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. Another 26mm of Rain for us and more Rain this Winter than Melbourne nahananana.

Mrs, HP is progressing well and is happy with Her progress, especially because she can now ride completely and effectively again.......walking doesn't matter of course as she still looks like Dustin Hoffman in the Running Man She'll be right though.....although one small glitch is the fact they left one of the Bolts in Her Leg too long and it will have to come out sooner rather than later, because of Her activities.




Yesterday, we were back there again with myself completing last up to date maintenance on the property and Mrs. HP and Cynthia spending the Day cleaning the Home, ready for Dave and Rachael Garland to move in next Week and take over. This will allow us to take a more enjoyable and casual approach, to visit more, have fun, teach and play with Horses there and to train Dave who has started a few and wants to get serious about it. Rachael has a lovely Donner Duccio Young one, who is featured in this Video so he returns Home too, appropriately taking over Donner Bella's yard and Stable.  :)



Maintenance will be carried out from next Week on, on a Daily basis and last Night, we attended a lovely Party at Gainsborough, with the Agistees thanking my Son, Ryan, for all of his support and work when things broke on the property, during the last couple of Years.

We would like to pay tribute to the lovely Ladies who did the Morning Feeds so that Owners of Horses could sleep in, safe in the knowledge that their Horses were cared for perfectly. So thanks Belinda Freebairn, Alice and Lauren for a wonderful job.

There will be another Dutch influence joining the Band at the property, to continue on the training with excellence, currently being carried on by Jess as well as other Training initiatives planned by Dave and Rachael. We look forward to being involved.

Cynthia Bossemma, an F.E.I. Rider in Holland, Mrs. HP's Cousin and Head Rider for will be assisting Folks interested, at Gainsborough but not outside of Gainsborough!!!!




" Re-assurance is one of the most powerful training Tools in Horse work. You look for it but most forget to give it to their Horses"



The first is another taken by a Friend of an Associate here, in the USA and shows how dangerous this can be for Folks Horses.


I hope this was Left Hand Drive


and imagine the Pain of this poor little Soul, tied up via a Chain around the Face for Years Where are they now going to put the Chain....the dumb Bastards!!!!!!!!!!!!!








The official claimed he raised concerns about the horses, provided by the United Arab Emirates - a nation that has come under considerable pressure over the alleged abuse of horses in the discipline, and their racing workload - several weeks ago but his advice was ignored.

"It should be unthinkable for the KNHS, as a Federation, to send horses under ownership of the UAE to an international championship, especially now that they have written and spoken out internationally, denouncing the abhorrent [endurance] practices in the Middle East," Van den Dungen said in a statement published on his Facebook page.

"I do not wish to be associated with an organisation that pays lip service to horse welfare by putting success at the World Equestrian Games at the top of its agenda, instead of the welfare of the horse."

He raised particular concerns about two of the horses' participation in five International Equestrian Federation competitions within an eight-month period and claimed the riding of "strange" horses went again the guidelines of the Dutch coaching team.

Maarten van der Heijden, sports director of the KNHS, hit back at Van den Dungen's claims.

"We have horse welfare as a very high priority," he insisted.

"Not only in endurance, but in all disciplines.

"We are very critical, and we will continue to fully monitor and supervise.

"The coach insists continually that the riders train horses in a way that they form a combination with each other as much as possible.

"I understand that all this is a sensitive issue, but we have acted in accordance with the FEI rules.

"We would like to perform well at the World Equestrian Games but never at the expense of horses."

The FEI World Equestrian Games are due to take place in Normandy from August 23 to September 7.




British show jumper Ben Maher and his longtime owners Mike and Emma Phillips have reached an agreement settling legal disputes between them. In December, the Phillipses of Quainton Stud filed two civil law suits against Maher, one seeking the sale of his partner for team gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Tripple X III, and the other alleging that Maher misrepresented the prices of horses he sold for them and pocketed 700,000 euros in “secret profits” from sales of their horses during their eight-year professional relationship. In April Tripple X, who had been owned by Quainton Stud in partnership with Maher, was sold to Eric Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stables.

Tiffany Foster now rides the 12-year-old Anglo-European stallion (Namelus R—Calve Z, Cantango) for Artisan Farms LLC. Quainton Stud released a statement on their website today, July 11: “Michael and Emma Phillips are satisfied that the financial settlement made to them is an acceptable amount that takes into account all the remaining areas of dispute and their legal expenses. The terms of the settlement are confidential but Ben Maher recognizes that Michael and Emma Phillips together with Quainton Stud LLP (of whom they are the sole members) were loyal owners who were instrumental in helping to advance his career to the highest levels in show jumping and for that he will always be grateful. With the benefit of hindsight, he accepts that there were aspects of his working relationship with them that should have been dealt with in a different manner.

