the dressage training cheers Tracy

Interesting question Tracy. Yes, the "Guru' is correct and I often say that "What You Manufacture on the Ground You inherrit under Saddle" I wonder though about the yellow highlite here. Could it be that the Lessees are responsible for this behavior? If indeed they are though, it could still well revert back to their lack of vigilance to Ground Manners.

Having said that, the same goes for the ridden rules. Dressage Riders almost universally, do not keep the width of training on their Horses and I speak here reletive to Lateral flexion which is one of the things that You were doing. There is no doubt that the keeping of 'lateral lightness' on as well as the incessant work on the front end of the Dressage Horses, has major benefits overall and yet few do it. Only this Week, I rode Cappo and immediately felt that he had regressed in his lateral lightness (as every dressage Horse I mount has) and it simply reflects how People do things and get used to.

So yes, Ground Manners has a huge effect upon the overall rideability of Horses just as poor Ground work is responsible for the failure of many Horse/Human relationships. If for no other reason but the fair and reasonable preparation of the Muscles of the Horse, to support the demands of ridden work, Ground work and other ridden exercises surely must be positive. Regards






Hi John, I read with interest the horse law cases from your blog on July 13th. I wonder if any of these people have thought about their own contribution to ending up with unsuitable horses. In case 1. the purchaser's viewed the horse and noticed that it spooked. They bought it anyway! I think some people have an ideal in mind and are ready to believe anything they are told- eg, 'the horse will settle down once......'. The seller may have been playing down any issues with the horse but the buyers were more than ready to believe anything. It takes courage to walk away from a horse that we want to believe fits our ideal. In case 4. the purchasers bought the horse sight unseen- not a good idea!! I'm not saying it's ok to send a dud horse to someone buying sight unseen, but unless people are prepared to really take their time and not rush in then the chances are they will get a dud. I once sold a riding horse to someone sight unseen, but the woman took three months to get to know me and the horse from a distance- multiple videos with bloopers, photos and a blog. This woman was wise and took her time- and ended up with a horse she was very happy with. Second point is that the people in case 4 paid too much. Again, I think that people see the ideal and are ready to believe anything- especially if the horse has an inflated price slapped onto it. The buyer siad the horse arrived in "shocking condition". Having looked at the photos I think that is an exageration. People need to understand that unless you are using a body scoring system then what sort of condition you think a horse is in is quite subjective. Likewise people need to have a think about exactly what they mean when they think of a 'quiet' horse and understand that the seller might have a totally different idea of what 'quiet' means. I think that case number 2 is a case of some unfortunate people who are just too inexperienced to have seen the trouble with the horse. There was a 10 minute video of the horse, and it's horrifying. That horse is basically a dogger that someone has managed to make alot of money out of - probably about $2200 more than it is worth. Aargh, the mouth on that horse- terrible. It really shows in the trot and canter. For most of this video the horse was following a lead horse. The rider never got off that horse's back- maybe that's the only way she could keep him from running off with her (loved the video soundtrack by the way- 'Runaway Train', haha). The kids who were "doing all sorts of things to this horse" really did hardly anything. The kid mounted the horse from a chair from both sides- no big deal (and I noted that a second person was at the horse's head). The kid crawled under the horse- no big deal (the dogs weren't stupid enought to do the same). If people think that these basic tricks prove a horse is quiet then they really need help in choosing a horse. It is these buyers I have the most sympathy for. Regards, Vivienne

Yes Vivienne, it still amazes me, every time I get an email saying 'Sight unseen and no Vet Check" (which is every Week of course) How many Years of warnings must there be???? If only I could be a Crook. I could be a Zillionaire with what I know. The fact though is, that they are the Victims and they are in the right. The Law takes their innocence into account and they must not be taken advantage of. Both You and I know that they will continue to be so. Regards





Hi John, Thanks for the kind words. It would have been lovely to show you him burying his face in his towel, but it was way too cold! He loves to bury way into his towel! Eyes totally covered. As I've said we've had a lot of kind comments. He has a heart of gold. I've had a few croppers but never his fault. I still remember the first time he stood next to me. Prior to that he'd lap the arena for a good 5mins. This day he stood next to me. Got back on as per usual and for the rest of the ride he was so scared, expecting a hiding. From that day he's never left my side after a stack. Even at a comp last year, think I told you about that. My fault for not listening when he said repeatedly it was too much. Bad stack comparatively, tore muscle, ligament and cartilage from my ribs, but he returned to my side at a comp... I know better now than to take him for granted!

