10 Advanced Horse Training Tips

If you already own a horse or have been riding for a while, you likely have mastered many of the beginner’s horse training tips. You’ve probably already established a relationship with the horse and have a familiarity with basic maneuvers. You can get the horse to follow you and it doesn’t spook easily. In other words, you have made considerable progress.

That said, there is always more that can be learned-and that’s a great thing about riding and training horses. No matter how much you know, you can always grow and improve your skills and there are plenty of advanced horse training tips that can improve your riding.

Here are 10 advanced horse training techniques. With these advanced horse training tips, you will be expanding your skill set and increasing your riding proficiency:

Stay Consistent – Just because you think your horse is “trained,” it doesn’t mean that your horse knows this. If you have gone through the trouble of training your horse, make sure that you protect those gains by behaving in a consistent manner. Don’t shake the bridle if you are just sitting on your horse talking to friends-it might not know what is going on. Similarly, if you use treats to teach new behaviors-don’t offer treats outside the training context.

Stay Flexible – It’s something that many riders and trainers know, but as soon as you get out on the trail, things change and your otherwise well-behaved horse might do whatever it wants. You need to anticipate this and think of other ways of coaxing your horse to do what you want. It’s an advanced horse training tip that will keep you in control. Moreover, if you pass it along to others-they will thank you.

Horses Are More Aware Than You Think – You should always remember that horses are able to read human emotions and they can quickly detect if something is amiss. If you are upset because you had a bad day at work or got stuck in traffic on the way to ride, there is a good chance that your horse will know. This is problematic because if a horse detects that something isn’t right, it will likely lead to behavior problems. It’s important that you always be calm, cool, and collected around horses-especially when you are training them.

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Keep Your Horse Calm – Not only can a horse detect how you are feeling, a horse also has its own feelings. By nature, they tend to be a bit skittish at times. To that end, just as you must remain calm and collected when training your horse, it’s important to make your horse feel calm. If you watch a good trainer, you will notice they always treat horses with the utmost respect, offer positive reinforcement, and encourage them when they succeed. Therefore, it helps to pet your horse and share kind words. Moreover, spend time outside of just training sessions-it will help to build a strong bond.

Use a Round Pen – A round pen isn’t just a place to practice running in circles-it’s an isolated environment that forces a horse to pay attention to you. The walls minimize distractions and the lack of corners means that there is nowhere for the horse to “hide.” You can use the pen to teach a horse a variety of maneuvers and tricks without distractions-it’s definitely a helpful thing to have.

Keep A Horse From Bucking You – Occasionally, a horse will buck you-it’s an unfortunate reality. But as you grow more experienced, there are several ways you can prevent this. A lot of it goes back to the need to be cool and collected when you are riding. Don’t force moves on your horse, anticipate what you are going to need to do, and glide the horse into them. It also helps to ride in a relaxed manner. But if he does try to buck you, it’s important that you don’t let him-otherwise he is sure to try again. Lean backward and drive your horse forward-this will make it hard for him to buck you. If you must, hold onto his head but pull up-this will also prevent a horse from bucking you.

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Use Clicker Training – Clicker training is an advanced horse training technique that uses a clicker-available at pet stores-to teach a horse something through positive reinforcement. The idea is that you use the clicker to teach the horse that a “click” means a “treat” is coming. Begin by “clicking” and then giving the horse a treat, doing it enough times that the horse starts to get the association between the “click” and the treat. After that, you can use the technique to train a horse. A good way to start is with target training-for example dangling something in front of the horse-and “clicking” and “treating” each time they nudge the target. Over time, this advanced horse training technique can be used for other purposes.

Teach Your Horse To Do A Half Pass – If you have already mastered a full pass, a half pass is a good technique to teach. It will come in handy and teaches obedience. You will want to do this in fenced ring or an arena. You will first want walk in a straight line. Pick a point and have the horse walk towards it. You cue a half pass by pulling the right rein slowly sideways and laying the left hand and rein against the neck. At the same time, apply leg aid behind the cinch on the left side. It will likely take several times to teach the horse and you should always reward your horse with positive encouragement.

Catching a Difficult Horse – Knowing how to catch a difficult horse is something that is good to know and it’s an advanced horse training technique. Some horses seemingly won’t respond to anything, but chances are that they will if you take the right approach. Start visiting the pasture and do a simple chore like mending a fence. This will build familiarity with the horse. Over time, it will likely approach you, at which point you should let it sniff you and then walk away. The key is to subtly show that you are in control. Make several brief visits like this over the course of a day. Eventually if the horse allows you to approach, do something nice for the horse-brush it, pet it, or just talk to it. Over time, you can try to get the horse to stand-at which point you know he is acclimated enough to put a rope on him. It’s important to not get discouraged and to consult additional sources for more ideas.

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Teach Your Horse Tricks – While they won’t improve your riding skills, teaching your horse tricks can be an important means of building a relationship with your horse. You must start small using several sessions per day, but in the end, your horse will learn a number of tricks from smiling to shaking its head to indicate “Yes” or “No.” A helpful guide for teaching your horse tricks can be found on Equusite.com. Over time, this will build a stronger bond that improves your relationship.