"Ben Maher wishes to apologize sincerely for any inconvenience, distress or embarrassment that may have been caused to Michael and Emma Phillips and is grateful to them for their willingness to allow the matter to be resolved. Ben Maher wishes Michael and Emma Phillips continued success in their show jumping breeding program and their high level of involvement in show jumping as top owners and breeders. There will be no further comment on this matter.”





A DARTMOUTH woman has been jailed after she claimed she was too scared to leave her house and pocketed £130,000 in benefits then spent the money on plastic surgery and holidaying in Goa. Scheming Karen Trant, 51, claimed disability handouts for 13 years by saying she could not leave her home by herself, travel alone or go to unfamiliar places. But officials began a probe into the 'agoraphobic' after coming across photos of her posing on an exotic beach, riding a horse and preparing for plastic surgery. Plymouth Crown Court heard the brazen fraudster spent up to five months a year in the Indian party resort of Goa where she bought her own £14,000 holiday apartment. She was jailed for more than two years. She was also jetting into the country for a string of cosmetic procedures including a tummy tuck, liposuction, teeth whitening - and work on her 'bingo wings'. Trant admitted three counts of unlawful representation for obtaining benefits. Sentencing her to 27 months in prison, Judge Paul Darlow said: "You extracted from the public purse £134,000 of benefits to which you were not entitled to.




William Shatner may have pushing all the buttons as Captain Kirk of the Enterprise but on Thursday he needed a little push himself.

The iconic Star Trek actor was left needing to be pushed around in a wheelchair after a horror horse riding accident.

Left with a very badly injured leg, the 83-year-old refused to miss Comic-Con and his appearance at the Legends of TV Land panel in San Diego, California.

Helping hand: William Shatner needed to be pushed around in a wheelchair at Comic-Con on Thursday in San Diego, California
Helping hand: William Shatner needed to be pushed around in a wheelchair at Comic-Con on Thursday in San Diego, California

The animal lover revealed he was injured last Saturday.

William told the crowd of press and fans: 'I was riding a horse and had an accident. The horse got off scot-free. I did not. I wrecked my leg.'

But even though he was unable to walk and in pain, the veteran actor said he would not miss the event.

'I was not going to, in a couple of days I'll be fine, but right now I'm in a lot of pain.'

While during the panel he made jokes and seemed to be doing alright, outside the venue the actor looked as though he was finding things a bit tough.

Show must go on: The 83-year-old refused to miss the Legends of TV Land panel with Betty White

Fortunately, he has a security guard available to push him back to his car.

What exactly William did to his leg remains unclear, however the star could not even wear a shoe on Thursday, covering up his foot with a sock instead.

Despite the pain the Boston Legal star happily chatted away with fellow panellists Betty Wife and Scrubs' Donald Faison at the event.

Even though he was injured by one, William shared his love for animals, speaking with Betty about conservation.

Being in San Diego, the outspoken actor could not help but have a dig at Sea World acknowledging the recent protests at having Orcas in captivity.

He said: 'The Orca is telling us something, it doesn't have to fend for itself [water parks and aquariums] but its basic reason for living is thwarted.'





The multimillionaire, who made his fortune in the concrete industry, is leading a drive to transform China into a global horse-racing centre.
"I want to breed the best horses, best jockeys, and have the best races in China," he says.
We meet at his stables in the Chinese city of Wuhan. There are racehorses all around from some of the best stock in the world.

He shows me stallions from Australia, Japan and Ireland. Last year, he bought 94 horses at auction in Australia, chartered a plane and flew them all to China.
In 2013, a total of 1,730 horses were imported to China, a 64% increase from 2010.
Mr Ren introduces us to Sai Ba, his favourite five-year-old stallion, bought in Australia for £30,000. "Maybe tomorrow, number one!" he says.
We meet Ma Liankai, who Mr Ren describes as "the best jockey in China!"
Tiny and lean, he has just spent three months training in Newmarket, England.
"When I first went to England, I found that they are more passionate about horses than we are. They have deeper feelings for horses than they do for people!" Mr Ma says.
"I met a top-class teacher, who trained me how to build up a relationship with the horse, how to train a horse from a young age until it becomes an excellent racehorse."
In terms of scale and facilities, Wuhan rivals the world's top racecourses. It was built for a capacity crowd of 30,000. There are perhaps 3,000 here today but they are enthusiastic and noisy.