We had a lesson this week with the instructor I used to see with my retired horse. She had us doing the same work as our normal instructor, even though I didn't tell her our homework. That makes me really happy that two instructors see us at the same level. She is fantastic and we quickly went through go exercises and had him up in front and powering. Amazingly go is an issue, with a multi race winning horse! But great instructor and pleasantly forward in the lesson. Again, thanks for the kind words. He is a lovely horse. He has a very strong sense of fair. He has occasions where he makes a mistake and panics and runs to the end of the lead and will rear. Less these days, but it still happens. The rear is self defense. I just leave him be and ask him to keep doing what we're doing. He's getting past the worrying, mostly. If I think too much it makes me sad. But he has a great home now. Had such a lovely comment at our last outing "horse confident with rider", it's nice a judge can see that. So it's nice you can see his softness in his eyes. He's taken a while to come out of his shell, but he's a larrikin now! Personality plus. K


As a very bad Ps we got a 4th at that comp last year! It was raining so I presented covered in mud on my jacket and jods. After our test judge spoke to me and said he wasn't consistently off but was off at times in the test, so we retired for the day. Not good that a lame horse and rider could beat sound competitors! I struggled to drive. It really hurt......... K

Yes K, they are all lovely Horses, every single one of them. It is just the Industry that makes them do the things they do. Well done.




G'day again HP's.   Thanks for the quick delivery of the leg restraint training video.  I've spent a bit of time with Fred Watkins in the past and had a good knowledge of the basics, but even my horse loathing husband watched it with me.  Got a lot out of it.    I started on my "touch my back legs and I'll knock your block off" 22 month old highland gelding.  Good with the fronts.  The backs.  Oh, you should have seen it.  He lost his brains and ended up laying in the dirt.  So I took the opportunity to play farrier on all his feet, lay on him, pat him everywhere... y'no, just take advantage of the situation he put himself in.   I no longer have a youngster that wants to kick.  Fancy that.  Naturally I'll repeat the process to cement the idea.   Just wish we could convert the pony clubbers, the "riders" into becoming actual horsemen and horsewomen.      Here's a pic for you.  My daughters pony.  Leg restraint trained.  Halter trained. Kid proof.  She's leading him with her little friend on board.   Hope you like it.   Thanks for your fabulous service.    Cheers   Vicki


Lol Vicky, cute Pic. Sure sorted Him out. I must congratulate You for not just watching a DVD for entertainment value which many do. For You to pick up on my comment about jumping on a Horse that trips up is a highly beneficial thing, is outstanding and you reapt the benefits.




Hi John, I just moved my 9yo OTT TB to a new agisitment (i.e. new environment, new pasture, new facilities) and we had major bucking tricks (about 7 sessions, decreasing in severity as he did not get me off and I kept him going gently) my first ride on him in the arena (3 days after move). Can I get your thoughts on whether you think this would be from 'grass' issues, anxiety, pain/health issues? I have the chiro to him this week, his saddle is fitted and I just took him for a walk yesterday. Planning to ride again tomorrow, and do one rein stops as your info suggests if he bucks again.

Whatever the cause is Fiona, it is unacceptable and You need to take steps to mitigate it. Just keep Hospitals ever in the back of Your Mind :)

It could be the Grass, it is likely to be seperation anxiety but whatever it is, action is needed. This is where the Letter of the Day comes into play. You need more submisison of attitude and so back to the Ground work. The other thing is that You should also adjourn to the Roundpen and do a session on re-mouthing the Horse (which in itself will gain You more accemptance and less attitude as well as prepare Your Horse better for One Reins Stops because alwasy remember, the poorer the lateral Mouth the more Danger there is in peerforming one.) However, the system that I know has the greatest affect is some 'leg restraints work' for that, above all else, gets faster and more strong benefits than anything. Then, of course, shut this Horse down the MOMENT it tries anything. The simple fact that You say he did this many sessions and that he didn't get you off, means that he did it to much and he coujld have gotten you off or could in the future. Don't take risks, take control. Regards





Leg Restraints Training

I just wanted to say THANK YOU from North Pole, Alaska for making such a wonderful instructional video on the use of leg restraints. I was at a loss on how to do this safely not just for me but for my horse. I know that many people think this is a very cruel training technique but if they only knew the true benefits of hobbling – restraining your horse. Before watching your video, I had hobbled my horse on one leg thinking it was OK because he is great with ropes around his legs and feet…YET… he still freaked out when the rope was caught on his pastern, and pulled very hard on it and he received a rope burn from freaking out. I felt like a terrible owner and I just could not figure out what I had done wrong as I felt I had done all the desensitizing correctly. Well, I guess not! This is where finding your website and video came into play. I purchased the Leg Restraint video. Wow….it opened my eyes and taught me so much. This video needs to be seen by all horse owners! After watching this video, my horse is now hobble trained and I use them all the time! It has taught my horse patience and has totally freed us both up for field grazing on the trails! He is not afraid to be restrained. My hobbles are tied to my saddle no matter where I go! Thanks for such a great video and I will recommend it to many. By the way..the rope burn my horse received from my “stupidity” took about 4 days to heal and now he is perfect and you would never know it happened….Of course I will never forget! Please feel free to use the above on your website! Lynn Crance



