"This page is devoted to the education of Horse People everywhere, in the hope that one small thing learnt will improve the life of their horse.

If I 'get up your nose', ignore it. I say things with a 'glint in the eye' and mean the best for you and your horses."





17th April, 2009

Roll reversal. Mrs. HP is bringing me tea in Bed as I fight off the flue.

Mrs. HP worked with her Hack again today and this time put the Owner on. Every Horse we work on and every person we meet, we try hard to make it an educational experience for you all, as well as the Client.

I mentioned that the Horse was 'Bridle lame' (caused by jiggling). Too light (caused by jiggling) and I suspect 'side reins' which is the exclusive took f the Hackie World. Anyhow, the Client, who rides well, is just a victim of her own environment for as I have explained in the past, the bulk of technically correct training information resides in the Dressage Fraternity, not the Hacking World and so......

the Horse could not be ridden on standard Dressage Circles (max 20 metres) as is the case with so many of the Hacking Horses. This too is caused by the combination of 'jiggling' and not riding 'inside leg to outside rein' and so total loss of control of the outside shoulder of the Horse is seen.

So therein lies the challenge of the lesson as we go forward over the next few days. After al, the Horse is being made ready for Pony Dressage where such attributes are going to be essential. I predicted some time ago how Pony Dressage will force and cause a necessary change in the ability and knowledge base of Hackies. It will cause them to re think their past ways and open up new and necessary opportunities to chase the real knowledge from the Dressage World. That may in turn spill down t Pony Club and hopefully trigger a new awakening.


Steffen Peters on Ravel (Photo Credit: Tish Quirk)

Steffen Peters and Ravel brought the crowd to their feet when winning the Dressage Grand Prix at the Rolex FEI World Cup™ finals at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas Thursday.

The 44 year old German-born US rider who is based in San Diego, California clinched victory with a score of 77.915%, pinning nine-time World Cup champion Anky Van Grunsven into second spot while German star and two-time World Cup winner Isabell Werth had to settle for third place.

The Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals will continue at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas through Sunday. The Finals feature World Cup Finals in the two Olympic disciplines of show jumping and dressage.

The competition began with a difficult ride for Jan Ebeling whose 12 year old mare, Rafalca, proved arena-shy on this big occasion and fellow-American, Leslie Morse, also experienced deep disappointment when her 17 year old stallion, Kingston, was eliminated after becoming unsound at the beginning of his test. Morse was devastated after leaving the ring on foot after the Ground Jury rang the bell to call a halt to her effort. "I had the most powerful amazing ride yesterday. It felt like eight or nine years of togetherness had come together to such a fun time" she said afterwards. "I could tell in the first corner, he felt unbalanced and I knew he wasn't right. We respect the Ground Jury's decision....it was absolutely in the best interest of the horse..."she agreed.

Ashley Holzer of Canada went into the lead with Pop Art just before the half-way break, but The Netherlands' Hans Peter Minderhoud pushed them down the order with a better mark for Exquis Nadine before Werth and Satchmo changed the leaderboard once again when fourth-last of the 14 starters to take their turn. Werth's score of 73.745% was immediately surpassed by a mark of 74.170% from the defending champion whose horse, IPS Painted Black, produced some spectacular extended trot.

It was Peters however who completely stole the show with a magical performance from his 11 year old bay gelding. Just as they had done in the practice session the previous day, the pair remained totally in tune with one another, Ravel earning nine out of 10 marks from one judge for his excellent piaffe and two nine-point marks for a fabulous extended canter while Peters himself was awarded nine points for his riding position. Fans at the ringside waved a huge flag reading "Bring it home Steffen" and he did just that, the final partnership of Monica Theodorescu and Whisper finishing seventh when scoring 70.170%.

Van Grunsven could not bring her triple World Cup winning ride Keltec Salinero this time around and was further hampered during the qualification period by a recurring back injury which kept her periodically out of the saddle but she was pleased with her horse's effort. "Riding him here has been a new challenge for me, I was not sure how it would be but his confidence is growing and I'm satisfied and feel very happy with my second place today" she said.

Werth said she had to be cautious when going into her first pirouette because Satchmo was nervous of the sound of camera-shutters - "please don't click on Saturday night!" she said with a laugh to the photographers.

Ravel however was totally at ease in the electric atmosphere and Peters found it hard to describe his delight at the final result. "He gave it all to me today, I didn't have to push him hard he just gave me all the movements - I'm beside myself with excitement!" he said.

"He was just like this yesterday in the warm-up, even when the spectators were clapping and screaming when he was executing some of his movements. He is showing so much more maturity since he competed at the Olympics in Hong Kong which was his first big international event. Today we didn't have to hold back and I could take some calculated risks and they really paid off. I can't tell you how happy I am!" he declared.

The Grand Prix result however does not influence the battle for the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup™ dressage title which will be decided on Saturday night during the Freestyle competition, and a huge influx of Californian supporters are expected to turn up to watch the battle played out under the Las Vegas spotlights.

Friday's schedule at the Thomas & Mack Center promises plenty more entertainment with world-class competition in the Olympic/Grand Prix Pas de Deux Challenge which will feature big stars performing in pairs. This will be followed by the International Superstar Young Horse Exhibition but the highlight will be the emotional retirement of Debbie McDonald's mare Brentina, the only US dressage hose to win the World Cup final. The partnership represented the USA at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and led the team to bronze medal position in Athens in 1999.

"It was six years ago that Brentina and Debbie McDonald earned the United States' first and only FEI World Cup Final Championship, so it is only appropriate that they return here to Las Vegas to celebrate a career that is one of the all-time best in the sport of dressage" said Pat Christenson, President of Las Vegas Events.




Hi John

Just read your bit on NH vs GH. I think they are the same when applied properly. I think the problem with NH comes not from Uncle Pat but from the opinions of those who become religious about it. I once asked the senior PNH people about using hobbles and the answer was "of course when done properly". Same answer for laying horses down (ie the tap). I get the impression that some things are not seen in the parelli system because its a people training system not a horse training system. And those people are not yet ready to use those tools with "savvy".

Unfortunately it is not always realised by students of the system that just because they haven't seen in the lesson packs (yet), doesn't mean there is no place for the technique.

I was able to see a very high level student of Pat's start a horse at his recent Sydney Celebration event. I think Trevor would have done well at Equitana. Pat doesn't teach his high level students to start a horse the same way as he teaches people to become horsemen.

Unfortunately I think students get the two confused. You have to learn the basics before being good enough to start a horse. I don't think Pat would disagree with any of the points 1-9 you list. But some students on some forums might :)


If I may explain to Readers that Cath is actually a real person :) and is a personal Friend of Pat, stays with him from time to time.


I want to clear up some of the thrust of my piece last night.

When I speak of NH people sinking the boots behind the scenes and setting up flaming debates to suit their own ends, I don't mean these are the many NH participants out there. I mean (and this is what irritates me) that they are al Professional People who make their income out of Training Horses. So what they are up to is attempting to play with the minds of the Equestrian Public so as to financially damage and discredit others in order to further their own income streams. That is what is not nice. It shows nastiness and it shows bias. They attempt to drive wedges between the disciplines which is damaging to the overall scene.

The fact is that NH compliments every system on the Planet and vice versa.

In order to light such fires, people need to find a tool. An emotive tool, the one that is most likely to flame the general Public, which is why the age old and boring thread "What is your opinion of Leg Restraints" is so prolific on Horse Forums. In reality, those who use it are 'spin doctors' and weave a very cunning web as they skillfully lead the debate in most unobtrusive ways. :)

So my appols to all the NH people out there. It is the Professional Trainers that are playing these games, not you. Of course it is interesting where the GH Folk compliment the NH systems and agree that they form terrific add on to other systems but the few NH people with vested interests,  knock other systems. Thinking back, that has always been the case as the barrage of attacks after Pat first arrived here was over the top indeed. As I said yesterday, they mustn't be happy in their own skins :)

Those who best serve Horses are those who are open minded, pragmatic and who continually search for change, flexibility of mind and improvement for the Horses.


quoting a letter last night.

"The lunging does lead me to a question.  My horse has been extensively NH trained.  I've had lessons to learn his buttons etc and can work him in the NH manner.  When it comes to lunging for riding purposes, so I suppose we call that English?, he has one thing that would make him dangerous to put a rider on without reins or stirrups.  He has been taught that, when he halts, he is to face up.  He does this with great alacrity and many a rider would go flying off the side due to the quickness with which he faces up.  We are training him to halt on the circle by correcting each time and he is getting it.  It is a button I need to break, do you have any other ideas?  I don't think it fair to make a big deal out of it as he is only doing what he has been taught for 8 years of his life, so I do a quiet correction when it happens.


I know what you mean about that and of course it is trained into them with the cocking of the NH persons head onto one shoulder and staring at their rump, pre=programmed of course by training them to 'hide their ass' prior. The enthusiastic Horse will start to do it quicker and quicker.


You could utilize the yo yo game, as soon as the horse starts to spin and back it back to the fence and around to square on, or, probably a better spych system, use the yo yo game to stop the Horse. So no longer ask it to stop with the NH look but just start yo, yo on the fence to stop square on the fence. Then, at the start, if the Horse attempts to square around to face you, go up the scale from your lower level, to put the horse back from where it came. Parallel to the Fence."

Of course the horse should only face up when you look at his rump.  Otherwise he should halt on the circle and not assume.  In the higher levels he may be asked to back up on the circle.

Thanks Boss. So what did you think of my answer? NH enough from a GH kind of a Guy hahahaha? Remember, I have been to one NH Clinic in my life. 20 years ago. I hope that proves how much NH there is and always was in the Good Horse Trainers, pre NH. They were always NH.



Correction. I commented on the roping Horse last night, having a wonderful Mouth. It is actually a Grand Prix Dressage Horse and it still has a great Mouth. So let me point out something else. Great hands that allow a stillness of the Mouth and a happiness in the face, regardless of outside interference, are an attribute to be proud of.




Hi John

i have been regular reader of you website and watched alot of your pod cast, which i thoughly enjoy and find very informative.

i just wanted to share with you my sand colic experience. on easter sunday i went out to feed our ponies, we have four, one is a tiny little miniature named JJ ( he's my baby). anyway i noticed him sitting down in his hay and thought, thats strange. i walked over, called his name and he came over ( another strange accurance when food is around). a few days earlier i thought he looked a tad potty in the belly but thought i may just be that dreaded hay belly that most ponies get at some stage in their life. how wrong was I.

his stomach was so tight, and within 2 hours he was obviously starting to experience pain ( wanting roll ) . lucky i agist at friends, who are experienced horse people, at 9pm we tubed him with beer and oil then waited, he had the odd tummy rumble and poop but nothing to stop the pain and bloating. so we rang the vet and my friend happily drove the 30 minutes to pick up some muscle relaxant injections to see if that would help. it did, but not for long, at 2am we tubed again and gave another injection, same results. so i walked him, and walked him, sometimes dragging him to keep him moving, he would try to roll and i would literally have to sit on him to stop it. i have never felt so alone and scared in my whole life, i thought a few times he was going to die on me.

finally at 4.30am his tummy started gurgling and making thunder like noises, then finally he started pooing, a few solid bits full of sand, then the oil started coming out, instantly he perked up and looked better, so over the next 2 hours he eat and pooped until finally a 7am i felt he was ok enough for me to go home and get some sleep.

i felt proud that i had stayed with him as if i didnt i would of surely had a dead pony. what a horrible experience, and one that i am not keen to go through again.

the silly thing is i purchased your sand colic recipe a few months ago, and had planned on using it on all the ponies but just never seemed to get around to doing it. stupid, i know..... well on tuesday, i got off my back side and made up the recipe to give to my little JJ. by the way, he is fine and seems to be feeling better...

yesterday i decided to wash some of his poo, i washed four lots that were between 15 minutes and 6 hours old, this is what i found.....

i weighed the lid with the sand on it and it weighed 1.5 kilograms... i nearly passed out, god knows how much has come out that i dont know about, and how much is still to come. after seeing this i have no hesitation at all, to use and recommend your recipe. i only wish i had of used it sooner and saved my little fellow from the horrible time he experienced..

we have now given all our ponies a dose of your recipe, as there is no way i am going through what i did on easter sunday again.

thank you for sharing your wonderful horsemanship skills and experiences with the world, if i ever have an issue, its usually your site i visit to find the answer.

kindest regards


Thanks for passing that on Kylie and congratulations for being an Owner who went the hard yards You should be very proud of yourself. A rarity in the Horse Word.

Once again, Horsemen prove what Scientists can't work out ey? A very good test as it turned out because you pitted the Vet's Oil and Drugs treatment against our one and completely proved what I have been attempting to pass onto people for years. Can you imagine how many Horses are out there with guts full of Sand? I can tell you that every single Mini Horse has for starters :(  It is interesting for me, that you found that the Drugs only worked for a little while because we have found that time and time again, the less time the Drugs work the more serious the Problem and if they don't bring relief at all, you may as well go and get the Gun. Thanks



Promise not to put you on my 'Blonde of the Day' :)

Now, this is where the benefits of 'proper' Halter breaking comes in. Proper Horse Training, as in GH, brings add on benefits to every Horse at every stage of the career because of the real and meaningful training.

Will you be able to get your Foal up along side you straight away, to assist Mum an to shut down the obvious evasion reason???? That is where real Halter Breaking will show. If you do, your problems will be over. Like this client.

You may have to put your lead rope around the chest of the Horse to start with, so that the Foal has to come up and centre. Practice in the Round Pen. Become a Trainer. Dare to be. Flick the Foal over the rump and teach it the English language. "Walk On"  "Whoa" Break the Foal in as I say.

Well done for wanting to do this though. Most admirable.



Hi John,
Can I suggest a new page for your site, somewhat similar to 'Dob in a rug terrorist, possibly to be called 'What The Heck?'
Let me give you an example of a WTH moment.
Last Christmas, my wife dragged my daughter and I away from our horses in the Yarra Valley to Sydney for a 'holiday'.
Soon, desperate for some horsey time and break from the hustle and bustle, my daughter and I headed for a trail riding centre North of the city.
While we were there waiting for the next ride to commence, we were engaged in conversation by a fellow rider that claimed some extensive experience.
The guy wouldn't stop talking about himself, and we were glad when some of us were finally asked to mount up first so that novice riders could be given more attention.
A friend just sent me this photo that she happened to snap of my daughter and I at the very moment we glanced over to see Mr Experience on the mounting block, put his right foot in the stirrup and almost knee his horse in the neck as he attempted to mount his horse facing backwards.
Even though you can't see the guy himself outside of the shot, I hope the expressions of disbelief on our faces and the grey I'm riding look as funny to you as it does me. I think the grey's face says it best of all of us. Anybody who says horses are stupid animals that don't have deeper comprehension are probably more looking at a reflection of themselves than their horse.
Top marks to the trail riding centre that employed the young teenage girl who then guided the guy through the basics of mounting, with a level of diplomacy and soothing 'state the bleeding obvious in several different ways' platitudes that would have humbled even Kevin Rudd. Needless to say, the guy was fairly quiet from that point on.
That was a funny WTH, but in my short experience in the horse industry, I'm sad to report most of the WTH's I've seen rarely occur in just a single 'moment' and usually involve the horse as the loser in the most disgracefull way. The story on your site yesterday about the yobbos with the pony and cigarettes saddened me, mainly because that story hasn't finished for that pony. Yet, most of the worst WTH seem to involve so called 'Riding Academies', with school and private horses that are systematically stripped of their right to be appreciated as intelligent animals with individual needs. And these places are often run by people that claim the highest level of equine teaching qualifications possible.
Thanks for providing a resource and common forum for all of us that are seeking to improve the lot of horses wherever we can.
John F

A classic moment indeed John. How bout that? The Horse even knows he is an idiot hahahaha. I was sitting on a Horse last week, on Camera and explaining why "Jiggling Reins" diminishes the Mouths of Horses. I commented, "It causes head bobbers" and at that precise moment, the Horse (on a big loopy rein) started head bobbing violently. Nice Horses for a School though. I have seen some classics in my time. Years ago, I was escorting about 30 Riders on a half day ride and BBQ. The similar bloke arrived, wearing pristine long top boots and announced that e had years of lessons at the Templewood School of Equitation. He was dressed well enough to have gone straight into the Royal Show Open Hack. I must admit, he did half con us so we fished out a big 16.3hh Anglo Arab (Good Riders Horse) and away we went. Not 'Marcus' had one thing. If you didn't have the best hands in the business, he would start 'jig jogging' and you couldn't stop him. As we made our way down through the Sand Hills and along the Beach for the first 5 k, getting all the other Riders up to speed in steering and teaching rise trot etc, I could see Marcus jogging well. So could every other of the 30 Riders :) irrelevant of their experience :)

We came off the Beach and had to negotiate 200 metres of Main Road before going Cross Country again when suddenly, Mr. Equestrian rode up alongside me with the reddest of faces. He yelled, "John, speak to Marcus!!!!!!!!!" I turned to the Horse and said, "Well Marcus, how are you old fulla? Having a good day?" You can only imagine the rest of the Riders' :)

Anyhow, I got off and gave him my own Horse, jumped on Marcus, threw his reins on his neck, folded my arms and he walked off like an old Cow :)

Regards and thanks



I see it thanks. I'm new to the horse training thing. So I'm doing tons of research now because I have a new foal that's 3 weeks old and I'm starting to halter break her. I wanted to make sure to do it the correct way.
Two days ago I started put on the halter and she did what I'm sure all of them do (pull away, rare up and resist). I'm happy to say that yesterday I tried again and she let me just put it on her no problems at all and I actually tried the lead rope again and we have made huge progress. In one day she as learned to kind of except it and with much less resistance. She would pull back a little bit and eventually would take steps towards me. I would praise her and we would do it again. I appreciate what all you do and other sites to in making people like me more knowledgeable. Cause I am just as new at this as she is..