There is just one thing missing because the queues of excited punters are not gambling; there are no bookies here. Gambling is illegal in China.
Racegoers are only allowed to participate in a lottery. They choose a number corresponding to a horse. If it wins, they get a prize - a bottle of Chinese wine. No money changes hands but it doesn't seem to matter.
China's ruling Communist Party frowns on horse racing and has outlawed gambling. It considers the sport to be a symbol of Western decadence - even though it thrives in Hong Kong and Macau, both semi-autonomous Chinese territories.
Underneath the grandstand we see a remarkable sight and a clear statement of intent. There is a huge, empty gambling hall, complete with unused counters.
The people who run this racecourse quietly believe that China will change the laws and allow gambling. If they happens, Wuhan is ready.

The final race is key for Mr Ren. He hasn't won yet today and this is his big chance. He has four horses running.
They pass the finishing post, first, second and third: the perfect result for Mr Ren and for his three winning jockeys who stand, proud, on the podium.
The crowds flock to the faux-bookies to collect their bottles of wine and we have a final word with Mr Ren.
"Ten years. Ten years!" he tells me. In ten years, he says he, his jockeys and his horses will be winning at Royal Ascot.





Calgary police have apprehended the thief who stole an estimated $40,000 worth of tack in Calgary, Alberta, on May 24. The perpetrator is now in jail pending investigation after responding to an ad posted on Facebook seeking a used saddle for sale. “I had posted the list [of stolen saddles] anywhere I possibly could, especially on used tack Facebook boards,” said Katie Macleod, who was one of the tack thief's victims. “A local rider in Calgary put up an ad saying she was looking for a saddle, and the thief answered her ad on the same page I had put the list up saying she had some saddles for sale. Not very smart! “The girl had seen my post and contacted me saying that she’d been offered what she thought was one of our saddles,” she continued. “She sent me the picture she received of the saddle asking me if it was mine, and it was! It had my crappy leathers on this nice, new Voltaire saddle. They didn’t even change the leathers!” Many of Macleod’s barnmates recognized the thief’s name as a local rider who'd previously ridden at Macleod’s farm when it was under different ownership and who knew the ins and outs of the barn. But police suspect this wasn’t an isolated incident. “In the picture this girl sent you can see saddles sitting against boxes full of bridles in the background,” said Macleod. “We think she might have had accomplices, and they’ve stolen more than just our tack.” Macleod took it upon herself to catch the thief red-handed, pretending to be interested in purchasing a saddle posted for sale on Kijiji, the Canadian version of Craigslist. “We just kind of did a set up and had a friend of mine ask this girl to meet




Stratford District Council was forced to remove the carcasses of 2 dead horses yesterday (2 January) that had been left by the side of the road in Halford, Warwickshire.

Passer-by Jane Weldon and her husband Jim reported the ponies to the police on Sunday morning (29 December). But due to the New Year holiday it took several days for the council to remove the bodies.

“2 dead animals lying in the road, I think it’s shocking,” Jane told local press after discovering them.

“It’s a popular place and people walk there with their kids.

“How distressing that these poor animals have not yet been removed,

“Shame on those that mistreated them so and shame on the authorities for not dealing with what is, at the very least, an environmental risk in a more timely fashion.”

Stratford District Council told H&H: “This incident has been reviewed by the RSPCA and is being investigated by the Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

“Stratford-on-Avon District is currently investigating the “fly tipping” element and establishing evidence. No further update or information will be given while the investigation is on-going.”



The New York State Police (NYSP) are hoping the public can help identify those who spray-painted a horse and cut the animal's mane and tail. Trooper Mark O'Donnell, NYSP Troop E public relations officer, said troopers responded to a call on July 21 from a Cayuga County horse owner reporting the incident. “The horse was painted with a sideways letter 'R' using a dark spray paint,” O'Donnell said. At the time of the incident, the horse was located in a barn on the same property where the owner's home is located, O'Donnell said. O'Donnell said the NYSP are investigating the incident. “It's an ongoing investigation, and we're interviewing (people) about the case,” he said.








