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



Horse Problems Australia,
Post Office Box 89,
Surrey Downs, SA. 5126.
PH. (61) 0882515250



John O'Leary


I will now attempt to simply explain what is behind all successful training of horses. Brave, aren't I? Here is an example of what works, what doesn't,  what is correct and what is incorrect.

Little Johnny brings his horse up to the back of the horse float because he wants to go to Pony Club. Horsy doesn't really want to go cause he knows he is in for a tough day if he does. He baulks at the back of the float and Johnny produces a carrot from his back pocket. Horsy eats the carrot but refuses to go in the float. Half a bag of carrots later, Johnny and Horsy Bribery and corruption can work but not often. It is not a recognized system of training horses and is not used by professionals in the Industry, no matter which Country it is.

Now, I get a phone call to go to little Johnnie's house. I bring my trusty long whip with me and ask commence tap, tap, tapping on horse's rump. He doesn't like this of course and tries all the usual evasions, swinging left, swinging right, a little rear, running backwards or just pretending that I don't exist and may go away. I don't go away however, I stay with him all the way, tap, tap, tapping. In the end, horsy makes a slight move forward, licks his lips in submission at me and I do possible the most important thing available in the Horse Industry.

GIVE THE HORSE "REWARD & RELIEF" FOR GIVING TO PRESSURE At that very point and from there onwards, the re-education of little Johnnies horse commences and more importantly, the horse has identified the start of the principal of such training.

So, everything that we achieve in the training of horses involves three main things:

  • We apply pressure

  • The horse gives to that pressure

  • We give reward and relief

If you follow those principals throughout your career with horses, you will never be far off the mark. Here then are some other examples :

  • Your horse keeps cutting the corner on your circle work. You put inside leg on but horse refuses to move out. You apply spur, it moves off you leg, you give reward and relief by reverting back to just leg on, your horse has given to pressure and you have given "Reward & Relief"

  • You are leading your horse and it refuses to come through the puddle. You hang on the end of the lead rope and apply pressure to the back of the horses head. In the end the horse will give by moving a little, you give immediate relief, build on that and in the end your horse will walk through the puddle

  • Your horse puts it's head up really high so that you cannot reach to bridle it. It always does this and it is getting worse. You apply downwards pressure on the lead rope, hold that pressure and after a while the horse will move it's head ever so slightly downwards. You give immediate relief and you have commenced re-training your horse correctly.

  • Little Mary rides around at the Pony Club, holding a soft contact on her horses mouth but her horse always has it's head in the air and not down and round like the other girls. Meanwhile, the horse is also building a nice big fat under muscle in the neck. What should Mary do? She should apply more pressure on the reins and make the incorrect head carriage uncomfortable. When the horse bobs its head downwards slightly, Mary should give relief back to original rein pressure, trying to give the horse the identification signal that head up is uncomfortable, head down is much more comfortable. The message is conveyed with the "Give relief in reward for giving to pressure"


So, how does this magical procedure get to achieve all of the marvelous things that professional horse trainers' the World over achieve? The answer is two fold.

  • The ability of a horse owner to get it through their thick head that the horse is as smart as they are

  • The ability of the rider to give "Reward & Relief" the INSTANT the horse makes a try, a give or lightens a little.

  • INSTANT means, immediate, now, a split second, faster than the speed of light!!

Horses do not have a very long memory retention period during training. It is absolutely imperative therefore, that we convey the message to the horse in a way that it can quickly identify what we want.

This then is the difference between professional and amateur riders. We have two things that put us apart from most riders in the world of horses.

  • We can read horses quicker

  • We give "Reward & Relief" quicker and consistently.

During my career, I have watched most people being basically oblivious to the reasons why top riders' and trainers' succeed. The answer is:

TIMING, READING AND RELIEF This translates to people talking horse language and each one of the partnership understanding the other.

So, if you want to succeed in the training of your horse, "read my lips" and follow the principals that I have explained to you here. I guarantee you will never look back.

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"An ordinary Trainer cannot hear a Horse speak, a Good Trainer can, a Great Trainer can hear them whisper and a Top Trainer can HEAR THEM THINK"

"Wear your Heart in your Hands"



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