One more question though. When she does pull and fight with me what is the best thing to do? I have heard two responses, one to just hold strong and let her fight and give up. Or two do you let them take it or win and you come in to them? what I have done so far is to just hold steady and she fights for just a min and then walks to me. Seemed to be working but like I said earlier I dont want to be the one who messes her up. I would love to be able to train my own horse and her lean from me, if at all possible.

Go here: http://www.horseproblems.com.au/podcast.html

The first response is the correct one but add the 'scales of lightness" to it. Then you have the perfect scenario. If you start at .5 on ask and the Foal elects to take it to a 10, that is the Foals decision. Just be passively persistent and until the Foal gives. Follow that principal and you will have one that remains light forever. Regards






16th April, 2009

I am in bed sick. Bloomin Canberra :)

Mrs. HP has a Country client here with her Horses. Today's Horse involves jamming up and the Horse is 'Bridle Lame'.

Luckily, 'young Dagmar' is here and Mrs. HP was able to instruct her on how to fix the Horse and they did so in the first lesson. The Owner commented that she had never seen the Horse go like that before. It began to stretch and to snort, the sure sign that a Horse has suddenly had a life changing experience. The problem? "Jiggling with the Bit" which doesn't allow a Horse to "on the Bit"

The place here is getting back to how it was b4 Mrs. HP injury. Full and Horses starting to come and go. Breakers, Problem Horses, weanling Colts and others.

I have another Horse coming, that since it's breaking in, won't tie up, shakes the head in major resistance when stopping and runs backwards when asked to go into a float. We then know that the foundation stones are not there, don't we?


Mr Rudd. You have stuffed up big time. The new Policy of the Labour Govt which has opened up the flood gates to illegal immigrants is a shocking shame and I reckon today you even let Alkida into our Country. Your Green House Gas levels legislation is doomed to failure as well. Blotted the copy book. What a shame.


Remember me telling about the 3rd World cleanliness conditions in this Hospital? I watched it o on for 3 months when sitting there for 5 hours a day with Mrs HP. Well as PREDICTED, a super bug outbreak had got 31 people up to last night. Isn't that just wonderful? The Health Minister wouldn't have a clue what is going on in that Hospital. Poor Mrs. HP is worried to go there next week and well she should be. The most dangerous place in Adelaide are our Hospitals.

I saw the Head Doctor saying that if someone infected with the disease walked through the front door and went to the toilet, that people would catch it. NOT IF THEY CLEANED THEIR BLOODY TOILETS it wouldn't.

 I told you about the Otho Ward. 'Creeping Lurch' would come around in the morning and clean the Toilets, badly as he is ripping off the system. He works for a Contractor and is ripping them off too. Then, shortly after, the poor Patients accidently soil the toilet, blood on the seat, the floor and so on. It stayed there all bloody day would you believe. The Nurses walk past it and past it. All day. Yep, what a wonderful system and no wonder the inevitable has happened.

So how wonderful. Mrs. HP has to risk her life to go into a dirty Hospital to get her metal off. Russian Roulette at it's best.


NH V GH (Natural Horsemanship versus Good Horsemanship)

After 'Young Pat' arrived all those years ago, a NH phenomenon swept the Land and all of the 'Good Horsemen' melted away to obscurity, most embarrassed to admit their roots any more, as the Pentecostal fervor saw to it that the only type of Horsemanship that was acceptable from then on, was NH.

What they failed to appreciate was that many of the Good Horsemen of the World, had all been NH long before Pat came along and  know now that many of the Australian and American Trainers of the 1800's and 1900s paved the way for what Uncle Pat suddenly identified but knew how to package it into a marketable way. You may know that I support him completely.

I took up the fight to bring back a more level playing field where the word 'hobbles' for instance, is no longer a dirty word. That the Good Horsemen of the World can still whip the ass of the alternatives (Equitana Way of the Horse) and in act most of the time have happier, less stressed Horses but more importantly, can actually fix highly difficult and complex Horses where an exclusive NH approach simply cannot. The real difficult Horses. Those heading to their death and that if a Trainer didn't have the ability to embrace parts of all systems, the Horse would die. They are the Horses that I have dealt with a lot of course.

Sadly, there are a few NH people who 'sink the boots' on Horse Forums and are not open minded, fair or objective. They have 'paralysis of the analysis' as Pat would say. Almost all of them, hide behind screen names, won't identify themselves and this allows them to carry on their fishing expeditions, cause flaming, often be nasty which shows their true personality and above all, attack and knock 'Good Horsemen'.  I was sent a "Hobbles thread" from Canberra today when it is also on a WA Forum I am told. They have too much time on their hands but they are 'nasty pasties' So let me have another look at this subject. Reason Getting these email today.

Apparently, S R have told admin that 6 people use the same computer and so admin can't be sure it's them. If that really is the case, 6 people are representing Saltriver then! What a lot of bull!!! how many people use the same computer and are all trainers (well...pfffft). I'm glad you told John - it's that kind of nonsense that confuses people - not to mention the potential damage to people's businesses! (WA)


What is gh systems mean? Was reading an article about halter breaking and it was listed. I will paste
have found, that horses that were halter broken as foals, with the correct GH systems, experience far less grief during the process. Far less fight, far less risk of injury and skin off (USA)

NH (Natural Horsemanship) is not a 'Breaking in or Starting system" It is a 'ground manners' system. The clone, Quantum Savvy is not a Breaking in system, it is a Ground Manners system. Hence the failure at Equitana. The McLean system is a ground manners system, it is not a breaking in system.  (hence the failure at Equitana) The Monty Roberts system is not a Breaking in system, it is a catching a Horse' system. There are few in the World who produce 'Breaking in systems" for DVD production. The great Horsemen, Ray Hunt Tom Dorrence, Kel Jeffreys, Jim Wilton, John Lyons and many others, did. .Tom Roberts didn't even produce a 'Breaking in or Starting system" His is a ground system. However, I digress.

I note that the one common thread with the many ground type systems is the lack of a mouthing system. There is never one included and given that no Breaking in system can ever be called such without a 'how to' achieve a top set of brakes and steering wheel, then they are simply 'ground manners and training systems' All valid, useful, should be learnt from but none are 'breaking in or starting systems'

It is the cunning and lacking character tactics of false names, multiple names, set up posts to flame the readers that some of the so called Professionals from the NH side of things are involved in in this Country that disappoints me. Rather than open and technical debate to educate us all, sustained and systematic attacks upon young Trainers that can effect their livelihood is not good form or Sport. It also reflects upon those who behave this way as they are obviously not comfortable in their own skins. They can dig away at me, I am flame proof. I just don't want to see young 'open minded' Trainers fall for this sort of stuff because I know if they do, Horses somewhere, one day, will die due to the Trainer not having he best tool box possible because the fact is unarguable that all Horses can be fixed with NH alone. Only GH can fix them or a combination of NH and whatever other things may be needed for that particular Horse at the time.  Let's examine a 'best broken in Horse'

  1. Horse 1. Taught the 7 Games, ridden bareback in a rope halter. We will start by calling this the best broken in Horse.

  2. If we add hobble training to Horse 1, it is then a better broken in Horse.

  3. If we then add ridden at liberty with a Carrot Stick, it becomes best broken in Horse.

  4. If then train it to the stock whip, it is then the best because it is more complete.

  5. If we then mouth it with a Bit, it is better than all of them.

  6. add saddle trained and it is better again

  7. add a back cinch and it is better again

  8. add the ability to be able to be laid down on the ground, it is better again.

  9. and so on and on and on. Everything you add to a young Horse, makes it a better broken in Horse than the first one.

So, as much as I don't like to have a go at NH because I am a big supporter of it, I will even up the Ledger when nasty business is at play and do have to tell you once again, that the complete Horsemen of this World are the only one's who can fix real problems, real tough Horses and turn the best Horses out......and talking about Mouthing systems...


My apprentice in WA doesn't know I have these photos but I want to point something out to you. Many would miss it.


Check out the Mouth on that Roping Horse?

 Ironically, what a great example of well conditioned and shiny young Horse in work at the Trainer's? That's how they should be. Incidentally, the achievers spend their time in the dust of the round pen, not on key boards. We are all experts on here, aren't we



A Dressage Queen in WA is actively attempting to denigrate the name of a Trainer due to the Horse rearing over backwards  once on it's first ride. The facts are is that the Horse did it because of being so spoilt rotten and out of his Box that his Owner foundation stones let him down to where he couldn't handle the real World of a simple ride out. Owners play a big part in the preparation of Horses to be broken in but they don't like taking responsibility. It has to always be the fault of the 'Breaker' Some times it is but I am reliably informed that this bloke was a spoilt brat, out of control on the ground, pushing, using his size, arrogant and therefore the change of rules brought out the glitch in his Temperament. The temperament built and influenced by the Owner.



I know some lovely Blondes and I reckon I am now seeing enough weird behavior that I can support this section. I have two today.

  1. blonde one has a lesson on her Horse who gets worked heavily. Puts him in his paddock, locked him out of his yard where the water trough is, so that he can't manure in the yard during the rest of the day. Problem? Thirty Boy come evening.

  2. Blonde 2 has a broken tap on her trough. Another agistee has broken the hose off and duck taped it back on would you believe. Blonde doesn't tell me of course. Waters her Horses two nights ago, doesn't turn the tap off and loses 1,000 litres of water out through the duck tape. Lord give me strength :)




So sorry to ask 2 questions of you in one day... this one is quick!
I went to get a market harborough today, and saw some Draw Reins.
(Page 8 of the catalogue attached in case you need picture.
It buckles to the girth then goes straight through the bit and to my hands.
As I do not trust my hands totally, is this better or worse than the Market Haborough
when you take into consideration that:

1) He trips up a lot and needs his head free when this happens.

2) When I tried the running reins on the lunge (like in your DVD track to dressage)
he reared badly and it was a disaster. (never before reared)

3) I can get him in a frame thanks to Lindas DVD, but it's very tiring as he needs
incredible amount of leg and I thought I would use a market harborough or similar
until I get fitter, and on trail rides too.

Firstly, I NEVER use Draw Reins and completely disagree with them....unless perhaps for some Western Training Horses. Never for an English trained Horse or normal every day Riding Horses. There is too much down side.

  1. That is one of the symptoms of draw reins.

  2. That is warned about on the DVD, explained completely and is a symptom of a poor Mouth and a Horse with too much resistance,.

  3. Once again, that is a strong indicator of a diminished Mouth and such a Horse would be re-mouthed immediately by us, B4 fixing the Dressage problem that you have. Yes, the Market Harborough will assist the overall process meanwhile but BE WARNED. If your Horse reared with running reins, your Horse is not ready for a Market Harborough and would rear with it too.

Drawn reins cause the following:

  • Place Horses 'on the forehand too much'

  • Teach Horses to dissolve 'behind the Bit', thus diminishing the real training possibilities.

  • Teach Horses to "Bore Down into the Hand" where the Rider has to literally carry the weight of the Horse in their Hands.

  • and as I said, remove the opportunity to re-train a horse with correct ridden or lunging techniques.

I have met Horses that have become dangerous due to the fact that the brakes have gone altogether whereby the Horse will simply disappear so far behind the Bit that the Rider has lost all control.

Back to the drawing Board young Lady :)





Hi John,

Just had a squiz at the pics you took of Canberra – you suit the landscape….maybe you should move up here!! Still enough water, lots of places to ride in the bush…. Lots of dressage queens to keep Mrs Horseproblems busy!!! As beautiful as it is now, the bush is nothing compared to before the bushfires…but its well on the way to regenerating. While you were here, I was in your part of the world and didn’t realize just how dry it is down there. Fingers crossed you get some rain soon.

Take care,


How bout that Rachael. It rained here two nights ago. Nice shower. It lasted about 8 seconds I recon. Then tonight, another which lasted about 15 seconds :) Talk about teasing. Thanks for the invite. Looked like a lovely place too.


HI John
I read what Donna had written today re my comment on the body language.  I called it submissive because it was like the person was standing there going you can't see me. They are curled up on themselves (figuratively speaking) and look like they are trying to hide.  Can't explain it any better than that and I think it is leading to a bit of misinterpretation (sorry).  It was definitely different to a person having quiet body language around a horse.
The lunging does lead me to a question.  My horse has been extensively NH trained.  I've had lessons to learn his buttons etc and can work him in the NH manner.  When it comes to lunging for riding purposes, so I suppose we call that English?, he has one thing that would make him dangerous to put a rider on without reins or stirrups.  He has been taught that, when he halts, he is to face up.  He does this with great alacrity and many a rider would go flying off the side due to the quickness with which he faces up.  We are training him to halt on the circle by correcting each time and he is getting it.  It is a button I need to break, do you have any other ideas?  I don't think it fair to make a big deal out of it as he is only doing what he has been taught for 8 years of his life, so I do a quiet correction when it happens.

I know what you mean about that and of course it is trained into them with the cocking of the NH persons head onto one shoulder and staring at their rump, pre=programmed of course by training them to 'hide their ass' prior. The enthusiastic Horse will start to do it quicker and quicker.

You could utilize the yo yo game, as soon as the horse starts to spin and back it back to the fence and around to square on, or, probably a better spych system, use the yo yo game to stop the Horse. So no longer ask it to stop with the NH look but just start yo, yo on the fence to stop square on the fence. Then, at the start, if the Horse attempts to square around to face you, go up the scale from your lower level, to put the horse back from where it came. Parallel to the Fence.
The goal is to do lessons with me being lunged on him, so the spin wouldn't really affect me, but if I have a friend try a lunge lesson on him, I can see it going to pot rather quickly as I can't think of any friends who have horses as athletically accomplished as mine - is that a nice way to say quick as a cat?
I do agree with what Donna has said about people chasing their horses around.  I have to cringe watching some in the round yard with their horses cantering wildly and them saying canter and / or cracking the whip every couple of strides.  I think our recent lunging must have looked ok as we seemed to start a lunging craze at our agistment, which I find rather amusing.  I probably do need to try to lunge regularly if I want lessons on the lunge, but every time I think of it, I put it off till later as I prefer to ride LOL
have a great week and I hope Mrs HP gets good news when she sees the Dr.

Thanks K.


Hi John,

I have come across your podcasts and am transfixed, they are fantastic.

What I wanted to ask was this. Back in October 2008 I bought myself a beautiful TB X mare who was 4 rising 5. I spent a lot of time over the next few weeks doing NH with her and she was going nicely with a few hiccups in regards to crossing water etc. On New Years Ever I find her belly growing and her top line dropping away so call in the vet…In February she dropped a lovely little colt. Talk about thrown into the deep end!