Hi John and Linda, How are you doing? Glad to see Linda is back in the saddle, won’t be long till you're back out showing them how it’s done Okay quick query, today I had a lesson with an instructor who I’ve had a few times on an off over the past year, however, she and I appear to differ in opinion about how Leo should go. Whenever I’m not in a lesson with her, I school using my market harborough (and dressage saddle of course ;)), so that Leo is long and low, and generally behind the vertical, but his back is nice and swingy - building up his back muscles and top line (I am also lunging every other day in your running reins - to great effect).

 However, my instructor says that he is very front heavy/on the forehand and she hates the market harborough so I don’t use it in her lessons. When I ride with her, she says to let Leo bring his head up - but I asked her is this not hollowing his back? She said yes, but he needs to learn to hold himself up and he can’t do that when his head is plunged down - which I understand. But logic would dictate - with Leo having a naturally low set neck, allowing him to go around like a llama, bracing against my contact is counterproductive to all my lunging/schooling work? She says I need to keep a contact and let the horse find out where to put his head - which doesn’t work because he’s not allowed to put it down :/ I am very confused, and I think that my instructor is wrong - but I don’t want to get into an argument with her. I wanted to ask your advice. I can take a video of both ways (i.e long and low vs hollow) to let you see what I mean - but I’m sure you can imagine what it looks like…yuck! Really annoyed/frustrated and wish I could fly you and linda over here for a visit Best wishes,

South Africa

I can understand Your confusion. It must be difficult. The only element within Your letter that is not desired is the ' on the forehand part' and that doesn't happen if the Horse is 'STRAIGHT' and through,

It is not up to Horses to 'find out where to put the Head'. This is the Sport of Dressage Training where the Rider dictates where and when the Head and Neck of a Horse will be and that should be wherever the Rider wants them. It should also be completely attached to the 'German Training Scale' and the building of STRENGTH in the Young or Green Horse (which you are riding)

The Levels of Dressage and the amount of 'collection' are designed to accommodate the maturity and strength of the Young Horses and You will note that in the Prelim/Novice Grades, the Horses are NOT to go around looking like HACKS with their 'Elementary Outlines' and therefore, their HOLLOW BACKS. Remember, the lower levels are designed to build strength, experience, balance and the rest of it but also MUSCLE TONE, to do the work.

We suspect that the Coach means to have the Horse in the Hackie outline. If so, she is wrong. The other thing we can say is that 'behind the Bit' in training is nothing to be frightened of and is indeed far more beneficial in respect of Muscle Building, the integrity of the Mouth or submission and the use of the back and swing, than attempting to collect the Horse up to this or that higher shape.

Remember this......'Collection' comes from STRENGTH, not HAULING.

It is a progressive building through correct athletic riding to build Muscles.

Linda here......... I would love to see some footage of you riding the horse both ways to make a true judgment but maybe your coach is wanting the horses nose out instead of behind the bit? If ridden correctly, from the hind leg to the bridle then the horse will take a connection in your reins and therefore take his nose down and out whilst still lifting his back. John is right however that we should have enough control of all parts of the horse to be able to put his head wherever we wish and any part of his body!








Hi, just been reading your article about hind end lameness especially in off the track thoroughbreds. I believe I am experiencing some of the signs and I was wondering who in Western Australia would you recommend having lessons with to help me correct/improve my horse?

Well....the answer to that one Tash is that if in doubt, You shouldn't be having lessons, You should be having 'Veterinary investigations of sending us a Video to assess You and the Horse. Then....depending upon what we see, making the decision about Coaches. You raise another very valid point......

The Coaching system doesn't cater for this stuff, Hell yes it should but both PC and EA Curriculums are way deficient, therefore, the MAJORITY of the Coaches in the World are not qualified to comment. That is why I had to point out to an Olympic Medallist that the Horse she was riding was unsound as Hell!!! . It brings up another very good point...the Rehab Off the Track Thoroughbred movement.....again, the vast, vast majority are not going to have one clue about assessing subliminal unsoundness which exists in the majority of them.

Hope that helped a little. Bad Luck. Regards







I really feel for those who are struggling to find that special connection with their horse. You’re so right in saying....”All you have to be is an assertive leader, with empathy when required and reward for a job well operate within the scales of lightness but be prepared to go to a 10...”..........It’s as simple as that....We all need to do a bit of soul searching before we can expect to be good teachers and trainers..... prepared to go to a 10.....that is the difference between NH and good horsemanship and training....

From the wise one, cause I know everything....    –some.....


Ps...I had to do 500+ stop and backups today whilst out on the trail (ride 7) and avoiding another trail ride expedition..... Jo...