Thanks Lynn. Yes, when I read Your first Letter I knew You had been ill advised. Well done and Regards




Hi John and Linda , I hope this finds you both happy and well. I need some advice on which DVDs I should get to start formal riding work with my new standie. Herbie spent about 9 months yarded before I adopted him so we've spent months hand walking to improve feet and legs. I got on him fairly early on with no drama but he was not at all comfortable - particularly down hills and stepping to centre (even on lead). I suspected he might be stifly because he had dermatitis on both and would kick out a lot and try to bite them as well as having a static movement behind - something also locked up a few times at walk. So I packed away the saddle and commenced building work - our road is one long gradual hill with a few steep bits and the walk straight up and slow zigzag descent seems to have worked a treat. I've recently started riding out and he's much better - dermatitis is all clear too and he doesn't try to kick your head off if you touch his stifles anymore. So I'm working on the leg yielding under saddle now and have begun to lunge in RR at walk - slowly building up the time and looking for complete relaxation before moving on to trot. I think he's ready to start some slow formal work under saddle and need some guidance on what comes next. Does IS leg to OS rein cover it off or is there something else you suggest. My riding ability is not bad on a push button school master but teaching a horse is altogether different. I'd like to make sure I'm doing things correctly and in the right order so as not to create confusion later. Hope you can point me in the right direction. Cheers, S PS he's such an awesome horse - full of attitude and quite colty at times but I've never felt so safe riding out. We go past silly galloping horses, alpacas, bush turkeys rustling in the bushes, kids running around playing brandings, trampolines, bins (has to inspect every one), fires, tractors, boats, cyclists, dogs, kangaroos, and the list goes on... Herbie's solution to something scary is usually to stop dead, consider, and then go for a closer look! All this in a loose rein. The only thing that freaked him out was a horse and cart.... S

I am aware that You have the tools for the task S, so yes, we have to remember that although the Standardbred is not looked upon as a Dressage Horse (not their fault but perceived bias) they above all, need the benefits of 'Balance' to remove 'tension' and to provide 'relaxation' Therefore, although a Rider can achieve good outcomes with normal two rein riding, their empowering themselves with the knowledge of the principals of "Inside Leg to Outside Rein' will make it easier for the Horse to progress from a Cart Horse to a Dressage contender. Well done S. Good Ownership indeed!!!





Hi there,

I was reading your arena construction responses with great interest as they are very informative.

We have a property in Langwarrin, Victoria and the location for the arena just so happens to have almost perfect topography for the fall required (in both directions). Can we put a base straight down on this land or do we need to dig?

Juest straight on. The more digging the less consolidated. Regards





Hi John, Well, I've actually started to see Sky again, every day. I lost my 'mojo' for a LONG time there, and it was only made "easier" by the fact that the agistment is full care - they organise everything, he gets ample feed, etc. Unfortunately it makes it very easy to not interract with him, so basically he's been unhandled by me for well over a year, and when I have handled him, it hasn't been pretty - him pulling back and escaping, etc. So I've started with baby steps - the ones you don't like, lol. Because trust between both of us has been broken, I'm at the point of starting from scratch - even going in and grooming him in the paddock type stuff. I'm doing basic groundwork (e.g. 7 games) in his paddock because as soon as he's taken out, he goes "up" in energy and skittishness. I'm not a good enough leader at the moment for him, but in a week and a half I've already come a long way - we both have. I've actually wondered if he has ulcers again - he's as skittish as hell. I was patting him in the ribs (stroking, friendly game), stopped for a second, moved my hand back and he jumped half a foot away, that's how skittish he is. Spoke to the vet, the vet here seems to think skittishness ISN'T a symptom, and only uses them not eating or losing weight as a sign. Afterwards I remembered when Sky DID have ulcers, he wouldn't stop eating - he gorged himself in an effort to stop the pain. After he was Omoguarded, he settled down. So now I'm not sure whether to go ahead with the Omoguard ( expensive) or whether it is just lack of handling. Anyway (yes, it's another Sarah essay. It's been a while, figured you missed them), what I'm wondering is, I know your thoughts on Sky and mounting and mounting blocks. What are the chances of densensitising him to a mounting block like below, BEFORE I start riding him? Because no matter how much weight I lose, I'm stiff from never having had to mount from the ground, and I sure as hell don't want to be practising on him! And doubt there are any other horses around that I can practice on. I'm willing to take as long as it takes, but what would I need to do, and, do you think it is even possible with this horse? Thanks immensely....also, as a side note, you'll know when I'm thinking of getting close to riding him, because I'll be ordering a saddle from you. I ain't taking chances with a self emptying saddle on this boy this time!! It won't be for a long, long time though. Cheers, Sarah