So now I want to ride my mare and pony the foal (he is 10 weeks now). The foal is coming along nicely and I am very proud of him (I plan to get your halter breaking DVD as well just to make sure I am doing it right), but the mare is another story. I have had four rides on her since the foal was born and the first was great, the second involved rearing when I asked her to go forward away from the house, the second was fine and the last involved a bit of bucking. Again this was when I asked her to go forward away from the yards.

What is your opinion on riding broodmares that are basically still green. I have a horseman who I am considering sending her to for a retrain or do you think my problem might not be that big. Do I just need to leave riding her until the foal is gone and just concentrate on ground work alone, then start from scratch in the round pen again. I would love to hear from someone like yourself as to what you would do with her in this situation. Although I am good with horses I am by no means a professional and I don’t want to spoil her.

I am still waiting on a phone call from the trainer I have found, I only hope his way is as good as yours J I am so impressed and dearly wished you lived closer.

I look forward to hearing from you,


Lorries Horse Blog

Back in the Saddle - My Journey with Roxy


Thanks Lorrie. There is nothing wrong at all in riding the Brood Mare and leading the Foal however in this case, I would be getting a Trainer in to ride the Mare at your place, exactly replicating what you want. to achieve. As soon as the Mare is taken away, the rules all change. I presume at home, you have attempted these Rides with the Foal in tact???? You would need to be otherwise you are causing the evasion. Even if you expect the Foal to walk along at liberty and it is behind you a bit, that is not fair on the Mare. So, have the Foal on the lead rope and up front and centre. This will now test your Halter Breaking of course :) If it is a Bum rope foal it will hang behind the Mare's Bum and not come along but you should have the Foal up alongside your leg. Get a Trainer in to tune the Mare as she is probably having lend and then whilst he is there, you ride out. Regards


To MR John O'Leary
thought i would drop u a line.i have a big problem that no one wants to
give some advice or help.thought u might be able to please.
my husband has a brother who has a farm in victoria.it is 80 acres.it has no grass at all
on it except rock.there are 14 horses,8 cows,there were 6 flyblown sheep on there as well
but they died in the paddock.he give me one horse and bought down another to keep him company.
well we have had them for four months and green grass and hand feeding .shoes,teeth,needles,worming all the nessasary
things a horse needs and a good home.they are very spoilt.they were very starved when we got them,17hands and
18 hands of horses but the problem is the other poor 14 horses are still down on that farm.they are starved.cannot
hardly walk.think they will die because of the winter. we have rang the rspca and put in a big complaint and they
went to the farm.after that they rang us and said that his brother had to put shelter,hand feed,water,hay,etc etc.
well we waited 2 weeks and nothing still has not been done .so we complained again.still nothing being done.so we rang
the police and they said there hands were tyed to.went to visit past the paddocks today and still nothing has happened.
horses are getting weaker and weaker.they would not even be good enough for dog food thats how bad they are.some are
broken into saddle some are not.u would not let a human go through this.no one wants to know.this man is a truckdriver
who is by himself and never home.he likes to big note himself cause having so many horses makes him look so big.he bullshits
his way out of anything even the police said that on the phone.he is the sort of person to instead give the horses away to
somebody that would look after them he would rather shoot them and starve them.money is no issue with him.he hits the horses
as well.very cruel.
so would u maybe be able to give me some advice on what to do please to save these poor horses.it is very sickning.
please let these horses live.thanku dianne marcus

Mmmmmm. One of the good things about the Horse Forums is the number of people who hold welfare dear. There are also some great private organizations that help out in these situations. Especially in Victoria. So I suggest you copy and paste that letter onto http://www.eques.com.au/forum/index.html 

and I am sure many will help you. et on to the local Media too The RSPCA are pretty well a waste of space. What a shame? Regards





April, 14th 2009


I really get sick of saying this but if you buy DVD's from me, don't expect the important and valuable e-books to get through to you for most of you don't get them. That PIG of a Company, which featured again on our TV tonight as they instruct their staff to lie to customers, are kicking the e-books off your emails to save themselves data transfer. You either need to deal with a decent Company or kick their asses.

Here is the latest: msal@bigpond.com



Still no rain but they tell us tomorrow we may get 5mm. We shall see. Some of my rain water tanks have ran out this week so I went close considering.

The Libs are circling the Leader and the Labor Party is polling as if they have to fight an election against Costello. But we all support the Leader and he will lead us to the next election they all say with such honest faces. Wouldn't lie straight in bed if they tried.

Good on Harvey Norman for selling Australian product and advertising it. He is a great bloke.

We have had a couple of days off. Mrs. HP is itching for her appointment in 2 weeks and is walking full speed now. It had better come off I can tell you because she is plotting to ride with the metal on :)

100,000 people at the biggest Picnic Race Meeting in the World here on the weekend and no deaths in the State on our Roads. The local Cops are doing very well.


Well-known horse breeder on animal neglect charges

New York thoroughbred breeder Ernie Paragallo is facing animal neglect charges, following the seizure of 177 horses from a farm in Green County, south of Albany.

Paragallo, 51, faces 22 charges over his alleged failure to provide proper care to the horses. The charges are laid under New York's Agriculture and Markets law.

Police and animal welfare officers went to the property on Wednesday.

Care of the horses, who remain on the property, is in the hands of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA, which has trucked in hay and grain for the animals.

"There are 177 thoroughbred horses at the farm, many, if not most, in desperate need of assistance," the group said in a statement.

"Our organisation is responsible for the well-being of these suffering horses."

The group, which said it was not affiliated with the ASPCA or any other animal cruelty or neglect organisation, appealed for help in caring for the animals.

"Instances such as this are impossible to figure in to our annual budget, and the care these horses will need is going to utilise our every resource."

Paragallo, who lives on Long Island, has blamed mismanagement for the lack of feed given to the horses. He said the amount of winter feed had been miscalculated, but there had been no deliberate neglect or abuse. He told media he had not visited the farm in nine months.

New York's Racing and Wagering Board is also conducting an inquiry, exploring, among other things, the operation of Paraneck Stable and questions relating to the ownership of its horses.

Paraneck Stable was reportedly founded by Paragallo but turned over to other family members four years after the state revoked his owner's license.

Paragallo is licensed with the board as the authorised agent for Paraneck Stable.



Woman 'crushed' during horse race

A rider has been "crushed" while competing in a horse race in Staffordshire, ambulance crews said.
She was hurt after falling off her horse during the North Staffordshire Point to Point in Sandon, near Stafford, at 1610 BST on Saturday.
The woman, aged in her 20s, had facial injuries and complained of feeling sick, West Midlands Ambulance said.
She was flown by Midlands Air Ambulance charity to University Hospital North Staffordshire for treatment.



Princess vows to solve horse doping issues

VEVEY, Switzerland — When Princess Haya of Jordan took over as president of equestrian's world governing body, she was tasked with fighting the sport's increasingly public doping problems.
Now that her own husband is at the center of the most recent doping case, her task has become a lot more difficult.

The princess is finding herself under increased scrutiny after Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, announced this week that a horse he owns and rides twice failed doping tests after endurance races that were sanctioned by his wife's organization -- the International Equestrian Federation.

Addressing the situation to The Associated Press, Princess Haya said she fears that a "few individuals" who oppose "the increase in democracy and the fight against corruption in the FEI" will use the doping revelation to undermine her position.

"I have no doubt ... that they will use this case in any way they can to injure and damage the reputations of myself and my family," the princess said in an e-mail reply to the AP.

She did not specify which individuals she was referring to, but said she hoped the disciplinary case pending against Sheik Mohammed may end up strengthening the FEI's drive toward drug-free competitions.

"(The FEI's) own image is only in jeopardy if it does not act in a clear, transparent and timely fashion," she said.

The princess will take no part in deciding her husband's penalty, with a senior colleague assuming her presidential powers when the case is considered. She also informed the ethics panel at the International Olympic Committee, having been an IOC member since 2007.

It is a bitter twist for the former show jumping Olympian who was picked, in large part, to combat doping.

At an election three years ago, most of the 134 national members felt it needed change after three gold medalists at the 2004 Athens Games were stripped of their titles in doping cases.

"They were very specific in saying they didn't want a princess, they wanted a working president," Princess Haya told the AP in a recent interview.

She said equestrian had become "mediocre" within the Olympic movement, where it made its debut in 1912.

"They hadn't reinvented themselves as other sports had," she said. "I understand what the IOC wants from us -- content, transparency, good governance, a clear stand on doping."

The Beijing Games magnified the problems, despite exciting medal contests. The IOC criticized judging standards in dressage, and six horses failed drug tests, resulting in their riders being suspended. One case, involving Norway's bronze medal in team jumping, is under appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"That has left an enormously bad taste among the general public but it's certainly not reflective of our family," Princess Haya said. "We have paid a very, very high price for actually trying to do the right thing."

At the FEI's assembly in Buenos Aires last November, she invited all members to contribute to a review of medication use and doping standards led by Arne Ljungqvist, the chairman of the IOC's medical commission. The Swedish doping expert will publish his report in the summer.

She also persuaded the FEI's dressage committee to resign. She said her leadership became "much stronger and more forceful than I would have liked."

In the interview, she said her resolve can be traced to her father -- the late King Hussein of Jordan -- who struck a deal with her during her 17-year show jumping career.

"My father made me promise him that it (her jumping) would amount to something," she said. "He said 'You can't just drop all the obligations you have to the country and follow a dream."'

Princess Haya said she studied how equestrian was organized, and remembered her father's teaching that even in sport, peace is first achieved by politics.

Like King Hussein, Sheik Mohammed has put sport at the heart of Dubai's business model.

The 59-year-old sheik rode his own horse, Tahhan, in 120-kilometer (74.5-mile) endurance races at Bahrain in January and Dubai in February when it failed doping tests performed by his own staff. Both times the hypertension drug guanabenz was present. After the Bahrain race, a metabolite of the anabolic steroid stanozolol was found.

In a statement issued on his behalf Monday, Sheik Mohammed -- also one of the world's foremost breeders and owners of thoroughbred race horses -- accepted that he was legally responsible for the doping. He ordered an investigation of his stables and the findings shared with the FEI.

Princess Haya acknowledged that endurance race doping is a problem in the Middle East.

"The FEI has been struggling to deal with the number of doping cases," she said in her e-mail, adding that her husband could help change attitudes. "The effect will be felt more surely and more quickly than the FEI has been able to achieve to date."

King Hussein died in 1999, just 18 months before his daughter rode for Jordan at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and carried the country's flag at the opening ceremony.

Princess Haya says she felt "robbed" of his wisdom, though still determined to "amount to something."

"I can keep a promise to the person who was my whole world," she said. "That is why I am so earnest about it. I so want to do a good job."





I read John’s bit on the 3 lessons at pony club. You might mention to him to add (if it is not too late) that it is more an emotional issue for the horse rather than a physical one. I know I have read comments he has made before and I have always thought “well we work our horses 6 days a week so they should fairly fit”. Although for me, usually we do something energetic in the morning at club and I am too stuffed to do anything in the afternoon – never mind the horse. But last Sunday we didn’t do anything physically taxing so I think she had just shut down emotionally. Now I see the torture we allow our kids to put their ponies through as they ride around and around an instructor all morning and then often do something just as monotonous in the afternoon. ----- never shows any signs of protest but I think he is just too good natured so I am going to only allow ---- to do the mornings from now on. One other little pony was rearing at the end of the day from the same emotional fatigue that ------- displayed and that pony was taken home for a flogging around the round yard for another 20 minutes as punishment.

Speaking of people who try to be good owners but unwittingly be cruel I would like you to have a chat to ------as she respects you. She bought a ---------- on Friday. They brought it to ---- in the morning and washed it. Then in the afternoon they put------(wild Bill Hillock) on it with spurs on for a hoon around the large arena. ------has absolutely no balance so he banged up and down all over this pony stabbing it with his spurs, probably by accident and jabbing in its mouth as he went up and down so the pony started to buck. Day 2 and the boyfriend lunges the pony for around 45mins until he is dripping with sweat. As they pass me the boyfriend says “Well he didn’t like that.” I made no comment. Day 3 and lucky for the pony they go water skiing. Day 4 they have ------come out to ride the WILD pony. As ------- is trying to make her full size bridle fit a pony head she has a cigarette hanging out of her mouth which to my horror just misses the pony’s eyeball by around 1cm. I said to her to give me the cigarette as she just missed blinding him and she said too bad – he won’t get in her way again once he has been burnt by the cigarette. Not that he had anywhere to go.

I often watch them bridling their TB up, one on either side with both having cigarettes hanging out their mouths and the horses head held high in an attempt to escape the smoke.

Then while ----- is riding this quiet pony around ------make the comment while laughing, to us that while ----- was having fun honing past them on this poor pony -----yelled to them “You don’t have an F***in 8yo on you now!” To that I couldn’t hold back anymore so I replied “Yes, let’s just fast track wrecking our new pony!” She made no comment. This in just one example of why I want to leave -----. People mean well in the cruelest way. That just topped it off after watching the other little pony getting flogged in the round yard for trying to say it had enough. ------ had a bad enough day that day but at least she got sympathy and a nice molasses drink when she got home and not a flogging as in the end we caused their bad behavior so we got what we deserved.

It has long concerned me that those unfortunate people who come from the lower socio-economic Suburbs or just battle for a quid, sheet the most cruelty onto Horses.

They mainly do it through the lack of real care and management and amazingly, normally come with these attributes:

  • That they are consistently the worst owners who truly care the least.

  • That they struggle to afford the horse they have and yet....

  • Normally have 3 or 4 Horses just to make sure they can't afford proper care for any of them, and .......

  • Often have more than one other Pet which completely ensures the demise of proper care.

They are often cruel, are extremely dirty stable managers, trash facilities and yards, don't look after or manage the way that their Horses live and often flog them in riding when they are not prepared for it. Arriving during the dark to clean yards is another unusual trait but regularly are too late for feeding, rug when they shouldn't and don't rug when they should.

Therefore, teeth don't get done, shots, worming, and feet all go by the wayside. All seeing to it that the so called "One they love the most" is cared for in an appalling way and yet they think they are being so good.

It comes from upbringing but why this thread runs through so many I am not sure. It is an interesting study of Human psychology but could be to do that missing out in their young lives is why they want more than they can handle later??? That the lack of love and true leadership in Families cause a yearning for attachment to many????? A lack of Roll Models who look after things that they treasure????? I don't know but you can be assured that these common threads run right across this Country amongst such people. The Horses are the losers.

Does Pony Club have a role?? You betcha but unfortunately, that wouldn't cross their mind. Who's looking after the Horses then?????




Hi John,
Just a couple of comments - one in response to a letter form K about submission /dominance etc and the natural horsemanship she had witnessed whereby the handler had dropped his eyes whilst working the horse on ground and this was deemed as submissive.  From what I know of natural horsemanship (I have done Level one Parelli) this is by far an act of submission.  It is simply a means of relieving the horse of pressure whilst it continues to do what it has been asked.  For example, on lunging or circling the horse, many people will ask the horse to go and then continue to chase it around - either with whip waving, or whip held behind, or by keeping the eye on the horse - or combination of all.  However, a Parelli horse is taught that once it adopts the pace and direction asked, then that pressure will be removed (including removing direct eye contact) until such times as the horse ceases to do as it has been asked.  Hence it is rewarded (reward and relief - pure and simple) for continuing to do the correct action.  Its been a while since I have done Parelli NH courses, but I keep up to date with it through friends that are strong followers.  I must say that, although some of Parelli stuff may seem touchy, feely, Pat and Linda continually re-evaluate and reassess their methods and have made significant alterations to their approach over the last few years.  Watching a PNH horseman at work may look silly, but there may well be years of a basic training and a real reason to their approach (although I'm not silly enough to believe that is always the case...after all, it is PEOPLE we are dealing with here...)  I personally love my own combination of NH approach mixed with Aussie horsemanship (O'Leary style) and commonsense & flexibility at all times!!
On another note, what's your understanding of burg oil John?  My 2.5 year old cob had his first dose of colic the other day... I think it may have been caused by worming and we had just done that the night before.  Its always a scary moment - and of course on Good Friday a vet is hard to find and would have cost an arm or leg.  I watched him for a while - uncomfortable, not grazing - , but when he dropped to the ground eventually and started to roll I was there in a flash.  He refused to move, I grabbed the burg oil and dosed him pronto.  My husband was unconvinced.  I said - give it 20-30mins, if no change we'll chase up a vet from somewhere.   Well, on cue, at 30 mins, he started to move freely, graze and never looked back.  I was amazed myself, as I always am, but I have seen over the years burg oil have the same effect time and time again.  (Local vets refuse to acknowledge it has any beneficial effects though).  And I read in latest Hoofbeats that in Bali they treat colicky horses with herbs and coffee or softdrink !!  Have you ever heard of that one!
So much to learn,
Donna (albany wa)
PS.  Love the story of "Princess" Lana.  Am so looking forward to having Fred work with my cob in 6 months or so!