.....the frustrated Trainer wannabie but Housewife duties get in the way




Hi Mr and Mrs HP, Just wanted to write to say how happy I am with the barrel D bit I purchased. My 4yo Arabian had been acting like he'd never been mouthed lately, complete and utter resistance in running reins, ridden, or even putting the bridle on. He was rearing, panicking and generally unhappy with my old loose ring snaffle that I had. I put it down to pain and pinching. The first day with his new bit from you, he was a different horse. Not a single protest, no rearing, no trying to flip over and evade, completely calm and relaxed. I was able to lunge him with running reins on for the first time without him slamming the brakes on and trying to rear, or spin and evade. 5 days in and he is letting me bridle him and is just so soft and relaxed. Best bit I've ever bought. Thank you! Regards Vanessa Resonance Endurance

Thanks Vanessa






Terrific! Thanks for that. Just a few more questions (although I expect there could be more! haha)

   1) After the putting the base down, is it compacted from the machinery involved in spreading it or does it need rollers?

Often it is but not always. If in doubt, water it, do it with Your Tractor, my F Truck etc. or get Roller if You can't


After the road base level, what equipment is used to compact it? (or is it also the machinery used in spreading it?)

I simply used my Bobcat.

 3) Do the bases need to be left for a period of time? or as soon as one level is compacted, the next one can be started? 3)

You only have one level of base and compact it all.

 Do the fence posts have to drilled through the base levels?(at the edge of the arena) or is the fence constructed outside the boundary of the base levels and 'fill' used in the gap?  

You can but I first do the base and then drill the posts in after.

 3 cont.) Assuming the posts are drilled through the base levels, is it ok to attach barge boards to the posts to act as a retainer for the top layer and then stack rocks/boulders around the base levels?  

Yes, put Your posts in to fit the exact centre measurements of the length of YOur Permapine 150 x 50 x 3 metres

 I hope these questions make sense. And I greatly appreciate your time to respond as this will create a clearer image in my head.   Thanks heaps Danny






Hi John,   I have a rising 2 yo riding pony x welsh filly whom I purchased as a weanling to keep my own riding horse company.   I have no experience with young horses so this choice in company wasn't the wisest decision and although I have taught her some basics (leading, backing up, lunging etc) she is really testing me and I feel way over my head.   Her current problem is with her feet - making it difficult to trim her as she won't stand still and at times I actually think when she snataches her back foot away she is trying to kick at me. I can get her feet trimmed its just time consuming and frustrating. She also won't stand still when tied. My biggest worry is that my inexperience is damaging this pony.   I don't have any plans for her for myself (as I don't have any kids) and was going to sell her when she is ready to be broken in. But I want to sell a pony that can do the basics and is safe to tie up and have her feet picked up (by a kid).   Someone suggested I try a colar so was wondering if your leg retraints and breaking in colar would fit a pony of this size? and is this what you would suggest (plus DVD of course).   Alternatively do you give people lessons on such matters or would you take her on for such training and if so can you please advise on approximate costs.     Thanks in advance, Elise

Yes I do Elise and this is a simple one. Bring Her down and You can learn and have the Pony fixed at the same time. Regards





Hi John, in response to your answer on your blog as we have discussed in the past re the lessees causing the problems with this horse it is correct .But in saying that I have thought so much about this mares issues the past few weeks that i also include the trainer who broke her in as when she came back she was already resentful about being ridden :/ as in trying to bite when being saddled etc I have also talked to you re the fact that he never rode this horse out Trail riding at all so although he was well recommended what i know now he was not a good choice for starting my mare :/ But I have decided to try and get to the bottom of her issues so will take as long as it takes J

 I did your six weeks as recommended in the running reins to rule out soundness issues so now I am going right back to starting her from the ground up, I have been doing ground work for the past week and she is going well with this although she is still not totally happy with me rubbing under her tummy near her teats she still flinches so will keep progressing with that,

That doesn't surprise me Tracy. I learnt long ago both in the Human form and the Horse that many are touchy around those areas.....which is why I don't go there on the Horse any more. We don't need to at all. We don't Milk Horses.

