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The Secret Ingredient To Horsemanship Is...

Last week, I was talking about how you fit in with the herd dynamic of your horses. As a generalization, I would say that most horses want just to get along, and as long as they feel their well-being is not being threatened, they will take the route of least resistance. What I mean by that is that you will observe that people that have very little to offer the horse in the way of skillset can, for the most part, get along in an easy manner with their horse. Provided they don’t ask too much of their horse and their horse is being asked to do familiar tasks. To be clear, there's nothing wrong with being this kind of rider, but this kind of rider is only capable of getting one kind of result.


I always remind people horses are incredible sentient creatures, but they’re not dogs. They love to eat grass in the field and not be asked for anything. Well, that may be another generalization. You could compare it to saying that most all people are right-handed. But in my experience, both have been true.


Why does this arrangement work so well? Because the horse realizes that if they just go along with what's being asked of them, at some point, they will be left alone. What is this arrangement missing? Leadership, the secret ingredient to horsemanship.



If you are lucky enough to have acquired this sort of easygoing steed that goes along with what you are asking, with no argument and remains willing and relaxed under most conditions, then consider yourself to be lucky. But if your future holds you being involved with many horses, you are going to need some leadership skills.


The person that I have described here will never have a horse operating with any sense of precision and skill. The horse will be a fun mode of transportation, an enjoyable hobby but not much more. Where the shortcoming in this relationship usually shows up is when the rider asks the horse to do something out of their routine that they don't want to do. For example, a common time I see this surface is when you and your horse are walking down the trail with a group. Your horse will be working fine going down the trail within the company of the other horses but try and ask him to ride off in another direction and leave the herd. Would your horse calmly and willfully walk in the opposite direction, trusting that you are all the security that they need?


What does your relationship look like when it's just you, and you don't have the herd dynamic to fall back on? Where you can really see this show up is at a colt-starting clinic. You can have a group of green riders working on starting their horses under saddle in a herd environment many times, you will see some of the young horses get bothered and maybe bolt but only travel far enough to get buddied up with a horse friend and then they’ll calm down, because they are among friends. Once the horse finds stability and comfort with the other colts, he’s fine. But in time, you want him to find that in you.


This scenario works well for starting colts because the herd environment fills in for the limitations of the green riders, and the horse gains confidence working within the support group of the herd. All of the horses are going through a similar experience in the same place and time, so they’re able to regulate themselves better.


But what happens when you take your young horse home and the only support he has is you when he gets bothered? Are you up for the task?


That is why it is so important to develop a herd of two relationships between you and your horse. Not all horses are going to go along with you out of the sense of taking the route of least resistance. Some are going to say, “Who do you think you are to tell me what to do and where to go?” and if you are going to be successful, you are going to need an answer to that question built on consistency, knowledge and some horsemanship skills.



Dude horses used at dude ranches and riding stables understand that if they just plod down the trail with this person on their back, and at the end, they will get a scoop of well-earned grain and be turned out to pasture where they can return to being an unbothered horse. But if you are looking for more than that from your horse, you have to be able to offer more to the horse. In order to get more from the horse. I have said that if we spent 75% of the time working on ourselves and 25% of the time working on our horses, we would both get 100% better!


This is what Cowboy Campus horsemanship is all about. What I strive to do is to share with you the skills that will make you a leader with your horses. Your horses will look at you as someone that has the skills and the ability to lead them and keep them safe. They’ll view you as someone that they can trust and someone they can look to when they feel that they are in potential danger. Horses don't give out this trust to anyone, trust has to be earned and maintained. You need to understand that horses operate in the world of feel and instinct. For you to take president over their intuition, they must respect you, not fear you.


In The Fundamental Horsemanship Course, I show you how to work with your horse so they always look to you as part of the solution and not a part of the problem. When you enroll in The Fundamental Horsemanship Course, you’ll get instant access to 25 modules of horsemanship content. I take the guesswork out of training your horse and make it meaningful and fun. I’m not saying it won’t ever be difficult, but you’ll have my guidance every step of the way.



Not only will you receive horsemanship and training content but also exclusive interviews with our vet & holistic bodyworker. This course enables you to have the best relationship with your horse on all levels. It takes you from frustrated to confident and from scrambled to in control. This is the best way to experience your horse.


But the part of the course that the members love the most is the coaching! I’ll personally help you when issues arise. Leave your questions in the members-only FB group to get personalized direction and assistance from myself! My promise to you is to help you every step of the way.

When you join The Fundamental Horsemanship Course, you’ll receive

🟤 Tailored guidance in our members-only group for course-members

🟤 25 modules of horsemanship and horse training to walk you through the process I use with my horses!

🟤 And bonus content on taking great care of your horse!


You can learn more here → https://www.cowboycampus.com/horsemanship-course


If horses are your passion, what I’m offering you is a journey well worth travelling.


Happy trails,


– KJS


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