Hi Donna,

Burg Oil first. I know Vets who prescribe it. The reason it works is that it both lubricates and relaxes the gut. It is the relaxant that calms them. A lot of the old time remedies had things in them that worked in this way however, it doesn't cure the underlying cause of Colic.

Re the lunging, very good example and description. The vast majority of people chase Horses around on the lunge and of course that is "Horse lunging Owner" but these days, we may need that :) Perth is getting too many Princesses :) What is it about those Perth Ladies?????


Hi there,

We have had a 60 x 40 arena cut which has a clay base. We have left it settle for the last 6 months and are now ready to put the base down. We were going to put a road base down and was hoping to work on this for 6 to 12 months before putting on the top. What are your thoughts and suggestions on this?



The only problem you have there Cheryl is that it doesn't sound fair to the Horses and you will probably get splints growing on their legs and other changes perhaps. Unless you cannot budget for it now, I would be putting the sand on it immediately. You don't have to let bases settle so long as they have been rolled down with truck/earth moving equipment/roller. Just cover it. Regards


Hi Anne
still sorting through the pics but this was one I pulled off the camera from today.
Cheers Mel

That is a great shot Mel. Wonderful colours captured by the camera. How nice that must have been? Thanks


Hiya John,
I thought I'd send a couple more photos (sorry for the quality - they are off my phone).  She loves my mini (who is 6 months older than her) - it's quite a sight to see the 2 playing Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
  My mini has small man syndrome, but Lana certainly matches it with her princess attitude lol - equally matched (except for height).
She is happy and as friendly as ever Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
Ali :)

and matching too :) So I have always wanted to know about the Hacky Boots. Do they do tendon damage???? Has there ever been a study?????


Hello John,

my name is Kym Clark from Black Hills, SD USA

I have a beautfiul Arabian gelding that's 5 years old and going very well. I trail ride him in the hills. I ride him in a Dr. Cooks Bitless bridle. I was wondering if you know if a person can ride with a German Martingale with the bitless bridle.

My gelding is very soft and supple and gives laterally and vertically. He gives to pressure and I use natural horsemanship with him. I handle all horses that way.

Thank you for your time! I love your website and pod casts! I've listened to all of them over and over. Looks like you might have a new one on about the tap. I can't wait to watch that too!

Kind regards,
Kym Clark PS I attached a picture of myself and Dandy wearing his bitless bridle. This was taken last weekend when we had our second winter spring storm!

I asked by when the Horse is soft already?????

Hi John,

I want to make sure I'm riding him round when trotting and cantering and I guess I don't quite trust my hands yet in terms of holding him? I don't want to wreck his top line. Would a person only want to use a martingale for re-education? My gelding does not need re-educating, but again, I don't want to wreck him. He came to me soft and supple and I have tried to maintain it using Clinton Anderson's riding techniques with serpintines etc.

Thank you for your quick response,

Aha Kym. Very good of you to question yourself. There is no doubt that the "Market Harborough" and I think that is what you are talking about???????? http://www.horseproblems.com.au/Saddlery%20Sales%20Page/market_harborough.htm

actually will dissipate mistakes in the hands of the Novice Rider and protect the Horse to a reasonable extent. Mind you, that is a largely unknown attribute. It is a fact though so the suggestion is not without merit if you are worried. Kind Regards


Good Evening John
Once again seeking further advice from you, where would us mature age females go if it wasn't for your knowledge :)
I have just received a lovely natured 7yr pony mare that lost her eye last year, she has a 18mth old filly, not weaned :(
I am keeping the mare and the filly will travel to Victoria next week.
Is there any special train I should give this mare to re-introduce her to riding?
She was a riding pony but has not been ridden since having filly and loosing eye.
She arrived late yesterday and I handled her straight away without any problems not at all spooky or nervous...also handled filly who was pretty good since it was the first time she had been handled for over 16mths, full credit to the gentlemen that floated them to me for his gentle handling and getting her on a float (ex SA mount police)....needed to handle filly to remove the halter that was cutting into her face!
From this basic handling I feel she should be fine for riding just unsure of any special training I should give her.
Many thanks and trust you had a relaxing Easter with Mrs HP.
Sunshine Coast (not stopped raining for nearly 10 days, paddock are slush now).

Go down the page somewhere and you will see an answer I gave to others re starting the so called broken in Horses. Basically, trust nothing and no-one. Go back to scratch, test the mouth and work up from there. Best of Luck CWCGH :)


Hi John,

I bought a 2 year old filly who hadn't been touched before i got her, so she was of course scared and jumpy. i did the join up with her and then started working with her, but every time i go to work with her again she goes back to been jumpy. I look at her eyes and she even looks scared. I've been working on her for about a week now with bagging and i've starting mouthing her (using your DVD's), she's hobbles and she doesn't frighten with bags tied all over her or dragging them, but when i catch her the following day to start again she gets that scared look in her eye but it soon relaxes when i've redone the join up and start working with her. Other horses i have broken in get quieter with time, not go back to where they started from. Should you do the join up a few times or is once enough.


Mmmmmmm...........The bags tied over and to the Horse sounds a little bit aggressive and is actually something that I  don't do. A Horse with that profile is not one that I would go that far with and this could be one of the problems here. The intensity may be a little too strong for the psychological profile. and the young Horse may be frightened of the actual breaking in process. Do you understand me? I am not doing well today, I can tell. Too many Easter Eggs. You should only have to repeat the join up if the Horse is evasive. Just to remind and to stay hooked on in the round pen. That relaxes them. Your Horse may be one of those that has a touch of the ol "Wild Horse Syndrome" as you do meet them. Certain Family trait or genuinely from the Bush and older. Be the friend of the young Horse. Friendship above all, relaxes them. Regards


Hey you!  John I am so spoilt, Bazel accepts me ...mistakes and all!  lol   I am making very good progress with Narla.  She has allowed me to put the halter on first go in the middle of the paddock for 4 days in a row, where before we (meaning HER) played this game of where I would get 2mtrs away and she would take 10 steps away from me then face me.  This would go one for about 3mins , I just talked to her through it....nothing else you could do..   I have her putting her head down when putting the halter on and off now, but sometimes she throws her head up when putting the halter on  I accidentally pull her mane in the knot...opps.   I have taught her the 1st stage of how to kick a soccer ball, but... she has gone overboard with the "kick"  I wiggle my finger at her front leg and say 'Kick'   She takes a step forward but then proceeds to keep stamping her feet...up...down...up...down...!! LOL  Like she has flies on them.  I remember Hanna the STandi doing the same thing.   I haven't tied her up since talking to you due to us having rain , I am worried she will slip due to the blacksoil and  her doing some serious damage, so once it stops we will start  the pulling back game with the whip.  My riding lessons are going really great.  My muscles that I never knew I had have stopped hurting.  I am still having trouble keeping my hips open, but I now know exactly the feeling of when they go out of place. Its hard work but it's defiantly worth it.
take care
ps are you like me this year and ate toooo many chocies.  I never thought I would have to say this in my life but I think it's diet time. 


We are both on diet as of tomorrow and we shopped today. Veggies and all the good stuff. Glad to hear all is going well with your Horse. I worry sometimes when I see your emails :) I have taught my current young one to come over and pick me up off the tie up rail, just with Body language. She is so cute!!! I'm having a cuddly bubbly time :)


I finally got the leg strap on the filly today after watching your Leg Restraints DVD and when i put it on her she wouldn't walk forward and when she did finally give to me she went backward and laid down on me, i went in and rubbed her all over and then tried to get her up and she got up but then just laid back on her front leg and went down groaning again.  she just laid out flat.  i rubbed her all over again and changed legs and she did the exactly same thing.   Do horses sulk at all?  Could you do a podcast on leading horses i use the pull and release system with her but she is still fighting with me and i pull and release like 50 times before she responds to me... 


This is a very interesting subject Beverley. It rarely happens but it does. Certain Horses. It is the profile of few that they will react that way to any type of leg restraint and indeed, even tying up or leading.

Years ago, there was a Colt on this property, agisted here. The Owner would ask him to lead \, he would refuse, she would pull on his head and he would flop over and land completely on his side, motionless. Not moving and playing dead. He did it many times. He was a big Warmblood fellow and this was obviously a problem into the future as he was a big 2 year old. The Owner asked me to hook him onto my roping Horse one day, just a favour for a client and I did. I did not however, ride off or attempt to take the Horse on. I simply sat there with my horse acting like a lugging post. He fell over twice, into a drain and I had to get off and flick him around the rump to get him up. I haven't had a chance to tell this story b4 but shortly after, the Owner left our agistment Centre and went to another one. I then get told she is on a Horse Forum where she made it sound as if I had caused the symptoms and what a cruel bustud I was. A Woman named Jan Heine, a Forum Tragic, got stuck into me for two weeks and tore me to shreds. Little did she know she had been led astray by a person who had a restraining order against her for stalking and had psychological problems. The price of the Tall Poppies. :(

Your Horse sounds of the similar nature so forget Plan A and just go to Plan B. Get on the Horse in other ways if it is moving around. Regards



hi john & linda, well to start with i have to say thank god for youtube!, i say this because this is how i came to know of you & your most informative site. as a young child i was put onto a horse, bareback, with no bridle in a sheep pen & then "a man of the land" cracked his stock whip so that the horse would of course, race around the yard & my choice was to hang on or find my self in the shit! needless to say that was 25 years ago & i have never forgotten how to hold on. i have never realy been comfortable with the "english" way of riding, but i also found NHS to be a bit wishy washy for my liking. so over the years i have just gone along riding in my own style, heading towards what you do, but never with any realy informed information or how it should be done. as soon as i started to read your web site, straight away i found the info that i have been looking for. i believe that the methods you use & teach are the perfect mix of compasion for the horse & respect for the life of the rider/handler. & it is true that horses & riders around the world should know what a special gift it is that your are willing to share. anyway i know you are super busy so i will get to the reason for this email, i do have a question,

 i have a STB that was originaly OTT, but has had previous riders once off the track before coming to me. due to this he has multiply issues. one of the problem that i am trying to solve at the moment is that he gets his tounge over the bit, & then of course i have very little control. the first time i rode him i realised what he was up to. i have a wave bit [i have also heard it called the "W" bit] i have used this bit on many horses that have this habit & it has always solved the problem. but this guy is smart, he has worked out that he can push the wave bit to the roof of his mouth & the bring the snaffle bit down, splitting the two bits apart & getting his tounge over the snaffle, i would be realy intrested in what you do to deal with this issue, is there a better bit for this? can it be trained out? i know that i can tie the tounge down, but this is not a good look for the ring, which is the stage i would like to get this guy to. also at the moment i use a double jointed snaffle with a flat center. is there a bit that you would recomend instead. the other thing that he dose, [regardless of the type of bit] is as soon as i put the first bit into his mouth he will start to rub his lower jaw & side of his mouth on the rail he will stop if told off but is quite persistant that he needs to do this. while we are riding if he gets a chance he will also rub on whatever, like if i stop near a fence post for to long he will start to rub. & as soon a we get back to the rail before i even dismount he will be at it again. i have tried different bits, as a test i have loosened them off to very loose but he still rubs regardless. i know that alot of the problems that i am having with this horse are mouth related, but i just cant work it out. i have had his teeth checked & rasped. & i have just purchased your remouthing DVD, as his mouth isnt great. do you think you could tell me what it is i am missing? thank you so much for you time, madeleine.

Thanks Madeleine. Nice name :) Many of the Standardbred Horses have tongue issues and it is often made worse by tying their tongues down. It is a matter of finding the Bit that works I'm afraid. I have head the Pee Wee Bit people claim that it will stop them but there is a purpose made Bit sold here that is a normal bit but with a second flat piece that site atop it so that when the tongue tries to go over it, the second piece swivels up momentarily and stops the Horse from doing it. Once the habit is broken, the problem is really solved. Similar to this one here:










12th April, 2009

I can't believe the Pope would wait until after Easter to visit the Earth Quake Zone when he has had all week and it happens to be in his own Country. He is a Politician or Pope?

Demonstrations against Racing today at Oakbank Racing Carnival. Good to see that a lot of work has been done to make the jumps safer.




Just to remind you all again, this is the Horse on the Podcast page that I had to assess because the Breaker in NSW, in fact, the Breaker of a NSW Level 3 Coach, had the Hose for 4 months and kept wanting two more weeks. I am informed by the Transport people that 3 other cases were 4 months and wanting 2 more weeks.

Well she DID NOT HAVE ANY MOUTH and would not accept a Rider as we know. 2 weeks later and she is finished.

Hi John,
All went well yesterday and Ali is thrilled with her. After they rode in the round yard, she and Fred went out for a bush ride and Ali and Lana led most of the way. Ali rides her huge trot a lot better than Fred!
They had a couple of canters and Lana behaved beautifully. I didn't get any photos of the bush ride but Ali's husband may of.

Ali is picking her up today, she'll have a spell at home, then she's booked back in to us for a few days in the July holidays, just to make sure she doesn't have any memories with the whole mounting thing. I'm sure she'll be fine.

Talk soon, Rachx.

Now here is the Owner.

Woohoo! I rode her today :) We even trotted and cantered in the bush! Fred has done such a fantastic job with her :) She is so light to ride and so willing to try - I didn't once feel unsafe on her.

Thank you so much for all of your help and support - I would have been at a loss without your help ;)

I will bring her home tomorrow and let her chill for a while, but I'll definitely keep you up to date on her progress once she is in work :)

I may be in touch regarding the dummy and its side kick if I need any further info/advice.

Thanks again,
One very happy owner/rider x

Congrats to Fred. Bit better Mouth I note :) May the darling Filly have a wonderful life.

and again :)

Hiya John,
I know I only emailed you yesterday, but I just wanted to let you know that "Princess Lana" is home Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
  She is providing entertainment for my other horses with some spectacular moves lol.  She has settled down reasonably well, although she is still enjoying hooning every now and again.
I have attached a couple of photos of her saying hello to my big pony and the "pointless" pony (as my husband likes to call him lol).  My poor mare hasn't had a look in as Ricky (my big horse) has claimed "Lana" as his new friend Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
  I have left her boots on for today whilst she is squealing and flying legs and I will leave her on her own today, but will eventually turn her out with my other horses once I feel that she is settled.
Woohoo - she's home! Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
Ali x


and what wonderful facilities there Ali. That Horse is going t be so spoilt :) Here is the question? How can a Horse travel from NSW to South Australia, endure a week being worked on by a Horseman, then travel 2716k, endure two weeks with another Horseman and put on 100kg of weight and have her coat start to shine? What is the go there? It clearly means the NSW Horseman didn't care for the Horse and the NSW Coach didn't supervise the Horse as was her duty. Let me remind all how she looked when she arrived.

Starved, forgotten how to eat properly, didn't know what hard feed was, wormy with a shocking coat and like a Coat Hanger.

Which brings me to the subject of condition of your young Horse at the Breakers Place. There is no excuse for a Horse to drop back whilst at the Breaker. Our leave as good or mostly better than when they came. Either your Horse would have Veterinary problems or the Breaker is a slack ass incompetent who doesn't care. There is no excuse saying "but the fee doesn't allow me to feed hard feed" Then put the bloody fee up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Make the Owner perform as well as we must. If they want to own expensive Horses and put all the expectations on the Trainer, make them perform. No excuse at all but you can all see can't you, that the Level 3 Coach who lives 26k away and who insisted the Horse be trucked another 1000k to her Breaker, either wasn't supervising the Trainer and certainly wasn't looking after the interests of the Owner, her Client.

Anyhow, another wonderful success story in the World of Problem Horses and people.



Mrs. HP has a new Pupil with a Horse that lacks forward. She was telling me that the Pupil told her that she went in 3 lessons at ony Club the other day and I thought this would be a good time to discuss this issue.

