There are no magic fixes for horse problems

Dangerous horse
This three-year-old gelding has had very little handling and started out very nervous and worried about things.

Day by day I receive emails from people who find themselves having issues with their horses. I’m certain a lot of folks assume there’ll be a magic fix for his or her particular problem.   

Here is an example:

“My horse was good however, now he kicks up, bucks, rears, runs home (you name it). How can I overcome this?”

If only it had been that easy. If your horse “was once good” and has lately began playing up, it doesn’t mean that there’s one thing wrong with him. It doesn’t mean that your horse is stupid or has a physical problem or doesn’t “respect” you. It merely implies that you’ve taught him to use unwanted behaviours to alleviate stress. By permitting these behaviours, you’ve taught your horse to do things that you simply don’t need him to do … Yes, it’s your fault.

That is very unpalatable to hear. Most people suppose it couldn’t possibly be something that they’ve done. They assume there should be something wrong with their horse. If somebody could simply “repair” the horse, everything can be back to normal.

Perhaps a trainer can improve the horse but when the owner doesn’t have the required ability, the horse will quickly revert to the undesirable behaviour. It’s up to everybody to try to improve their horse handling and riding skills and to blame themselves when things go wrong.

Horses learn very quickly. They’ll learn to be confident and relaxed or they will learn to be nervous and frightened. They’ll learn to co-operate and do as you ask or they’ll learn to use undesirable behaviours to do their own thing.

Handling a young horse
He’s taking the first steps to being started under saddle and is progressing nicely with each lesson.

Right here’s one other instance:

“My new horse has been badly handled by his previous owners. I’m attempting to calm him however, after six months he’s still nervous and snorting and taking fright. Are you able to tell me methods to re-programme him?”

Most people don’t realise that you need a huge amount of ability and expertise to deal with problem horses. And most of the people don’t realise that they’re placing themselves in danger by making an attempt to deal with and ride horses which are nervous and frightened.

This is especially true when inexperienced folks try to deal with or ride a horse that’s nervous and frightened. Many individuals write to say that they’re attempting to “calm” an older horse that’s been badly handled. Quite a lot of these people are clearly inexperienced and I always advise them to seek professional help.

It’s very tough to overcome the fears of a frightened 4 or 5 year old horse. And the older the horse, the tougher it is. No matter what anybody tells you, no-one can erase a horse’s memory. No-one can make any horse forget bad experiences and no-one can re-programme a horse.

A nervous, frightened horse can be improved and may go along fine for months on end. Nonetheless, when things go wrong, the horse will remember being frightened. His earlier dangerous experiences will instantly come to the forefront of his mind and he’ll react within the manner he’s learned. He’ll kick or strike or buck or rear or rush off.

I do know everybody loves their horse however, your safety should be the most important issue.  For those who’re having issues, seek help before it’s too late. If you think you’re out of your depth then in all probability you are. By no means attempt to deal with or ride any horse that’s unreliable or dangerous. And keep in mind, there aren’t any magic fixes for horse problems.

Calm young horse
Horses learn very quickly. They can learn to be confident and relaxed, as this youngster quickly did, or they can learn to be nervous and frightened.


Neil Davies Horse HandleNeil Davies began training horses full-time in 1977. Over the next 15 years, he started more than a thousand horses under saddle and trained thousands of so-called ‘problem’ horses. read more]

He is the author of Fear-free Horse Training – every step of the way.

Go to Neil’s web site at

Supply: There are no magic fixes for horse problems