today i did my ground work with the saddle on and when i was happy with that I proceeded to the mounting block and spent nearly two hours just getting her to stand there on the buckle and allow me to get on and not walk off ,she at first was not happy with me rubbing her whilst just standing there so did that till she was okay with that then when i put my foot in the stirrup she laid her ears back so I just stood there with my foot resting in the stirrup until she stopped pulling a face and then took it out repeat repeat repeat until she didn’t care about my foot in the stirrup  another half an hour later ,I then went to next step foot in stirrup stand there she went to walk of i picked up the rein asked her to stop when she did I got off repeat repeat repeat, you get the picture eventually I got to point of put the leg over sit quietly and when she went to walk off i picked up the rein and backed her a step dropped the rein repeated a couple of times and then she stood for a few seconds and then tried to back up so quietly legs on walk forward drop the rein a few seconds later a few pawing at the ground I just sat there when she stopped that I waited approximately 30 seconds I said good girl gave her a rub on the neck and then got off and put her away J So I guess I will go and repeat this tomorrow and the next until she doesn’t pull faces and try to walk off when I mount,  it is certainly a learning experience cheers Tracy

Well done. Sounds like a long process with this one. Make sure Your Weight isn't on the upward scale and steer clear of Mackas :)...for that issue is often the cause of this problem. Regards



Hello there I am hoping you can please offer me some pointers as I am at my wits end. I have a 14 year old horse that I would like to do endurance on. Out on the track he is amazing but back in the vet ring he is a nightmare. He was trained very poorly in ground manners as a colt and has carried that into adult life. He is very arrogant and has little respect for handler or halter. When he wants to be a right pain he will also nudge you very strongly with his head. The main problem is getting him to stand for his heart rate to be taken. He paws, fidgets, moves from side to side, shakes his head or tries to rub etc. I have tried some mechanical measures like a bull bit or holding a foreleg, but he seems to enjoy the challenge, rather than submitting. Have you got some pointers in how to change the mindset so he WANTS to stand still, rather than be a fidgety pain in the rear end? Cheers very much!! Jeanette

Hi Jeanette. You said it.....Ground Manners. In fact I have just started writing an article on the "Stress in Horses caused by Ground Handling" You put it simply......he can Head butt You, he can rub on You and therefore he has bad Ground Manners. He is also KEPT TOO CLOSE TO HUMANS!!!!! I wish You were nearby.

If You don't understand and practice the NH Ground Handling training then You need to immediately. This will calm the frustrated and stressed Horse. However, that will take time.

I would therefore utilize the many systems within my Leg Restraints DVD's and shut this Horse down so he can learn some patience and appreciate 'reward and relief' for being calm. I presume You would be allowed to then use such for the purposes of Your Vet check?

Calming the stress within this Horse will drop Your Heart rate much.

So ask Yourself the question, do You handle the Horse like a Pony Clubber or like a Natural Horse Person? If the answer is the former, You have found Your problem. Regards



After using leg restraints on all the horses I train now since I viewed your DVD and with my current knowledge I certainly will not train any horses with out them. I am very grateful that you produced that DVD. Thanks. I have found that through leg restraints and gradual "sacking out" many problems are prevented and simply never a rise. It really seems a pity to me that overly sentimental people have ridiculed these "old school" methods without understanding them. Look forward to seeing these online videos.

New Zealand

Thanks Paddy. Glad You are finding the many remedial, investigatory, Veterinary assistance tools that comes with all the various Leg Restraints Training. You are in the minority but alongside the best :)

Hell, even Pat tried it one Day  but got into more trouble than he expected, only due to his inexperience brought about by his normally anti beliefs in the systems.




Thank you John - all credit to you and Linda for giving me the confidence, tools and support to achieve my horsey goals. Before finding your site I was an adult rider new to horse ownership on the agistment roundabout with an unsound ottb that I rescued from a "rescuer" - ended in tears of course but the horse was saved from a life of misery. I am forever thankful and pay it forward every chance I get! Picture of Herbie when I got him - handsome boy he is but chunkier now. He's going to be quite the sophisticated pleasure horse since I have no desire to compete, only to be as awesome as possible 😜 Shopping time now... S

I'd like to live at Your House S :) The luckiest and most spoilt non ridden Off the Track Thoroughbred on the Planet perhaps?