Horses that go to pony Club, often get a raw deal as they are rarely of a fitness level to be able to grind away and away over hours on end. I sometimes wonder if Organizers ever wonder about those things as I have never seen any indicator of it. However, to the  Horse wit the forward issue. Of course, 3 lessons or two lessons is not conducive to 'forward'. Only to 'slow down'. Something to consider as you train your Horses. Once again, "listen to the Horses"


Dressage Horse attacked in Stable

A $22,000 dressage horse was left bruised, singed and bloodied after being attacked in its stable in Maryborough Park, Hervey Bay, last week.
Kimberly Deans went to check on her 5 year old Warmblood mare, Swing Time Charisma, last Sunday evening when she found the horse’s rug had been ripped in half. Closer inspection revealed the rug had been cut right down the middle.

Daylight the next morning revealed wounds on the horse’s neck and a huge swollen lump on her hind quarters. Ms. Deans said she did not notice the mare’s tail had been hacked off – and singed – until Police arrived to investigate.

A broken stick nearby matched the horse’s wounds and an attending vet found bits of wood actually lodged in the mare’s neck.

The mare, who is currently listed for sale on several internet sites, is expected to make a good recovery and Ms Deans plans to compete with her in dressage events at Tamworth's new equestrian centre in three weeks.

Local council staff have suggested that the mare sustained the injuries fighting with other horses stabled at the facility though Ms. Deans strongly disagrees.

Local Police are still investigating.


Gday John,

How dissapointing it is... .. you were right nothing to do with my training or my horse.. just pure ignorance from the owner..i hope the person looks at your website as I recommend she do so...

She wasnt at all happy when I gave her my opinion either..
I could go on but you have seen it and heard it all before.
On a good note he is a very much loved and cared for horse..
Cheers Lorraine

Lol Lorraine.....but not loved well enough. The assertive Owner is the true Lover of Horses, not the touchy feely one.!!

G’day John

Jumped on your site again today.. normally I smile and nod at most of the letters and your subsequent responses but this particular one (especially following a prior discussion we had re: horses respecting their owners etc), I felt compelled to write!

I refer to your letter by K and your answer.

I can sum it up in either of the following – “YAY.. FINALLY AND THANKGOD!”

You are dead right, horses simply want direction, consistency, understanding, feed and water. Horses are happiest with an Owner who is assertive, has feel, reading, timing, direction and so on. They love Owners with knowledge, Owners with balance, Owners who are not weight challenged and those with 'good hands'




Thanks RKM. Well said



Thank you John & Mrs. HP (Linda):

I very much appreciate the recommendation.

I already have the "Inside Leg to Outside rein" DVD & will now order the German Training Scale DVD.

Yesterday evening, after a two-day lay-off, I thought to test the mouth of Bodhi the OTTB, using, of course, your method (watching both the Mouthing DVD & the Mouthing test video on your Web site many, many times). Well, an older fellow, Argentinian by birth & former federal police man (during the Peron era), happened to walk by Bodhi & I as I moved him out & applied the side brakes (as indicated in the Mouthing DVD & already done by me many times over the course of the 4-days of applying the Mouthing protocol).

When I walked back to the barn with Bodhi, I was treated to an insulting tirade that, summed up, basically described me as an incompetent imbecile who had no business whatsoever using a "pulley" system to teach my horse "to flex." He said I was dangerous & putting Bodhi in danger. I could not get a word in edge-wise.

When I attempted to explain that this had nothing to do with teaching Bodhi to put his head down & collect (that's what this Argentinian thought I was doing), the Argentinian repeatedly interrupted & insulted me. At one point he asked (in an exasperated tone) who taught me that. I replied that John O'Leary had taught me this. He asked, indignantly, "who the hell is that?" I responded that is a well-known & widely-respected Australian horseman & "breaker."

The Argentinian concluded (as you see, he is not a very thoughtful person) that John O'Leary must be another of these "imbeciles" who exploit "idiots" like me, idiots who know nothing about horses or training. When I attempted to remind him that I had gentled 16 wild PMU colts & fillies from Canadian PMU farms (all 2-year olds & under--though not with your outstanding Mouthing system) & that I had brought along Bodhi (whom he repeatedly remarks is a very nice horse) from a starting-gate flipping mad horse (that's right: Bodhi was "retired" from racing after flipping head-over-hoofs twice in the starting gate), he continued to interrupt & insult me.

Then he launched into a lecture extolling the virtues of using side-reins & long-lining Bodhi to improve his mouth. When I attempted to point out to him that long-lining very often results in the ruination of a horse's mouth, he stated that such an outcome was only true for idiots like me who have no business long-lining horses.

May I also say that, although this is an extreme instance/case, that such unsolicited assaults--masquerading in the form of helpful advice, are not uncommon in my experience. Very often the most vitriolic of those attacks come from "old timers" like the Argentinian or those who are members of or have come through what I term the "Opus Dei of the Horse World," that is, the U.S. Pony Club.

My confidence was shaken by this assault, which occurred in front of a number of young women (girls really), who are riding students of the unassuming riding instructor at our barn. In the end, I simply endured his assault & agreed with him (Italians have a saying: In order to get them to shut up, always agree with cretins).

However, I aim to collect myself & confront him when I next see him. When I do so, I will accord him all the respect & courtesy that he withheld from me.

By the way: If you wish to post this email to your Web site--with your thoughtful response & any recommendations/advice (to help me when I confront the ex-Peronist), please feel free to do so.

Yours in gratitude,
M-D Kerns
Herndon, VA (USA)

What a wonderful story MD and so well told. You have a wonderful grasp of the English language :)

There is nothing so 'Ostrich like' than some of the old school from that era. :) Let them be in peace. The facts are that when it comes to 'lightness' and submission' that era pales into insignificance to these days for just about every old video I watch or picture I see, shows me Mouths that are only basic. I doubt whether anyone has ever been stupid enough to make this observation but I often see the Klimke video get posted in various places on the Net and spoken about in Godly like terms.

Yes, he was a Master but against today's Horses, that video clip showed me more than enough resistance and an underlying Mouth that was not at a 10. Today, against Andreas or Edward Gall's new Horse, the combination, based upon that work, wouldn't get a ribbon. This is how time the skills progress. Horsemanship is no different. 20 years ago, Natural Horsemanship as we know it today, wasn't invented. So we have a choice, to be enlightened, to try all things new, discard those that don't work for us and add those that do. The Argentinean clearly doesn't have that policy as he is locked in the British Military system which has long past it's use by date.  Regards





O.K. then, you said i could ask..............

(a little of my background so you can word your answers easier.... i follow natural principles- understand the concept of its when u quit that they learn as opposed to when you dont quit., have done level 3 pnh with two horses, and started my young horse naturally. am a non-practicing intro EFA coach, and have qualifications in equine science.) i have trained my horse from a yearling, and have had good friends(who are natural trainers) help me at times when i have needed them. i now live 3 hrs out of sydney and away from regular help.

question1: am having trouble teaching my horse rhythm and straightness whilst in contact. she is an andalusian so her head carriage and hindleg engagement is good, however i feel she swerves away from the contact and the leg. its hard to keep her straight and hence she loses rhythm and momento. ever since i have asked for more than a lap ot two of the arena of contact she is not happy. she moves promptly from my leg, and people have said she is avoiding it so hold it there, but when i hold her with my legs people say ' dont grip your horse"....just need some simple directions. or do i just need to be more firm and persistant with her?

q2: what aids do i use to ask her to walk? as you know NO ONE EVER TELLS YOU HOW! can find it in any book. if i put my legs on i get piaffe ( very nice piaffe but not really ready for that yet). i put this down to her tension, and me not being able to clearly and appropriately ask her properly, so in essence it is her confusion to my vague requests. what im after is a nice marching walk. HELP ( have read your website regarding this and also the head chucker stuff).

q3: i have contemplated returning to loose rein riding for a while and only asking for contact maybe every 10 or 20 strides....will this slow her progression into her dressage career? everyone is saying i should ask more now & push her, but i am unsure because when she is soft she is fabulous....when she is tense its shocking. (she is 7).

hope you can give me some straight up answers.

Hi Meagan,


Of course you can ask questions.


  1. Rhythm comes when a horse is balanced and relaxed. The first thing you need to assess is whether she stays exactly on the track you are riding? If the answer is no, then you need to improve her leg yielding and I do support the young horse with my legs to a degree. Keep her between the legs as it were. The leg yield will also help keep her out on a circle whilst you ask for bend creating suppleness which in turn creates relaxation. All this is explained in the German training scale dvd.
  2. Walk is the easiest pace to ruin. I don’t initially go near the contact much at walk until the horse has the concept of being on the bit. The walk doesn’t have impulsion so the horse isn’t naturally forward therefore not creating a definite feel in the rein like you experience at the trot and canter. I would ask for walk in the warm up phase with a loose rein and only address the contact at walk after some trot and canter work and then only for short periods of only 10 meters before say doing a transition. Leave it alone until the horse is on the bit consistently in trot and canter first. I talk about this in the green to dressage dvd. She does sound confused and tense. To ask for walk I give a squeeze with both legs to initiate it and then to increase activity within the walk I push with one leg then the other swinging in time with the belly of the horse. So alternating the legs. The reason for this is that it is a different aid to both legs together which I then use to initiate the trot by doing it twice.
  3. This won’t slow her progression for dressage as the first thing you need is relaxation in order to train a horse. If tense she will learn nothing. Hopefully the green to dressage dvd will give you more insight? Good luck.

Mrs. HP.

Hi Linda,

I have just sold my big warmblood who was medium advanced level dressage and I have just purchased a 3yo stock horse pony who can do spins and flying changes, all off the leg and not much contact!!!! She shortens the neck when I try to make contact with her mouth and she panders around on the forehand. If I use my legs to push her forward she just goes faster on the front legs. I hope your videos can help. Cheers

Hi Rob and Trish,

When a horse evades the bit by coming behind, you need to take more feel, making it uncomfortable to be behind the bit until the horse come above and then soften of course. Then ridden forward, forward, forward to a point of almost running, so that the horse pulls into the bit. This is one of the hardest things to fix. Linda fixed one in a lesson yesterday. You must have a very still rein contact that doesn’t move in the mouth at all, so that the horse can feel confident enough to go there. Bad hands can never fix these horses. All half halts must be made by slowly taking up the feel, using that feel for several paces at a time and then following the feel when softening but NOT DROPPING IT!!!!!!!!


Thanks for your reply John,

So does that mean shortening the reins to take more feel, like the feel of having them in the bridle or keeping a longer rein with more feel and pushing into it? I did a bit of work on the lateral mouth yesterday, and then she seemed to go better towards the bit. My contact with her mouth was much clearer and she did not evade the contact. And yes I made sure I softened, so she could gain confidence.



The reason the Horse would have been better after lateral mouth work is that she would have been more supple then, which in turn provides relaxation and stretches the top line, therefore reaching more for a contact. German Training Scale DVD.  If they are really sitting behind it, yes I do take up the reins. You can ride t forward all you like but it has to be into a definite connection. Cheers



Hi John,

Just a few comments on the tagasaste tree. This tree has been reserached and established as a very good cattle fodder in WA. It is well adapted to the deep sandy soils that can be found in WA. There are farmers who have planted this shrub over large areas (300 - 400 Hectares) and use it as a feed base for their cattle.

There are a few issues with it however, and one of these is that the palatability of the leaves and the nutritional value of the leaves declines in the late summer and autumn months. This can be partly controlled in cattle by supplementation with lupins. I am unaware of any research undertaken to evaluate the usefulness of this shub as a fodder source for horses.

I was a little concerned with one comment that indicates the seeds are poisonous as I have not seen any evidence of this yet have seen cattle and sheep graze the tagasaste plantations when there is considerable amounts of seed on the ground.

The link below gives some more information on tagasaste as a useful fodder shrub.



Thanks Tony. I too have not had a trouble with seeds, across 30 years of Horses having full access. Regards


Hi John

I regularly read your website and would feel very comfortable sending any young one to you for starting. I have kept my 14y old TB (pleasure horse only) at a local large agistment centre for a number of years now and feel very depressed sometimes at the plight of many horses that come and go through the place due to inexperience, lack of knowledge of horse anatomy, and the “blame the horse” attitude for basic training errors etc. I thought it may be appropriate to relate my own case of difficulties with my horse due to my ignorance of poor saddle fitting and the problems it has caused. I have perservered with my horse (or more correctly, he has perservered with me riding him) for 3 years now and although we have had some great rides and moments of success it has become more and more difficult to achieve even a working trot in a straight line and working on a 20m circle was near impossible. He had showjumping and eventing history when I bought him and even though we had both thoroughly enjoyed recreational jumping he recently started to pigroot after jumping and was having increasing difficulty in holding a canter between jumps. I rode him in a saddle that used to be an OK fit when he had less condition on him and I felt really comfortable in it but had failed to notice that it was bridging causing a significant pressure point and irritation to spinous processes to the rear of the panels. I spent money on lessons, massage, vet inspection and have spent many hours working him from the ground to work him through his problems but only noticed that the saddle may have been the problem when he dipped his back in pain after a short trail ride up and down hills recently. I have since had him fitted with a new saddle which fits him very well and a few rides later I have my lovely horse back again and he is jumping like he is having the time of his life. I have a huge amount of respect for this horse now for trying his best despite his now obvious discomfort and to think I was going to retire him altogether and give up as I could not afford to keep two horses. I feel rather regretful that I didn’t know more about saddle fitting and the problems it can cause, particularly that it can build up over a number of years to cause a chronic problem. I am an average rider and a responsible horse owner who was prepared to look beyond my “problem horse” for answers but I am sure many horses are written off for the same reason particularly by novice riders who are unable to recognise what problems that poor saddle fit can cause. Anyway, the reason for my message is that you haven’t covered this topic before in your problems index and I thought it may be appropriate for inclusion.

Thanks for your time

Janet Buch.

Thanks Janet and well done indeed. Unintentional cruelty is rife. I hate to say it but it is in every equestrian centre of any size,  in the Country. I have it here on this property. How far does one go in sticking their nose in other's business. Besides, I don't need the work. The lack of education about the things that matter in this Country is appalling, but I have said that before. Congratulations Janet. You have done well. Thanks for the story and the warning. Regards.


Hi there,

I have a Standardbred gelding which I have been showing. He has only been to two dressage days. My main love is the dressage but due to most responces I get I have left his tests for this year. He is doing walk/trot high point at the moment so I am limited to walk/trot, but starting to work on his canter this year. This horse is a Trotter not a pacer. I dont have a photo of him at the dressage but do have one at from Strath Hunt Club show if it helps.

His best score in his first dressage test which was Prep 2 was 60.6% and second place..


What a lovely pic and lovely Horse.


Hi John,

I got my Market Harborough the other, gee what a nice piece of equipment. If I saw something of that quality hanging in the saddlery shop I would expect it to have at leat $150 on the price tag. I can’t wait to try it out on the weekend.

Just a quick question, just out of curiosity. I have 3 horses, I mare & 1 gelding share a paddock & the other gelding is in the paddock opposite them on his own. Every day when I approach their paddocks with their feed buckets, they go for a pee, all 3 of them. I’ve never seen ay of the other horses at the agistment do this as we often feed for the owners when they go away to shows, rodeo’s etc & so I see the others at feed time a lot, but never seen any of them do this, only mine. I was just wondering if this is something you’d come across & if so do you have any clue what it could be about?

Ours do it to Catherine. It is because of anticipation and excitement. Made more regular by prompt feeding, their recognition that you are their caring owner.

Also, in reference to the person who sold the foal who’s owner now has problems at feed time, our arab boy (6yo) was gelded late & had already sired 2 foals so still kind of thinks he’s a stallion, tried it on with us just last spring out of the blue after we’d had him 2 years. He got pushy one day at feed time so I sent him running. He was prancing & strutting & coming in close & looking at me as he went past like “nana na nana” at me so I kept him running & running. He came up to me a couple of times as if to say can I eat now but he was still head up, prancy & nostrils flared & still cocky so I said “not good enough” so kept him running, all while my mare was quietly standing at her bin happily munching away. He finally pranced past one last time & stopped about 20 feet away from me, still head up & all & I just looked at him. Suddenly the head went down & he slowly approached me with his head way down, waited for me to pat him & say it was okay to come in & eat & he’s never done it again. He wasn’t aggressive in any way when he did it though, just cocky & show offish but he soon learnt it wasn’t on. He seems to think his good looks will get him anywhere even with the other horses but they don’t buy it either…..lol. It’s like you keep telling us, rules & boundry’s & stick to them & the horse will respect you for it. So anyway, this is why I always carry a lead rope with me in the paddocks even if I’m not fetching one of them & why I won’t own one any shorter than 12 foot.

