Horseproblems Australia
Post Office Box Victor Harbor
SA. 5211
(61) 0885521418


 John O'Leary





Horsemen and Women all over the World, make their living out of correcting out of control horses for owners'. Mostly they succeed easily but often, the horses revert back to their original state. Every week I get letters like this with two today:

"My 15 yr old daughter needs to read this one! She got the shock of her life last night when her lazy, dead quiet 12 yr old appy came to life during feed time and kicked out at her. He just connected, not serious but he certainly meant it from where I was standing!
Maybe now shell listen about being too soft on him Ive told her from day one (weve had him for 5mths) not to let her guard down just because hes soooo quiet, he usually wouldnt canter more than 4 paces in the paddock to save himself but he had a bee in his bonnet last night. Hes western trained and slow is what he does best J.
Just the subtle body language such as ears back when she goes near him and he will try and stand on top of her at the feed bin not physically pushy although hes in her space, he seems to play mind games. A typical cranky old man look! "

Hello, maybe you can advise? I recently acquired a 2.5 year old filly and started working on the ground with her. I can lead her at a walk and trot nicely from either side, groom, and started longeing with a longe line and whip. She was getting good at it, learning to trot, walk, or stop at my signals in both directions. I upped the ante and added a surcingle and she was still improving. However, this is only in the round pen. In the arena she does not get it. The real problem is now that, after I was away for 4 days and she was just turned out the whole time, she has been surly when I longe, clean her hooves, or ask her to do any work. I spent an afternoon with her just hanging out and grooming so she would like me, and she followed me around like a friendly dog. But she is bad when longeing now; even charged me once. I think I had her respect and some how lost it. I am afraid of being kicked or charged at in the pen now, but she needs some work so I had her jog in hand with me for awhile."


This article attempts to point out the most common causes of horses losing respect for their owners and then the most effective ways that the owner can regain that respect and hopefully keep.



So what are the signs that horses are 'above themselves' and exhibiting signs of domination of the owner?

  • Crowding gates as the owner enters the yard

  • Standing almost on top of the owner when stationary, continually moving the feet of the them.

  • Grabbing feed from the owners hands prior to lodging it in the feeding receptacle or helping themselves to the feed bin as the owner is mixing the feed.

  • Cutting corners in the lunge ring, staring out away from the handler as they travel around, changing direction when they want, not staying on the perfect circle, laying the ears back, traveling in close to the owner with the rump cocked slightly in on the circle, half charging the owner as they cut the corner and pass by, rolling in the owners presence.

  • Leading the owner instead of the owner leading them, dictating the direction of travel, hip and shouldering the owner, moving the owner about the car park as they gossip, dragging the owner like a bad trained Dog.

  • Pawing at the tie up rail or swinging the butt around causing the owner to be forever dancing as they groom.

  • Laying the ears back and swinging the head around at the owner, even nipping whilst saddling up.

  • Difficult to catch, load on a float.

  • Not following perfect circles on the arena and veering towards the exit all the time.

  • Behind the leg.

  • Rolling in your presence in the Round Pen.

  • Not tying up properly, digging holes.

  • Daring to scream out to other horses whilst being ridden

  • Threatening or actually kicking at other horses in company.

  • and of course No. 1. squealing!!! The most definite sign of insolence and a complete lack of respect, normally followed shortly after by the owner being bucked off :)

  • Searching me for carrots.


LOSS OF RESPECT (the causes)

  • Allowing horses to encroach, crowd  or help themselves during feed time instead of being made to stand right back out of the way (10 metres) until being invited in only when the owner is ready.

  • Allowing horses to crowd the gate of the yard when the owner is trying to enter.

  • Leading horses in Pony Club style and thereby pushing and fighting with them on the ground.

  • Allowing horses to dictate direction of travel when leading.

  • Playing about with horses whilst they are eating instead of allowing the horse it's own space and quality time.

  • Allowing horses to cut corners during lunging, allowing them to go around 'flexed off' and looking out of the circle, away from the owner.

  • Allowing horses to turn with their rump in the face of the owner when changing direction on the lunge rather than inwards.

  • Owners who end up doing as much lunging as the horse by continually chasing the horse to keep it going on the lunge.

  • Allowing horses to stand close in on the owner whilst just standing around and in particular, moving the owner's feet from their original stopping position. In other words, herding the owner.

  • Incessant verbal or whip threatening without any action.

  • Accepting second best in work.

  • Failing to win every single battle of wills no matter what.

  • Standing around after work WITH A CONTACT



At least 50% of the horses that I meet, exhibit signs of disrespect when I regain respect in most cases, inside two minutes. A complete changed horse emerges. What then could those owners fail to understand?

  • A lack of Horsemanship training in the Curriculum of Equestrian Teaching Organizations

  • Owners not taking horses seriously or realizing that they are lethal weapons in the hands of unlicensed people.

  • The serious misconception that you win respect with grooming, carrots or other treats. That horses will love you then.

  • Not realizing that horses do not 'love' but 'respect'. That if we could say that horses love, they really only then love strong assertive and demanding owners who may even stretch to disciplinarians. HORSES CANNOT STAND WEAK PEOPLE!!!

  • That horses are looking for 'leadership'. They expect it and are happy when it occurs.

  • A failure to operate with consistency and on the scales of training based upon levels between zero to ten and with 'reward and relief ' for a try. An unwillingness to quickly go up the scale if necessary but always looking to operate down the scale as a result.


Here are two proven ways for people to take back control and therefore respect. ( In 5 Minutes)

The challenge is of course to keep it.

  • The Power of Leg Restraints Training

  • The O'Leary system of 'Join Up"


Go here for the explanation and here for the equipment

You won't believe it but please don't lose it again after.




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