Hey john, I got a question. Got a mare that pins her ears and sometimes pig roots when leg is applied. Not rudeness, or sore. Had experienced brilliant chiro last week and is a well bred and conformed mare and shows no signs of being unsound with gaits undersaddle. Got off her and pressed her sides, straight away pinned her ears her ears, kept the pressure there and she realised I wasn't hurting her and went to groom me and sighed with relief. Also she is not girthy, never been stabled so I don't believe she has ulcers. I don't believe she is sore but if I find signs in the next couple of rides that she is I will investigate it but at this current moment I don't believe she is. My question is I believe she has been trained with spurs being used incorrectly, as before I got her she was at cutter trainer. Have you ever had a horse like her that hates legs and has a mortal fear of it, if so how did you fix it? Thankyou

Yes, as was the case with this one here (seen being sold to a Kid by me - who lived happily every after) where You could not move the horse a step with Leg for You would get Rear or Buck on the spot. All caused by a Big Spurred Hombre from Port Lincoln and totally psychologically demoralized. :( Lovely Filly too.

So don't use Legs at all for a while, just the tap on the side of the rump and build to light Legs with trust. With this one, we would follow another Horse and when she would stop, we would wait her out :) In the end, she got Her Head around it and as You see, the Kid rode off having to kick :)

Just had a lesson on her with my amazing instructor (been getting heaps of lessons lately) anyway, thinks the horse has been trained with cutting with no legs, and when the other rider before me got on and kicked and whipped the shit out of her for pig rooting and just confused her a lot it turned her sour. Also because I am an English rider and same with the other girl (big person who users the reins as balance) it confused her so it caused the issue. Now I am not going to have tight contact and just going to get her to enjoy her rides and slowly will teach her contact, collection, all that fun stuff. But right now considering her ears are back throughout 60% of the ride it's just getting her to feel happy and confident again until she is ready to try instead of resist it due to confusion. But throughout the time she will be learning leg, because she bloody has to. And I have a whip if she starts pinning ears back and not wanting to travel when leg is applied. Right now though I will be ignoring the pig rooting, as that will go away when she gets more confident. The other rider would bring her to a halt and whack her hard on the ass for it bloody disgusting.

Yes, whipping the ======= out of the Horse will really do it :(



Hello I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I have a 9 yo WB/ISH gelding. He is homebred and was trained by my mother who was great with horses. When my mum quit riding she gave all her horses to me. Samson was one of them. He's always been a fairly safe horse, no bite/kick/buck/rear but just these past few months he has been getting bad habits. I asked my mum and she said he was always like this when she had him. Problems: - biting - kicking - squashing me on the railing of the wash bay when tied - rearing when I go to mount - he does this thing where he stretches his forelegs out and puts his nose on the ground.

He sits there maybe 5 seconds to balance then jumps his hind legs forwards and goes up into a rear. This all started on Easter when I took him to the campsite we were camping at with relatives (my cousin wanted to see him). He knew something was up because they walked up to the house earlier that morning. I took him for a ride to the campsite but he just reared and reared as soon as we got near. The campsite is just near where we go for our fitness training. We have a motorbike track I usually take to get him fit and the campsite was right next to it. He'd rear and rear at the campsite so I got off. I walked him around, got him to look at everything, but when I went to get back on he started rearing again and I lost my grip on the reigns and he got loose. When I got home he was already unsaddled by my dad's girlfriend.

The next day I took him down again, similar things happened but eventually he was calm enough for me to take the saddle off and jump on bareback in the river. Even with all the commotion of little kids and colourful kayaks. Then when I had him saddled and ready to go home I asked my Aunt to give me a hand. I went to mount and he started rearing. We had him on a lunge rein just incase he took off. He reared a few times then lost footing and fell backwards on top of me. I was uninjured apart from my neck which is always needing to be fixed and he just knocked it a bit. Eventually we got home but he was jumpy all the way. I took him to the arena, dismounted, mounted again, took him for a walk/trot/canter/.

 He was on the bit, round, exactly how I expected him at a show. When I was getting on and off he didn't move a muscle. Every ride since he rears when mounting, even in the arena or yards and with people holding him. We live on an 8000 acre farm. We muster cattle, he sees tractors almost every day, hears guns going off almost every day, is kept with other horses. He still does everything on quiet days. I'm not sure what the problem is. My mum always had these with him when he was young. I was going to sell him this year but I think I may need to work on this first. I apologise for such a long message. We are English riders, mostly in showjumping. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks, Alicia

Hell Alicia.....not good at all!!. Lucky You didn't get hurt badly. I hope You didn't pull Him over though!!

Certainly, I don't feel this is a job for You to be taking on and that You should get hold of one of Your Local Cowboys to ride for You, as an assessment and experiment and in search of knowledge of the real issues here.