That’s my 2 bobs worth anyway……lol.

Kind Regards,

Cathy, George,

Tessa, Boun & Raz

So true Cathy, they are at their most dangerous at that age and will kick you in the head simply for fun. I know, I have suffered it, Regards


Hi again John,
Just read your blog on Canberra. You are very efficient at getting stuff onto your web page. And you were very kind to us!!
Our beautiful mountain range is known as the Brindabellas. (Blue Mts are just west of Sydney.) And our agistment is $880 - but that is just nit-picking.
Amanda is just rapt at your comments about Billy.
Kindest regards

Thanks Jenne\ifer. My appols.


Hi John,

I'm sure you get plenty of emails like this, but I just thought I'd let you know how grateful I (and my horse) am that you taught us about the importance of hobble training. I found your website a few months ago and have found all the information so helpful! My friend and I were trail riding when a pair of moter bikes screamed up behind us - the two horses jumped sideways into ground vines (the type that cover the ground like a 2 foot deep sponge - horrible things we get up here in the "sunshine state"!).

Both horses got their legs completely tangled and my friend's horse panicked. I had to go and help get hers free first before he hurt himself - taking about 20 mins! By the time we'd calmed her horse down and cut him out of the vines, my lovely boy was still just standing here and was happily stuffing his face with any surrounding grass... no fuss as we untangled his legs and set off home.

You are a lifesaver!

All the best,


Thanks Kat and of course you deserve the credit for being open minded, more so than the Argentinean :) and then doing the training. Great. Did you get a pic? There was a Horse here the other day and there had been a chain mesh around a Tree in his yard. A Colt had periodically destroyed it and indeed unraveled it. The Owner had removed it from the yard but not far enough and he dragged it into his yard. Wrapped around a front leg but of course he just stood there. He too had been hobble trained. :) Well done.





9th April, 2009


Well, I had a wonderful day with a very civilized Family where wonderful Kids purchased their Mum a Birthday present whereby she had a weekend of Yoga, tickets to a comedy festival (no, not me :) and a day working with her Horses with my help. I couldn't say no to the Kids for you don't meet many Kids like that these days. Canberra is much like a Country Town compared to the other big Cities. No wonder the Pollies like it :)

I must say that I did enjoy myself for it was a nice change to ride in wonderful country with magnificent views, in the slow lane, rather than having to concentrate so hard on most of the Horses that I ride. My mount, a rising 19 year old OTTB, gave me all the pleasures that the best Rolls Royce Horses that I often ride, can do. He kept me safe, he didn't put a foot wrong, he knew the Trails better than I did of course and I put my trust in him. He didn't let me down. He communicated with me, he showed me his friendship. He answered every request and acted like my best Mate. What more could a Horseman ask. To ride a horse like that, go riding with a lovely Lady and soak up the wonderful views of the Blue Mountains. That's what it is all about.

. The National Trail. 2000k through some of the best Country of this fair Land. From Mansfield in Victoria to Cape Town in Queensland. How would you like to ride that then?

Thanks to a past Governor General of Australia, Sir Paul Hasluk, Canberra is ringed with Horse facilities, trails and paddocks to agist in. Each paddock centre has facilities. Each paddock facility looks like 100's of acres. What a legacy and how lucky they are? $800 per year.

Here are a few pics of the views, facilities, a big 'Old Man Roo having a drink and my lovely Host.

My thanks to Bill who made us a wonderful Lunch. and who got a Red MG for his Birthday :)



Hi John

I read on a regular basis that people get new horses and want to give them time to trust and respect them. What are your thoughts on that sort of comment?

Mine are pretty harsh. My experience with animals is that they like a confident consistent handler and fuzzy, give the horse a brush stuff really doesn't register for them in the trust and respect department. Sure a scratch is nice, but doesn't give the horse a reason to trust or respect you. A tree can scratch just as well as a person.

In my experience, animals respect people who are confident, consistent and fair. I also think that in order for an animal to respect you, you have to respect them. For all of my animals, the worst punishment I can mete out is to banish them from my presence. You'd think their world has ended.

Animals don't trust you because you give them food or a brush or anything like that. They trust you because they know what the outcome is going to be and they know that the outcome will remain the same. Be it dealing with a scary object or whatever. They can't have seen everything that is around, but if you are consistent in your requests, they learn that there hasn't been a bad outcome before, so it should be ok this time too. We were put in a very compromising position recently (due to people tying to twine!!) and I was very proud of the way my horse handled himself and did as he was instructed. He was a bit worried (totally understandable given what happened), but at no time did it cross his mind to not follow directions. That is a huge improvement for a horse that went into blind panic when I first bought him. To me that is trust and it has been built and continues to be built by having a consistent non harmful outcome to all requests you make.

I am the dominant being as far as my animals are concerned, however I don't dominate them if that makes sense. They are allowed to express themselves within accepted boundaries. As a result they all have very individual personalities. Given that, I also struggle with the "I show the horse who is boss and never let them forget it" train of thought as well.

I probably started pondering all of this when watching someone at agistment do NH stuff. No idea what they are doing, but part of it looks to be they drop their head so they are looking at the ground, have arms to the side and just stand there like they are trying to hide in plain sight, possibly waiting for the horse to approach? I can't figure it out. I commented to a friend that I would never be that submissive around any animal. Friend remarked that she doesn't think it is a good cue anyway as it isn't asking for something; it seems to be more of a do it and hope for the right outcome thing. Given they are having a lot of difficulty with the horse doing what it wants (physically overpowering them most times), I just can't comprehend why they would be submissive. Which of course got me to thinking why my animals wouldn't act like that.

anyway, that is a long ramble while you are away


One of the best questions I have had for yonks K. A very relevant question indeed.

I read it regularly via my letters but more seriously see real implications in Horselaw cases that I handle, how people spend days, weeks and months getting to know Horses. From the point of view of those cases that I see (10 at the moment) the victims do themselves a grave disservice by not getting right on with their new purchases for the longer the wait, the weaker their case can be and the more doubt the Seller can attempt to place in the mind of the Court. Blaming the new Owner for causing the problems that the Horse may have had before the sale.

On the general question of letting Horses settle in for a week before you do anything with them, I completely disagree. No Trainer does that, Monty, Pat and every other Clinician on the Planet does that so why do new Owners. Treat them as if they had been with you forever and go right on with them as normal. One day off after arrival for Vet reasons and then get stuck into them. I can say that such treatment actually makes Horses feel at home way faster and relax quicker than having them sit around to wonder where in the Hell they are now and to entertain depressed thoughts of long lost Home.

You are dead right, horses simply want direction, consistency, understanding, feed and water. Horses are happiest with an Owner who is assertive, has feel, reading, timing, direction and so on. They love Owners with knowledge, Owners with balance, Owners who are not weight challenged and those with 'good hands'

On the very important subject respecting Horses being an important factor in their happiness, you have now hit upon one of the most neglected areas of Horse education. Horses need to know that you do truly respect them. They watch for that, they judge for that and they continually judge. In fact they listen to your conversation. They even understand the key words of the English Language of course.

Yesterday, this old Horse, who stands around like this (statue mode) and not remotely interested in seeking interaction with Humans in any deep and meaningful way, decided after listening to a conversation between myself and the owner about saddle fit and other things, that I was someone who he wanted to form a relationship with. He ever subtly crossed over his front legs and took one step of a a turn on the hinds, so his front end was nearer me where he gave me a friendly head rub and push.

That was it and we were Mates. So you are spot on. No need for the grooming to get to know each other. To make the Horse feel welcome with feeds, carrots or speeding time with the Horse in the paddock. All completely irrelevant and probably counter productive. Saddle up and ride!!!


Anyway, just wanted to let you know how the filly is coming along. She's basically ready to go home and has learnt her leg yielding well and is working nicely. She's been going out everywhere by herself this week and has been an angel. Fred has also stockwhip trained her which helped with the right hand side issue too. She is such a willing, try hard horse...just beautiful.

We made another discovery this week. You can add float training to the big list of things the other breaker didn't quite manage to cover in the four months he had her. She's fine now but definitely hadn't seen much of one.

On that breaker, Fred is pretty much convinced that he used a dummy on her (as in a fake person, not himself haha!). The first few rides here, it's like she was always anticipating something coming down on her right hand side. I wonder if that's what caused the problem, amongst other things?

Ali is coming for a couple of rides at the end of this week and then Lana will be going home for some well earned rest. She's been an absolute
pleasure to have here and I wish they were all like her. Rachx.


Well done. I never had any doubts. So the assessment was right. How could it not be?? The Horse tells all :) I see the Horse is as soft as Butter and likes her Rider. That's the biggest compliment Fred can get. Regards



Good afternoon John.

I just watched your podcast on scales & I want to thank you for posting it as you answered my question yet again.

My girl is 7 months old now & coming along wonderfully.

I applied those same tecniques to her with perfect results so far; she stands tied up beautifully leads loopy etc & has always done so.

however, I am being told by a couple of different breakers that it is only inevitable that she will fight it sooner or later. needless to say i'm still waiting and it only makes me feel paranoid about it.

you stated at the end that if you follow this tecnique properly, you will have a lovely light fight free yearling that's had a good start. Well I have to say YOU'RE RIGHT AGAIN!!

I have broken in horses with good results but never had my own foal to start and so it's been a little learning curve for me with great results to date. I just hope I continue on the right track till she is ready to formally break in.

You stated that it's good to do as much as you can to break them in as much as possible without actually sadlling and getting on; I also agree with that too. I place saddle blackets on her if im saddling the others and shes happy to walk around with it on. I place the lead rope in her mouth and let her chew it etc; things like that and she enjoys the involvement of it all I think too- gets her nose in everything lol.

Anyway enough babbling! you're busy.

Thanks so much again for all your efforts - much appreciated.

Andrea. :) all the best to Mrs HP also & HAPPY HORSEIN AROUND.

Thanks Andrea and very well done to you.

Horses that are properly halter broken and tie up solid as Foals, if the owner then treats those tied up foals as normal Horses with normal expectations and demands, WILL NOT ATTEMPT TO PULL BACK later. Doesn't happen. They may get a fright, go to the end of the rope and briefly test it through flight perhaps but they will not attempt to beat it, spin their wheels or anything else. Thy will give and get over it immediately. That is because during their Halter training, they have their final little testing of the lead rope when you trim their feet. That is the cementing of the system and the end of it. Regards and thanks. Mrs. HP meets Doctors next week re releasing her from the leg jewelry. :)


Gday john,

this is not so much as a how to, but more of a why question!! I have just received a phone call from a lady that has bought a horse from me as a yearling,,, all was going well(so I thought) been in regular contact, the horse is now rising 3yo and been gelded.

he was broken in and has been to a few shows in hand with good behaviour.. However
* has started rearing( was given extensive floating experience as a weaner by me with rope over withers to prevent the launch over chest rail) has been travelling well until rececently?? whats gone wrong here
* has been acting agressively towards owner at feed time ie pinning ears back & charging(this been going on for 6 months!! I only just found out!!!!). .. owner smacks horse on nose when ears are pinned back; horse pricks ears , owner pats horse; feeds horse then horse charges when her back is turned!!!(me personally wouldnt allow him to get close enough to smack on nose if he's behaving like that)..
I never experienced any of this behaviour as a foal through to selling him.... I give all my horses strict rules at feed time not to come within cooee of me until I tell them its ok.. they all seem to accept this rule.....if I horse looks side ways at me it gets told!!!

the lady has asked if I can come sort the problem out, I have agreed, I am interested as to find out why he has gone from being a well mannered horse at feed time to being a villian!! have I missed something in his early education!!!! also any tips on how to confront this issue, many thanks in advance.


Easy. Take a big long whip and put it around the ass of the Owner. Then tell her why. This is not about the Horse or you. It is about the Owner. So you have to train the Owner, not the Horse. So have fun hahahaha.


Hi Linda,

I have just sold my big warmblood who was medium advanced level dressage and I have just purchased a 3yo stock horse pony who can do spins and flying changes, all off the leg and not much contact!!!! She shortens the neck when I try to make contact with her mouth and she panders around on the forehand. If I use my legs to push her forward she just goes faster on the front legs. I hope your videos can help.

Hi Rob and Trish,

When a horse evades the bit by coming behind, you need to take more feel, making it uncomfortable to be behind the bit until the horse come above and then soften of course. Then ridden forward, forward, forward to a point of almost running, so that the horse pulls into the bit. This is one of the hardest things to fix. Linda fixed one in a lesson yesterday. You must have a very still rein contact that doesn’t move in the mouth at all, so that the horse can feel confident enough to go there. Bad hands can never fix these horses. All half halts must be made by slowly taking up the feel, using that feel for several paces at a time and then following the feel when softening but NOT DROPPING IT!!!!!!!!




Thanks John. You might be interested to know that a friend of mine bought a market harborough from horseland the other day...the good news is that it had dog clips rather than the usual dangerous clips.....the bad news is that one of the clips snapped in half within one minute of use!!

Why doesn't that surprise me :) Regards








7th April, 2009

I have to admit that I am struggling to keep up right now. I am trying to help about 10 different victims in cases of Horselaw and my head is spinning. ...plus....

early in the morning I have to fly to Canberra as a 61st Birthday surprise present for a Lady :) and no, I am not jumping out of a Cake with nothing on but a Farrier Apron I am working with her and her Horses and going for a ride n the Bush :)

So my website may be a little thin for a few days. Sorry.


Bronwen Hooper, Big Pong is returning my mail to you.

Thanks God Kevin hasn't laid down to these Crooks. Finally, we will get a World Class Broadband network.


I hope you don't mind me sending you all this but this is very disturbing to all of us who love our ponies. Please be on the look out, forward to everyone on your data base that is horsey and lets see it we can find this precious pony and return him to his owner.

To all horsey people

Our beloved pony was stolen on Wednesday night (2nd April 09). He's belongs to a heartbroken 8yr. If you ever see him please let someone know. He's branded 6 over 6. He's a 2 yr gelding about 13 hh. He has a blaze on his

forehead and 4 black legs. If anybody is at the R.S.P.C.A or 'doggers' yard please watch out for him. Our contacts

are brendankate1@bigpond ph .417 626 108 or 0438 074 819.

Many thanks to all that care.

Kate Hutchinson


Janssen to Find a Way for Anky to Compete Salinero in Las Vegas

March 22, 2009

Necessity is the mother of invention. Anky van Grunsven's partner Sjef Janssen is going to make sure that Anky will compete Salinero in Las Vegas. Janssen told the Dutch Press Agency ANP that he'll hire a lawyer if that is what it takes for Anky to get a wild card.

On a formal level, Van Grunsven has not complied with the regulations to earn a berth with Salinero at the 2009 World Cup Finals. She had to compete her horse twice in a World Cup qualifier in order to be eligible to go. The Dutch Equestrian Federation also did not apply for a Wild Card with the FEI (due date was 15 March 2009). Furthermore, a "wild card horse" also needs to have competed in two world cup qualifiers in order to be entitled to a wild card.

As Janssen is now hitting a brick wall with the rule of two qualifiers -- a requirement which he himself passionately pushed through with the FEI as official rule -- he has told the press he won't accept his own rule. According to him, there is plenty of room in the rules to circumvent the problem.

"The rules are not waterproof, that is clear," Janssen told ANP. "If the FEI wants it, Anky will compete, but apparently they don't want that. Formally, Anky is qualified with Painted Black and the instances seem to want her to take him to Las Vegas."

Janssen does not expect his wife to ride Painted Black. "With Painted she can win a medal, or finish eighth. And for that she won't travel half the globe. If she goes, she goes to win," Janssen said. Anky herself said that she still wants to think about it, but stated that she shares the same viewpoint with Janssen.

Anky considers the decision of the FEI disappointing. "It's a shame. I don't think our sport has many big names. It seems good to me that for the sport as many big names are allowed to participate," she commented.