Hi Sarah. The training to the Horse to this Block will do Him Good. You can do it with simple repition, advance and retreat and patience, with Leg Restraints Training which he has on Him or via the tapping of a whip on the off side, to get Him to move over to it. The warning is that whilst Moujnting Blocks are of great assistance to the Physically challenged, it can also enhance Danger, if the Horse isn't truly giving to the use of it. Best of Luck


Case 2

Hi again

He hasn’t been ridden yet, 6yo standardbred gelding 15.3.hh.

I really need to start from scratch eg getting respect from the horse on the ground first, safety tips and how to earn trust and respect from horses in general before I even think about trying to ride him.

I don’t have a lot of confidence from past terrifying experiences as a teen  where I was not in control and the horse was green/young. I was never taught horse psychology and how to get respect from the horse, so have researched heavily the past 8 yrs after leaving the “horse world” feeling hopeless but wanting to learn how the professional horseman and woman developed relationships with their horses…….This has led me to, Pat Parelli, Buck brennaman, ======= & Wayne Banney. They all seem like they know their stuff but I need help building confidence before I can do most of the things they are asking. I don’t know where to start,  how and when to move forward and if the horse is actually showing me true respect.

I have been following your podcast on dangers during feeding and using this with my 19 yo mare and the standardbred as they are together in the paddock as he can be quite pushy and intimidating when there’s food around.

The first time it happened he approached me with his ears pinned and arrogant nearly walking straight into me to get to the mare eating. I was scared and shocked at the same time especially because he challenged me when I tried to make him move away.

The next time I fed them I started by carrying a large lunge whip to the fence and making him stay out of my way while placing the feed buckets in their holders. This was without going into the yard as I wasn’t sure if he would move when I asked him. He did move J and then I kept him away from my mare so she could eat because he hogs all the food from her (all outside the yard first)until he stood still with his head down and showed no interest in the food, then I left him.

A couple of days after doing this I entered the paddock (nervously) when he was already about 20 meters away from me not expecting to be fed. I had a wheel barrow of hay that I took in with my whip and as soon as he started to walk towards me I hit the whip on the ground aggressively and walked at him at the same time until he turned away and stopped. I then separated and fluffed up all the hay biscuits into 2 piles and left the yard. He then walked to the food when I was out of sight.

I smiled and thought I did that right, but still lack the confidence to really know for sure that I earnt a little respect that day, and where do I go to from here? What’s the next thing I should try and achieve with him? He’s easy to catch and rug while being held, but seems nervous when tied up and grooming which makes me too scared to pick up his feet and groom him alone.

I know that the saying is “green on green makes black and blue” but I really want to achieve this and grow with the challenges and feel that I need experience from the right people to make this happen.

I don’t want to quit and really want to learn how to feel less intimidated by horses in general so I can give him a new happy life. Any ideas and advice are appreciated.

Cheers, Kristal

P.S I have bout your testing the lateral mouth DVD and it looks great

Hi Kristal,

Well done on the Paddock feeding.

Appols for scratching one Name out of Your List because he doesn't rate. It is easy to be a Legend on the Internet but they need to be one in the Yard too.

The Internet Guru's are like Poet's. They often make things far more technical than they should be and must spend a lot of time writing Dream statements to impress or perhaps to be remembered by. It ain't that difficult!! Especially with a Standardbred. Uncle Pat coined the Phrase "Paralysis of the Analysis' and I recommend You don't fall into it for You will never get there.

There are a certain Group of Horse Owners who struggle with confidence. They are especially vulnerable to Romantic statements and can get hung up with them. To gain a 'relationship' with Your Horse, all You have to be is "An assertive Leader, with empathy when required and reward for a job well done. To operate within the 'Scales of Lightness' BUT BE PREPARED to go to a 10 if needed. THIS IS WHERE THE AMATEUR GET'S CAUGHT OUT with the Romantic Refrain of the Guru's 'touchy feely' words that often get used. Case in Point is Your Paddock exercise.

So go out there and DO IT!!!! Tomorrow, go catch the Horse, forget about GROOMING and

start teaching Your Natural Horsemanship....and although You may not be the profile to want to entertain Trust me, You should...for many reasons.



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