These can of course be a Veterinary Problem, to do with Mounting, pinched Nerves in Girth area or wither and so on or the Horse being naughty or the third issue being the lack of respect and maybe even dislike therefore, of the Horse, for You and a clue towards this is the Horse crushing You against the Tie up Rails. These are all big issues for the crushing of You could also be the Horse screaming not to Saddle it for it knows what is coming. Pain.

So You have to enlist the Vet first and then the Coyboy if then warranted, to have a SHOOT OUT with this Horse and give it some consequences for behaving badly., so as to see the true Horse beneath the surface. He needs to take the Horse to the area and get after it to go where he wishes NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unfortunately, from here, that is about all I can advise You. Best of Luck



Hi guys, hope im not being a broken record, but just after your thoughts on the construction of an horse arena.

the arena will be big, 120mx70m, and will be used for western riding disciplines.... Now given that events like barrel racing will be conducted in this arena what would you recommend for the base, given that the events would encourage quite deep disruption of the sand bedding.

I was thinking recycled 20mm concrete as the base, installed to a compacted depth of 150mm, with the top of base FL 50mm above current ground (the paddock is quite flat). Recycled concrete is cheap and sets bloody hard when it bakes out, my concern here is that it might be too hard as opposed to using a crushed rock that will still have a bit more give in the surface should a hoof makes contact, however has potential to bring up stones through the sand. Thoughts?

I have sourced a local menage sand (coarse washed sand about 4mm) to be installed on top of base. 150mm deep, would this be suitable?

Drainage wise, The base will be crowned long ways, allowing for water to run over the surface and off the long edges. I would have sub-soil drainage installed around the perimeter of the arena. My concern here is the surface water run off over 35m is a long way, should i run a parallel sub-surface drain half way between the crown and the long side edge to collect water half way along??? if so, should geofabric be used to encase the drainage running through the arena?

Also, would it be advised at all the install geofabric inbetween the base and bedding layers??

thanks in advance :)

Hi Matt

I must admit that I have not participated in Camp Drafting or Barrel Racing although of course I am familiar with the rigors on the Arena, the speed and the dangers of Horses falling. I should therefore not hazard an opinion that should be taken seriously.

However, I would be considering two factors as priorities:
  • The dangers of falls, and....
  • he mixing of the base within the Sand.

Hooves are often Shod and the power of the Hoof at speed is great. So I would suggest You go around and speak with the current Owners of other such facilities, to be sure of these two questions.

You certainly wouldn't want pieces of a base getting mixed into the Sand, be it Concrete or Rubble so if I had a reaction at all, it would be that the sub base should be of FINES, which won't matter when slightly mixed.

Best of Luck




Hi John, I had a bit of an epiphany the other day, My daughter was having a lesson on her pony, so I did Uncle Pats 7 games, for about half an hour to warm him up, thinking to myself, I need not bother to get the running reins out. Pony hasn’t been ridden in a week due to freezing winds here, so when her instructor arrived, I asked him to ride the pony for a coupe of minutes as he was rather fresh. When the lesson finished, I asked our instructor how did the pony ‘feel’. He said, that the pony felt tight in his back, but after he warmed up was good. So we discussed this, as I said I had just ran him around for half an hour, but, as my instructor pointed out, I hadn’t used the running reins, so I hadn’t warmed his top line up. So, lesson learnt, Do some of Uncle Pats games, then Uncle Johns running reins. lol By the way, using the running reins, everyone is commenting on our ponys new shape, and how he dosent drag his hind feet any more, and how he ( and my daughter) find it easier to get him round on the bit. PS well done on Lindas recovery, sensational! Thanks, Lizzy

Hi Lizzy. Interesting concept, the Battle fo the two Uncles but we both agree that the Natural Horsemanship won't warm ip the Topline but it is indeed good that You have experimented with the two and got a result. Thanks for adding to our knowledge base. Glad the Pony is changing shape for You and of course, all thanks to Your efforts. Well done. Regards



Hi John My daughter has just purchased a property in Tallarook that has a large 100 foot by 60 foot concrete slab . Can this be used as the base for an arena, expanded to a 20m x 60m arena? What should be put on the concrete? Regards John

Hi John. This is the perfect opportunity of laying a rubber coating over that and having the best base of all. (Finances approved of course) That may take all sorts of forms and the new age Glues, but you would need to research these as I am not up with them at the moment. You have the wonderful stuff that is in the Flemington Mounting enclosures, spray on stuff, conveyer belt or get it direct from China. Well done



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.



horseproblems at