The reason why Van Grunsven did not compete Salinero twice has two causes. First of all, the horse got a long break after the 2008 Olympic Games and secondly she had planned on riding him at the CDI-W Gotenburg but a back injury prevented her from riding.

The FEI is announcing today the official wild card holders as well as the list of finallists



Hi mate, just thought I would have a winge about a few things that have caused me grief and warn others not to use them!

- Kincade all purpose saddles – I don’t know who designed them but I can’t stand the things – the material pointers are not subject to handle day to day riding for long periods!

- Imitation stock saddles – stock saddles without brands  from Saddleworld – do not fit horses and slip to buggery.

- Mimical parelli lead ropes – I AGREE they are unworthy of even a $5 costprice. Before I had the brains to pay the extra money to buy the best parelli ropes, I bought roma training ropes and murphys law, one broke the first time I used it while leading a young horse through the bush off another.. gave me grief alright when I had to catch the youngster again in hundred of acres of bushland!

- Cheap leather stirrup leathers – these got me, they go really supple when oiled, however too supple that the holes split faster than one can check their gear- needless to say, when one has to ride about 20km home without stirrups on a green horse up and down hills etc they would hate this product too. I recommend the bates stirrup leathers, they have lasted me for 6 months so far without any signs of danger.

- Syd Hill/status/kincade swinging fender – personally, these saddles are comfortable, however the attachments for the stirrups are rather delicate, involving a pin and a cover securing the selected hole. They don’t last long and can break at the most inconvenient times. The girth attachements are a nylon material as well and their thin material can deteriorate rapidly under day to day riding.

Just to note:

As a allround rider, I treat my horse with respect while at the same time having fun and showing him who is boss. When I go to PC, I can’t believe some people.. how some people treat their horses. Without naming anyone in particular, these boys get the quickest times in sporting, however, their horses are so jumpy, are tense as, frothing out of the mouth, resisting the bit with their heads in the air. When they knock down a barrel or peg, the riders jump off and their horses pull back and bolt off… I wonder why.. it is clear that these horses have been bashed over the head.. horses make mistakes just like us …. I am disgusted to see this happening in the horse sector.

Hackies – I show horses in my local area, however just for fun but to see how some of these riders high up act suprises me. I see some people on their horse in the warm up ring, they jump of if the horse starts rearing or playing up of any kind straight away- doesn’t this teach the horse that if they do that, the weight gets off their back!

Over the years, I have also learnt the following!

- Load horses into the float from the back, leadrope over neck and pressure from the back is safer than getting jambed in at the front plus this method works on more horses!

- Don’t leave rope halters on horses in the padock. (self explanatory)

- Have good fencing

- Be one step ahead of the horse all the time

- The only reason a man can ride a horse is because he is smarter than him.

- Have a go

- Let go of the reins – just imagine someone cutting your mouth all the time

- Don’t decide to change bits the morning of the show, the last thing you want is the chain of a pelpham causing your horse to throw its head around.

- Treat your horse well and you will get rewards.

Very good Tips Sir. You see, the Horses are the best teachers, which is why "over the years" you have learnt those great tips. "Listen to our Horses" and we will be great :)

Here is a letter regarding Parelli Ropes. From a Manufacturer.

There are 2 versions out there, one is made from polypropylene and is stiff and breaks down under UV exposure, the other has a polyester blend that is a little better. BUT still gets a powdery white build up as the UV breaks down the rope.
It was your name that sells....

Name branding is not a guarantee of quality....have a look at the attached pic, I have also attached a pic of our splice. This is a Parelli $85 leadrope that gave way when a horse pulled back. I got it in for repair. The lead has been spliced in the 'cheats' way, stuffing the hollow outer braid back under the leads outer cover. The inner core was cut out, just leaving enough to give the appearance that the leadrope was correctly spliced.
I sent a pic of the splice to Lee & Danny who used to make the parelli gear here in Aust. Lee identified it as a Parelli splice....now I am weary of recommending them to our customers wanting a sampson leadrope.????




I was saying the other night, that you cannot win them all or fix them all. Here is a letter regarding some of the most well known Trainers of the last 50 years in this Country.

no I didnt know Tom Roberts or professor McGilleray, as for Heath, ummm well far as i was concerned he took credit for his wifes work until they broke up, then he had a lot of catch up to do, I have far more respect for
Tony Joblanski he has real talent and wasnt John a student too?
Its all in what a person takes away with them.
I dont know what Jim did to my mare as he told me to drop her off and come back a week later to be taught how to ride her. when I arrived there was no one in sight so saddled her up and was about to mount when jim came screaming, dont touch her she will kill the kid.
like what the?
he took off my gear, put on his own and the second he put a foot in the stirrup she began bucking like curio, yep jim sure could ride she bucked herself to nearly a standstill but she was still trying as he stepped of and told my mother, see.

this mares never been mouthed or broken in and never will be, dog her before she kills your child.

i just stood there flabergasted.

and told jim,
but ive won and placed in hack classes with her, all she was doing when we brought her to you was rubbernecking when she didnt want to go the way i asked her?

he laughed at me and said, well show me.

i took off his gear, saddled her up and she stood like a rock, walk trot and canter on the bit, simple and flying changes. it was jims turn to stand open mouthed.

my friends mare was sent to jim as an unbroken 3 yr old. he kept her two weeks and told her to come and get her she was untrainable and would never have a mouth. He told her parents to take it directly to the doggers before she hurt their daughter she was so wild.

she was petrified when they picked her up, she wouldnt eat either. they called the vet and when he examined, her mouth the lips were swollen and cut both sides, the flesh of the top of the bars was gone. two inches of bone clearly visable to the back teeth. her tongue was cut and lacerated as was the roof of her mouth, he was pretty astonised saying it looks like she had had barbed wire in her mouth?

we didnt bother asking jim as I had thought his run in with my mare was just the two didnt get on as mine was very standofish to those she didnt know, but this pony had thought everyone was her friend well until she came back.

As for John -----, I had a friend took her gelding to him to be broken in. lead, tie, pick up his feet and tethered no problems very quiet gentle pony. when she got him back "broken in" she saddled him up to go for a ride. he bolted straight down her road, across the princess highway through all that traffic somehow without being hit and onto the beach, she turned him up the beach where he galloped till they reached the headland and he had to stop, she couldnt even slow him no matter how she tried. he turned and bolted back the way he came and back across the princess highway this time jumping a ute in the process, luckily helen was a good rider and stayed on and back up the hill to home and into his paddock shaking and trembling.
she was apart from terrified pretty mystafied.

she took him to another trainer who put in another 6 weeks and he came back with a mouth and calm under saddle. who knows what happened. but john had a great reputation so we just figured something must have spooked him.
some years later I sold a colt to a man, he was already broken in and quiet enough I used to put my baby on him for a lead ride, but had been turned out for 2 years so I suggested he take him to a trainer for a refresher course. he took him to john.
he was there 3 or 2 days, forget which, he rang me the day john returned him dreadfully distressed. john rocked up with his colt both of them covered in blood, john with a bitten shoulder, the colt with welts to his entire body head to tail, his eyes so swollen his vet feared he may lose both eyes.
I do know what happened as a worker there told his incredulous owner some months later. but as i was not present i cannot put it in print. its not complementary.

some get on with a horse some dont and how they react can be a disaster for one or both cant it?

I suppose I emailed you because Jim always boasted he had never failed with a horse even after the two disasters with mine and the girl down the road. perhaps he saw it as poetic license. LOL


Well I won't make that boast Sandy I have had the odd Horse over the years that I just couldn't get to the bottom of but thankfully, not for a while. I think we all have to learn a lot to be able to get to the stage of winning with 100% of Horses. I can tell you that I didn't gain "the one thing" until about 5 years ago. This is the problem. You have to be ready to drop off your Perch before you can soak it all up necessary to be near the top of your game. Regards



Hi John and Linda,

Just wanted to let you know that I seem to have one success after another, every time I ride, since I discovered your site and DVD's.

I would never have thought I could learn so much without physical lessons, yet my "head in the air OTTB" looks so beautiful my friend actually started crying watching me ride on Friday!

And the surprise on the face of a "Dressage Professional" who sniggered at the thought of me doing anything other than keeping him as a pet (why are horsy people so BITCHY!), as she watched me trot around in a frame, very long and low and well... just perfect! - Although she had to tell me that my hand were too low, my shoulders too forward and my legs not right of course!

I am waiting on getting you some video. I have a "before" and just need a volunteer cameraman for the "after". Sure I need to work on leg yield, get him picking up his feet more, straightening him up in places etc, but this was a [and I quote]: "Psychopathic horse that will probably kill me", given to me free of charge as he was dog meat material.

This happy boy is able to be groomed and saddled in a field without even a halter on and is relaxed and most of all SAFE to ride.

Linda has taught me on a DVD what I have never understood from anybody else. Just like that! It's just happened for me! And now the "dressage professional" friend has asked me to ride one of her new horses to get it ready for a career! (I have never dressaged in my life by the way, and I am 36 years old! LOL!)

You will also be pleased to know that I just saved a neighbours horse whose children were having a terrible time with, just by showing them how to 'get off the horses mouth'. They think I gave him a magic pill
- when all I did was pass on knowledge learned from you!

Until next time....

One very happy customer!

Thanks very much and hearty congratulations to you. You must be so stoked. .....and you haven't even reached the CWCGHW stage in life :) Regards


Hi John, I get so frustrated when I hear about breakers sending horses back to the owners without having a look at the jockey. Unlike you I have broken in hundreds not thousands but there is no way known I would start a horse unless I saw the rider in action, forget the money your reputation gets destroyed once you have an owner come off and the horse goes ballistic. All the good and hard work down the drain, but more importantly a good horse stuffed. I say to you young breakers if they [the owner] have gone to the expense of sending the horse to you they can get in the car and drive over and have a ride, that way you can see if they need a kids pony or the one you are breaking will suit them. I feel better having got that off my chest, thanks and regards Bill

Too true Bill. I too want the Owner to ride and our with me. Owners in general are not taught or trained in the riding of the "Green Horse" and so as I said the other night, you are on "a hiding to nothing" if you just give them the Horse back and you don't give them the manual. Regards


A friend gave me a Carolyn Resnick DVD to peruse and I found her to be quite quirky.She talked alot about making eye contact with horses.My horse makes eye contact with me and holds it everytime we meet.It doesn't intimidate him at all.I do find other horses are put off by eye contact though.How is your young mare with it?What do you think it indicates about the horse and your relationship with it?On to my real question-I am having lots of fun with my horse but seem to be in trouble with keeping collection whilst doing rising trot.(We haven't done too much lately as he is just geting over a cough due-as you suggested in a previous email-to mainly environmental factors.)I use my legs to request collection but if he doesn't respond I tighten the reins for a second.He is quick to collect but as soon as I release he will come undone again.I am a bit of a micromanager, and maybe he is dependant on me to keep collected?We have no problems at the walk,jog or lope.Do yourself or Linda have any tips because I have always disliked the trot and am finding I dislike it even more now.Thanks, Darlene

I have never found a problem with eye contact or without it Darlene. It is the Body Language that matters. Some Trainers make a big deal about eye contact, others no eye contact. That question re your Horse depends if you are riding English or Western and I don't know which. However, tightening reins for a second or less can cause them to be head bobbers rather than be on the bit or remain collected. I prefer to 'Halt Halt' long enough that the Horse gives, softens, stays and only then do I soften. A Half Halt could take 5 strides for instance. The brief tug on the reins often makes the head bobber as I said. Of course, balance at the trot is essential  for your seat must be independent so that your hands are. Regards


my mini mare has started to sit down like a dog and calld out.
she holds her head high with ears back and isnt in a hurry to get up.
would you have an idea of whats wrong? it doesnt seem normal

Sand in her Guts Madam. Treat her.


Hey John

I just have a quick question for you. If someone sold a horse on a payment plan, and forgot to add into the contract "if you fail to pay, we repossess horse and keep deposit", what legal recourse would they have if the buyer did not pay up?

It would be more the case of giving the Buyer grounds to present arguments in the Court and to muddy the waters. Put possible doubt in the mind of the Court. So the answer is to be comprehensive with your agreement.

This hasn't happened - a friend is just covering her butt.

What channel would you go thru to reclaim either horse or money?


Hope this IS a simple Q!!


Be careful



I came accross your video on youtube last night titled "choose your weapon" which was really interesting to watch, although I'm sure your beautifully schooled horse would have gone well with anything in his mouth!

I came accross your video whilst researching bits. The reason for this is that when I had my vet out to check my horses teeth last week, we found 2 small cuts on the underside of his tongue on the outer edges which the vet said could only have been caused by his bit. I am not convinced it was the bit itself (a french link snaffle with lozenge) but possibly the bit pressing his tongue onto his teeth? The vet recommended a straight bar happy mouth bit, which I know would definitely not fit in his mouth, having not alot of room in there! What are your thoughts on a jointed Nathe bit?

I don't know that Bit Sophie. I use After extensive testing on the Green Horse and Mature Horses, I have changed from the Sweat Iron Loose Ring Snaffle to the following

Myler Loose Ring Snaffle Stainless Steel. MB02

WITH CHIN STRAP!!!!!!!!!!! http://horseproblems.com.au/Saddlery%20Sales%20Page/chin_strap.htm

The reason I ask is that my horse who I bought in August last year is a very fearful horse who has not had the best start in life. He was broken at 5 and is now 8, his previous owner did not do alot with him as is nappy and wilful at the best of times. Whilst riding (always on a long rein in walk), if you gather him up for a trot, instead of using his back end, he sticks his head in the air and tanks off. If you use your seat and legs he takes this as his cue to go faster and you have a battle on your hands. If his switch flips he will then jog and dance his way round the rest of the ride, spooking at every scary bird/bag/person he sees. I have been riding him in a harbridge to try and avoid any heavy handedness and this works very well, although he can still be very strong at times. I wonder, should I continue to school and ride him in the harbridge or do you think I am doing something wrong? I have had horses and competed (locally) since I was 12 (am now 33).

If you have time, I would love your comments.

I attach a pic of said horse if this is any use!
Thank you, Sophie

Your Horse doesn't look that bad in the neck department as horses such as that tend to go like this

I don't know what a harbridge is but perhaps a Market Harborough? I do know that he shouldn't be able to go like a Lama and the fact that he can means his Mouth needs work. Allowing jogging "for the rest of the ride" is also not on and the fact that he does and can means that you must be having a contact during that period and therein lies the deterioration of the mouth department. Fix the jogging too. THE CAUSE & FIX OF THE 'JIG JOGGING' HORSE

This Horse should be lunged regularly in running reins imho. A change of Bit may help him as Bits can make horses tense. We fixed one like that, instantly, when we changed it to the Myler. Not saying that is the fix for everything though but the shape of the mouth etc did not suit the other bits.




I am just about to take 2 horses off the hands of a local farmer who doesn't wish to have them on his property any longer. (His father bred these horses but has been deceased for 18 months). They look like stock horse x and stock horse thoroughbred x?

One is a gelding, stocky type, 15.3hh and very aloof, doesn't like you too near him at this point. He was broken in by the father (not sure how long ago or how old this horse is).

Don't trust anything you are told. Only listen to the Horse. Be careful. Re break the Horse in and re mouth it.

2nd horse is a mare, about 14.2hh, very friendly, no problem handling this horse. Same scenario, broken in by the father but not sure last time she was ridden. she is around the 16 - 20 year old mark looking at her teeth.

I would retire herbut I am a pragmatist.  :)

I have been riding in the Western discipline for the past 7 or 8 years. I wouldn't classify myself as an expert horsewoman by any means, but I seem to have a knack of working with them on the ground. My problem is I'm not sure where to start in getting them back to a ridable condition. My husband would like to ride the gelding and they are both of the heavy, stocky type LOL. I will ride the chestnut mare as we're more suited in size.

Do you have any ideas or a training plan that I could perhaps follow?

The horses will be living on my property in the next couple of weeks so I'll be able to spend time with them on a regular basis to gain their trust and respect.

I look forward to your reply.


