“Rearing” to Go!

Horse rearing on the lunge line

One of the most memorable episodes of Horse Master for me involved a lovely warmblood mare who developed a rearing problem after a successful run as a show jumper. The sweet and kind mare stood straight up as I mounted her—before I even sat down. Although sometimes rearing can become a learned response or a […]

Does My Horse Like Me?

Julie petting Pepper's neck

Recently I had a question from one of my podcast listeners, Benjamin. He asked: “Many blogs, books and online training resources talk about helping you develop the relationship you always wanted to have with your horse. For example, having him meet you at the gate in the paddocks, etc. This makes me feel perhaps I […]

Back to Basics: Part 2, Square-One in the Riding Arena

When a horse’s training is either lacking or confused, we often talk about going “back to basics.” Last month, I talked about basic training from the ground—and how important it is to have a well-mannered, attentive and cooperative horse on the ground—before moving up to training under-saddle. If being on the ground with the horse […]

Horses Give More than they Get

Julie riding Annie in the arena

When you own horses, and especially if you keep them at home, sometimes it seems like your whole life revolves around doing their bidding—food service, housekeeping, valet service, maintenance. Most people who dream of bringing their horses home (after boarding them forever) are stunned to discover they have even less time to ride. Why? Because […]

Have You Ever Been Kicked?

Have You Ever Been Kicked? Dear Julie: This may be a very odd question, but I was curious how many times have you been kicked or caught in the crossfire in your training career? I’ve been kicked three times, but tonight I got kicked square in the pelvis by a dominant mare who was going […]

Avoiding Feed-time Frenzy

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If you keep your horses at home, you’ve probably already developed a routine that makes your job efficient and keeps the horses happy. But if you are new to this, or are looking for helpful hints to make your horse life easier, I’d like to share with you the ‘tricks of the trade’ that I […]

Behavior Bummers

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Does your trail horse paw, walk off when you mount up, or go at an inconsistent speed? Correct these behavioral woes with these techniques from top trainer/clinician Julie Goodnight. BY JULIE GOODNIGHT WITH HEIDI MELOCCO  Horses behave in the way they’re most motivated to act at the moment. Sometimes, what we might call “bad” behavior […]

Horses are Survivors

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By Julie Goodnight Have you worked with a rescued horse or a horse with abuse in his past? The lessons learned from working with these troubled-but-not-disposable horses are priceless. If you let them, these horses can help us understand horse and human behavior Like humans, horses can carry some heavy emotional and physical pain “baggage’ […]

3 Leadership Activities

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By: Heidi Melocco with Julie Goodnight Top trainer/clinician Julie Goodnight gives you three fun activities designed to enhance the bond you have with your horse and solidify your role as herd leader. During cold winter months, you likely trail ride less frequently than you do in warmer months. You might even turn your horse out […]

Horses Need Horses

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Relationship Fix Series   By Julie Goodnight with Heidi Melocco   Top trainer Julie Goodnight discusses how horses gain a sense of calm and necessary interaction with the herd—and how their time with other horses can benefit your time together.   Horses Need Horses Do you want your horse to be happy, relaxed and ready […]

When To Geld Colt

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Ask Julie Goodnight: When Should You Geld a Colt? Hi Julie, I am planning on buying a yearling stallion. I do want to geld him, but I’m not sure at what age is it ok to geld. Also, is it ok to put a yearling stallion in a field with older horses? Is it true […]

Riding A Spooky Horse

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Ask Julie Goodnight: How Do I Handle Riding A Spooky Horse? Question: Dear Julie, I usually ride some type of warmblooded horse (not exactly sure of the exact type) during riding classes. He’s often very nervous about a certain corner of the riding circle. He was once spooked by a bird, and since that he’s […]

Does The Lead Horse Participate In Mutual Grooming?

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Ask Julie Goodnight: Does the Lead Horse Participate in Mutual Grooming? Dear Julie, First of all, I would like to thank you for your website and the information you share on it. Your Training Library is quite extensive and I am learning so much by reading through your responses. I am new to horsemanship and […]

Starting Over With A Fractious Horse

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In the episode of Horse Master that we aptly called “Starting Over,” we worked with Clare and her horse “Lux” at a farm outside of Portland, Oregon. Our shoot site, Tanz-Pferde Dressage Farms (www.tanz-pferde.com, the name means dancing horses) was a beautiful backdrop. We shot in their new outdoor arena and were surrounded by incredible […]

Why Are Horses So Spooky?

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Question: Why are horses so spooky? Answer: Before we can ever hope to understand, let alone control the movement of a horse, it is important to know the various behaviors that motivate a horse to move in the first place. Being a prey animal means the horse’s first reaction to danger is to run, hell […]

Establishing Dominance

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Question: I tend to be a big softy when it comes to dealing with my horse. Now I have created a horse that knows this and takes advantage of me, especially when doing groundwork. He pushes me and tries to pull me when I am leading. He does not do this to my husband, so […]

No Biting Allowed

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In the Horse Master episode, “Raising Her Right,” I worked with Elaine Shabazian, a longtime horsewoman and Friesian breeder with a farm on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Elaine was recovering from knee surgery and wanted to make sure she was doing all she physically could to prepare her young Friesian filly for an upcoming breed […]

Advance And Retreat

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While shooting a Horse Master episode on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts I was introduced to a woman, Vickie Thurber, who had an accident with her young pinto eventing horse and wanted help introducing “Poco” to new possibly scary stimuli. She wanted to make sure he—and she—knew what to do if he spooked again. In their […]

Burned Out

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This Issue: Burned Out Recently I was a speaker at the PATH International therapeutic riding conference—the annual convention. The crowd was full of hundreds of physical therapists, mental health specialists, therapeutic instructors, horse handlers, side walkers and barn managers that work for therapeutic riding programs. My presentation was on avoiding and resolving burnout in therapy […]

Teach Your Horse To Lower His Head

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Caption: help your horse achieve a low headset and look calm and collected. Riding Right with Julie Goodnight Star Gazer: Teach your horse to lower his head Dear Julie, Do you have any suggestions for helping me set my horse’s head? She’s not too bad at home but at shows she raises her head and […]

Horse Turns Toward Gate And Stops Working

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Common Complaints My horse heads for the gate and stops while we’re working. Follow Julie Goodnight’s advice to teach your horse ignore the gate and work steadily. If your horse thinks turning toward the gate is his cue to slow down, ride with a purpose and direct him straight past the opening. Does your horse […]

Nurturing The Try In Your Horse

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I have lived with and worked with horses for more than half a century. And the older I get, the more appreciation I have for horses and their willingness, generosity and ability to forgive. It never ceases to amaze me how they tolerate some of the crazy things we humans do and how they will […]

Horse Behavior: Xenophon: The Art Of Horsemanship

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Question Category: Horse Behavior Question: Read this historical text that has much in common with today’s natural horsemanship training… Answer: Author: Xenophon Translator: H. G. Dakyns Release Date: August 21, 2008 Produced by John Bickers, and David Widger ON HORSEMANSHIP By Xenophon Translation by H. G. Dakyns Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He […]