Yes Fiona, completely break them in as if unbroken. Take them back to scratch. Lunging, go do this: TESTING THE LATERAL MOUTH OF YOUR HORSE

Then re-mouth them. Tying up, rugging, the works and jerks. Take nothing for granted. Regards



I have been in contact with Watkins Horse Handlers ( lovely Rach) and I also would like your opinion.Trainers are chargeing all over the place in this matter.Scenario- Broodmare arrives.Has foal.I halter break and handle.Float train,have your foal hobbles and teach it to tie up.

I charge $60 per day for horse training under saddle.

What does a person charge for foal handling as you may only do it for half and hr a day etc???

Thanks and hope I have explined what I mean clear enough... I am not great at over charging!! Need to get a bit tougher the other half said.LOL He said whatever day you are training a young one $60 should be charged as it can be pretty dangerous when they arrive not halter broken as a weanling...he hates that as we do!!

BTW I have followed the info you emailed me on the weanling(untouched) and the temp of this colt being a SB is just remarkable.Trusting little soul. Thanks John.


Amber WA

$60 a day Amber. Doesn't matter what you do, it is all time and money. Regards


Owner goes away for a couple of days. Makes up the hard feeds and wets them down :) Nice and sour, just like vinegar by the next morning and the night, Colic material.

Dear John
This has happened to me.. The lady in question was a dressage queen . She was going away for three days and asked me to feed her horses .. I showed up on the first day to find she had made up three days of feed and wet them down.. It was summer too.. God they stank. We had to bury the rotten food so that no horses could get to it. Two months later said DQ was reluctant to put down her shetland pony who went down and couldnt get up with laminitis. We called her and she came down and still ummed and are'd. We risked prosecution and called a vet for her to put him down. This poor little fella was in a 38arce paddock with way to much feed and she fed him hard feed everyday. Such a sad story.. Some people are just cruel.
Helen R

There you go Helen. Realists make the best Horse Owners. There are two Horses near here that should be put down this year but the Owners can't come at it. They are bad owners. The Owner with a Big Gun is the good Owner. We see some things, don't we ? :)




5TH APRIL, 2009

Busy, busy week. Just when I thought I had finished building this property, 15 years later, blow me down if the ordinal 10 stables yards weren't showing their age and the wear and tear of the Horses that are Beavers at the first sign of an electric fence failing. So I have been replacing all rails and many Posts. The bloke who built them used posts that you could pick your teeth with and for a nice touch, put them all in upside down to make them look fatter hahahahaha. I call him Mr. Mitre 10. :) His ex wife reads this page so I may be in the poo again :) Hi Annie

Cut back and trimmed a few this week and saw one go lame at the hands of a Farrier who uses back shoes on the fronts. He told the owner that the Horse had knocked his leg over night. Pig's Sarse he did. He got pricked.

Nice to hear that Keith Arthur, the oldest Farrier on the Planet is out of Hospital and doing a few again. I swear he will be shoeing St. Peters Chariot Horses soon. :)

Young Dagmar ran 2nd and 2nd at the Two Day Event this weekend. Got lost in one of the Show Jumping Rounds which simply means she is getting Old Timer's Disease :)

I have another 3 Horselaw cases. Unsound Horses arriving here from NSW but they were fine when they were put on the Truck. Problem is that the Buyers have to spend $500 to prove what is really wrong with them and they are all completely unsound. Bone Chips, fractured pelvis, the list goes on.



I am continually finding a common thread running through the disastrous Horse Sales that are prolific through the Country these days. It is a Culture of Intimidation. It is common to find the following themes:

  • The Buyer, who has just been buried by the new Purchase or found it to be lame a week later, first instinct is to blame themselves.

  • They then give the Horse time to heal. Weeks or Months and of course severely diminish their chances in Court and presenting the Seller with the excuse "Oh but they have had the Horse 4 months."

  • In the cases where these crooked Horse Sales have been carried out by EFA Coaches, Coach Assessors and Dressage Judges, the Buyer cringes away in fear of having any career they hoped to have, ruined by pay back from within the EFA and Judging Community.

  • and in the cases where the Crooked Seller is a high profile Rider, the same attitude exists where many simply walk away having been burnt, some leave the Sport completely or certainly leave Competition.

How can this be so? Because there is a regime of intimidation and pay back, albeit it ever so subtle, amongst those who run the Industry and that my Friends is a disaster. The spin off is this:

  • The Crooks get more and more brazen as each new success comes easier and easier as dudded buyers cringe away.

  • The Crooks start to think that it is almost normal to slide into the wallet of a Buyer and thieve thousands of dollars.

  • They get used to the idea and start to increase their activities. They think they are untouchable and in most cases they are due to the weakness of the majority.

So the whole thing compounds and grows. The Horse Industry suffers as it loses it's Members' in the droves which is why the same old same old goes on and on in mediocrity and the Horse Sports in this Country never improve. They remain the same.

So my weak Friends. You are compounding and fostering your own disaster and that of those who are young now. Grow some Balls!!! Here is a letter of this week. I get one of these per week.

"Hi John

I must admit I am concerned of what will happen to my future in any riding events including lessons at Adult Riders, clinics and competitions ect..
with the small horse community here in the metro area of -------- if i question -------- EFA Level 2 instructor that is a NCAS Level 1 Accessor I think i might as well give up riding and it is something i enjoy i went to adult riders today and watched all the people enjoying riding and wished i had my old horse my little fat Quarter Horse that was safe but could only jump 70cm and do a novice dressage test that will serve me right being ambitious to go better.

Hope you understand my concerns all i want is my money back and the horse returned so i can find something suitable that does not buck at all.

Thanks for your help.


For the record, you are not along. We have the Level 2 in South Australia, the Level 3 in NSW as well.

Shame, shame, shame :)



Most Trainers' will know or will learn, that there a the rare people out there that you "are on a hiding to nothing with" You will never please them and they will never succeed with the Horse. I see young Breakers get terrible disappointed after busting their guts way past the call of duty with the few such people but no matter what they do, they will never please them, satisfy them and the Owner WILL NEVER succeed with the Horse.

I just got off the phone after wasting half an hour of my precious time, attempting to talk a most unsatisfied Lady into understanding that all things in Horsemanship are not solved immediately or 100%. We are dealing with Animals here. Here is the story.

Owner spends 6 months breaking in her Horse. That says enough straight away because no Horse needs that amount of time. Goes to mount it, without the necessary rein control and I would suspect Mouth and it boot scoots over a gate and through several fences. It is a nervous mental wreck from then on of course. One can only imagine.

Horse goes to another Breaker. Hell of a job on a mentally shattered Horse. Rides it successfully, even out in the Forrest. Owner comes and has a ride, no problems. Horse goes home.

Owner gets on Horse the following day, in a yard with a thin rope as a gate. Horse does the scoot, through the rope and off. Owner blames Breaker, I talk the case through with Owner, who just hung up on me whilst bursting into tears and thanking me for calling her fat and useless. I did neither. What I did say was this. It is called reality.

She admitted that she has hip problems so I asked her for her height, weight and the height of her Horse. Arab. The Horse needs to simply walk around a little during mounting. I gave her my view then and that was that if the mentally shattered Horse needed to move it's feet a little, just to cope with the mounting process, then that's fine. Providing the Horse isn't bucking and bolting, who cares. I could show her how to achieve it and over time the Horse would get better and better. OR sell the Horse and buy one suitable.

There comes a time when people need to look in the mirror. There are too many people in the Horse Industry who will not take responsibility for their own short comings and want to blame everyone else. She caused the original disaster and now imho, has undone all of the good work of the second Breaker by using substandard facilities. Sorry. She says, "but the agistment doesn't have a proper round pen." Then bloody shift the Horse!!!!!!!!!!!!" Take responsibility and give the Horse the support it needs. Problem Horses with mental issues require long term help.

So to all the young Trainers out there. You can please most of the people most of the time but your can't please all of the people all of the time. Let them go. You can't save the World. When they can you, ignore it. Over the future, your successes will far outweigh the few failures. Besides, in cases like this, as I said, "You are on a hiding to nothing"




Just thought I would drop you a line to let you know how pleased I am with my filly's progress. I am sure Rachel has been keeping you up to date. I went out for a bush ride with her yesterday (me on Roy) and her progress is amazing me - Fred is doing such a great job. She is such a happy horse now - still tries so hard to please - and, although she is still very green and aware of her rider, she is happily walking through ditches and bush. Her trot...wow! I'm not sure how I'm going to ride it lol as she just floats above the ground - I swear she was 2 feet off the ground, trotting on air as she and Fred went around the corner.

The plan is for me to ride her next week and then bring her home. I will turn her out for a break and to gain condition (although I am so pleased with how she is gaining weight) before bringing her into work. I will take her back up to Fred's for a couple of rides and a reminder that riding is fun before I hop on.

I am now excitied to see that I have bought such a beautiful, willing horse. Yep, I may have a challenge on my hands in terms of being able to ride her movement, but there is no way I would swap her for the world - especially after what she has been through and still showing a willingness to please.

I hope you and Linda are both well. (Are you going to be coming to WA for a clninc? It would be great if you were ;) )

Ali :)


Hey John,

Just wanted to give you a quick update on Alison’s filly. She’s been coming along in leaps and bounds this week and we’ve had no setbacks at all.

She’s been out for fairly long rides in the bush the last three days and is behaving exactly as Fred would like a horse on it’s 5th or so ride to be, which is where we consider her to be at, regardless of what the other -------reckons he did with her. She’s walking, trotting and cantering anywhere Fred wants to put her and is super light off the leg and mouth. There have been no more issues with the right rein at all so Fred feels that is resolved now. She’s a bold girl who will lead the ride even when Roy is out with her. Alison came out today and she and Fred went out for a great ride with her on Roy so she could see what Lana was up to. She’s really happy (and relieved) with her.

Yesterday was funny as they were out in the bush and Fred was swatting flies as they rode along. Lana was being a bit jumpy and putting her head up so Fred kept swatting flies while reassuring her. He then heard a bit of a noise behind them and looked around to try and work out what it was. She had a huge branch caught in her tail which was dragging along behind them on the trail. Fred said it was as long as her and really leafy. Fred hopped off, pulled it out, hopped back on again and off they went! She certainly is a sweetheart.

Funny reading about your heat over there. After a shocking summer here it’s suddenly gone freezing on us. All the horses are in winter rugs now and yet last week it was 35 degree’s plus. Crazy! Rachx.



Dear John,

It is my pleasure to write this e-mail to you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your family and your background. History is so interesting, I wish my granddad who was a great horseman was alive to tell me his stories. And I wish my partner's dad, granddad, greatgranddad was here to tell us what they knew after their years with the Queensland Police. Unfortunately everything living has to die. I was born in Sweden and started my riding career out there in the 70's and 80's. I never felt happy with what I was taught, I felt I needed to get out in the world and explore. I used to like the indians in the cowboy and indians movies I watched as a child. They did the right thing by their horses. I stumbled over your website last week after seeing one of your Youtube performances that took my breath away, and I have been glued to it ever since. NO ONE in the horse world has captured my attention as you have. I watch a lot that is available out in cyberspace and I buy a lot of DVD's. My latest purchase was two of Frank Bell's DVD's yesterday. I am even lacking sleep as I am trying to catch up on all your knowledge and experience you are sharing with us out in cyberspace. I have a one year old son and usually go to bed at 8.30 but now I go to bed at midnight because I need to absorb all the information you are handing out. I read a lot about horses every day on the internet, you stand out! I bought another OTTB two weeks ago which stirred up old wounds but most importantly reignited my passion for thoroughbreds and horses. My partner has become a fan of you and of mine because I found your articles for him to read. He is about to start a breaking in business and soaks up every word you say because he likes your ideas and point of view. I don't know what has happened to him but every time he walks past my computer screen he reads one of your articles and gets all excited. Also he enjoys your larrikin attitude and that you are not afraid of being politically incorrect. We live on 40 acres in Queensland close to Atkinson Dam and he is so happy because he has finally found me after 40 years of searching he says. I am very happy finding him after 20 years in a failing marriage. Internet brought us together. He was doing well in the horse world, then broke his neck in an accident at work in Mackay where he rode off a 40' cliff while being the trail guide for a group of tourists. Almost died and all because his boss had given him the wrong route directions. His dad who was a barrister was alive back then and helped him on to the right people so he got a small pay out and was able to buy this place. Then he just sat here procrastinating for twelve years until I came along. We have a one year old son and my two boys living with us. We all ride and Sunday will be fun day because my partner and the boys will be competing at our pony club gymkhana. We only joined this year. My partner used to compete in the australian championships in tent pegging and is very competitive so this will be very interesting. Also I have two adult girls out doing their own thing studying at universities on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. My partner lives in pain but still wants to pursue his dream and we have set the property up for horse breaking and will start in two months time. Your website has encouraged my partner in his individual thinking and given him plenty of laughs so I thank you for that. I wish you and your wife a long and happy life full of adventures!

What is your recipe to remove sand? We have eleven horses at the moment and a foal on the way. We live on sandy soil and plenty of horses die from sand colic in this area. I did not find that out until my last TB had to be put down. Never even knew what sand colic was. Nobody has ever told me about it. Neither did my partner. It was horrible because I watched my TB eat his breakfast, some top grade lucerne biscuits, through the lounge window. I had just had a baby a few weeks earlier by caesarean and was enjoying looking at my horse because I was waiting to recover to be able to start riding him finally after the pregnancy and turning him into the true blue champion he deserved to become. I had only had him for a year. He was an OTTB and had had some inexperienced owners after his track career. All of a sudden he stopped eating and I knew something was wrong because he loved his tucker. Four hours later he was put a sleep so he would not have to suffer a ruptured bowel. I had rang the vet immediately when I noticed he was crook, they came after one hour, which was too long for him to have a chance, by then his pulse was over 100, we had no remedies at hand on our property, had only walked him and whipped him to stay up and given him 1.5 litres of ginger beer. He was beyond a chance to be saved when the vet arrived, his gums were going red, and still the vet put him through all the traditional remedies like pain killers, oils. We paid 1000 dollars for nothing and even worse he suffered a lot. He now rests six feet under ground. Beautiful horse, looked like a spitting image of Phar Lap and was his descendant. I never thought I was going to get a OTTB again but I have and I am determined to succeed with this one. He has the best ground manners and intelligence I have ever come across in a horse before, is sired by Rubiton, a top class fellow he was. I know TB's are sensitive. I would really appreciate if you let us know what your family does for sand in the gut? I don't think there is anyone else I could ask this question and get an answer in the whole wide world. You have a good day John!

Kind Regards


My pleasure Yola and thanks for your kind words. I am glad to make your Man smile :) I have sent you the information you ask for. Hope all goes well with the Breaking in. Tell him to be careful as we don't want him in any more pain. I know what it is like. Regards



"Feed Hay on the ground in a sand yard and you are booking an appointment down the track with the Vet for Colic"



Don't ever think that a School Master will do it all for you. Many will only go as good as you the new Owner can ride. There are no free lunches in the Horse Industry so don't fool yourself.



Owner goes away for a couple of days. Makes up the hard feeds and wets them down :) Nice and sour, just like vinegar by the next morning and the night, Colic material.







Hi John,

just quick follow up your comment on the standarbred horses, and that it wont be long before we see one competing higher level dressage.

there is already one quite famous horse, who despite the fact that it is not a standarbred, is in fact a trotter. - Balagur - the orlov trotter, ridden by the russan Alexandra Korelova.


quite sucessfuly too..


(if you are still undecided as to where to move from Adelaide, please consider NE Victoria .. - lots of room, great place, great people...)

Thanks Georgina. I saw that one at the Olympics just gone I reckon. Went well too. Thanks for that.


Hi John
If that heat is too much for you - you should move to the South West of W.A. Beautiful weather here, a little wet in winter - but that just makes for really good hay. Around Bunbury would be great. People are really friendly and there is an abundance of wonderful horses. We are in need of a really good trainer (riders and horses) in the area. Do yourself a favour - and us sou'westerners too!!!!!!!!!!!

I stayed there one night two years ago. It was lovely. I can understand how you feel about it. Thanks for the invite :)


Mr and Mrs HP,

Greetings from Chicago Illinois, USA. Just want to tell you how much I appreciate your website and podcasts. I am working (with a trainer) on retraining an older horse in dressage. It is a challenge to say the least. Your information is helpful, straight forward and invaluable. I wish all trainers did the great kind of work that you do.

Best to you,
M Shea

Thanks M. Glad to be of assistance. Best of Luck with your Horse.


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