Skip to content
Resources for Horse Behavior
Resources for Horse Behavior

When Horses “Shut Down”

A horse owner recently reached out to me asking for guidance with a 3-year-old colt that came to her completely shutdown. His eyes glaze over and he statues-up in response to [any cues] … as
Read More
Pepper watching pasture horses in the background

The Secret Ingredient: Managing the Herd-Bound Horse

At my ranch, we have seven geldings and one mare. When we brought my new foster mare, Truth, in for training the two mares were instantly drawn to each other like magnets. At first, it
Read More
Horse rearing on the lunge line

“Rearing” to Go!

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
Read More

Cultivating a Connection with Horses

Duke was a well-trained gelding, successful in the show ring as a youngster, then ridden extensively in the rugged mountains of Colorado. He was a handsome hunk of muscle, very balanced, always a delight to
Read More
Apple, the horse starring in this episode.

Unspoken Agreements

Is your horse easy to get along with, until you ask him to do something new and different? Or, heaven forbid, something he doesn’t want to do? Perhaps he’s happy to go down the trail
Read More

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,
Read More

Back to Basics (Part 1)

“It’s time to go back to Square One.” This is a phrase we often throw out when a horse has developed undesirable behaviors, or the handler has lost all authority and control of the horse.
Read More

Reward, Reinforcement and Punishment

Horses are intricate and complicated animals and their views and perceptions of the world around them can be quite different from our own. Being prey animals and flight animals, horses are highly sensitive to all
Read More
horses next to each other looking agitated

Did You Teach Your Horse to Kick?

The first time I saw and understood this behavioral dynamic, between a horse and its rider, was about twenty years ago at a clinic for people learning to manage their fear of horses. I’ve seen
Read More

A Devoted Horse

Horses rise or fall to your level of expectation, no matter how high or low. If you think he’s going to spook at something, he generally will. If you think he is going to throw
Read More
Julie riding Annie in the arena

Horses Give More than they Get

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
Read More

Begging for Acceptance

Imagine you’re meeting a blind date at a coffee shop, a setup by your friend who just wouldn’t take no for an answer. Even though you’re not really interested in a relationship right now, you
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Well Behaved: Sensing His Environment

Well Behaved In this 12-part series, top trainer Julie Goodnight helps you de-code your horse’s natural language: his behavior. You’ll learn how and why your horse acts like he does and how to interact in
Read More

Three Common Mistakes that Erode Your Horse’s Trust

Horses know good leadership when they see it because their lives depend upon it. We probably all agree that the ultimate relationship with a horse is one in which the horse looks up to you,
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Avoiding Feed-time Frenzy

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
Read More

A Horse’s Sense of Fairness

“Does my horse have a sense of fairness?” Recently, one of my Interactive Academy members asked me this question—a question that no one has ever asked me during my forty years of teaching people to
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Behavior Bummers

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 
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Horses are Survivors

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Feed-Time Aggression Q & A

Question: Why do some horses feel threatened when it comes to their food, and in return behave in an aggressive way at meal times? What can I do to prevent food-time aggression and stay safe
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

3 Leadership Activities

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Trust Is A Two-Way Street

Trust is an elusive thing, both to give and to get. You cannot force or implore someone to trust you, you can only earn it. If you feel as though you have been wronged by
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Horses Need Horses

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

On The Rail: Teaching Horse Behavior To Youth Q And A

  On the Rail: Teaching Horse Behavior to Youth By Julie Goodnight   Q: Dear Julie, I am a big believer in natural horsemanship and how effective it is to handle horses with an understanding
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

For No Apparent Reason: Learning to understand why horses behave the way they do

When folks tell me about problem behaviors, I hear one phrase often. I admit I’ve even said it myself when I was a young trainer. “For no apparent reason, my horse….” You can fill in
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

The Dish On Discipline

In a perfect world, horses would never bite, kick or misbehave. You know you need to correct your horse, but how do you know what is appropriate or too much “in the moment?” Here, top
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Mind Your Manners

Your actions may encourage your horse’s food aggressive behavior. http://americashorsedaily.com/mind-your-manners/#.VGaJd010xet  
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Stallion-Like Behavior

Hi Julie – This is an unusual question that I haven’t seen addressed thus far. My friends recently bought an 8 y/o paint gelding from a ranch in Okla. Both their trainer and veterinarian observed
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Rehabilitation Behaviour Issues

Question: Hi I have just started to care for a 5 year old Irish Draught x TB – he has a tendon/tendon sheath injury and was about to be put to sleep by his previous
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

When To Geld Colt

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Keeping Focused

Ask Julie Goodnight: What can I do to keep my horse focused when we’re on the trail? Question: Dear Julie, My 6-year-old-AQHA gelding is very focused in the arena, on or off cattle, keeping his
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Does The Lead Horse Participate In Mutual Grooming?

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Gate Sour Behavior

Avoid Gate Sour Behavior… Is your horse gate sour? Does he want to stop at the gate and think he’s headed back to the barn? All horses have this tendency instinctively, and if not handled
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Reason’s For Rearing

Ask Julie Goodnight Question: I was on the Internet searching for info on rearing and found your web site. I have a question I hope you can help with. I have a 6 Yr. old
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Starting Over With A Fractious Horse

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Attacks In Round Pen

Dear Julie, My friend’s paint gelding has started a very unsavory habit. When asked to move out in a round pen at liberty he will do it for a moment, then pins his ears and
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Dominance Rehabilitation

Question: I have a very dominant 9-year-old Tennessee walker. He is very proud, and was abused and starved. I’ve had him for 3 years. I am having problems with him on the ground and in
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Establishing Dominance

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

No Biting Allowed

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Burned Out

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Teach Your Horse To Lower His Head

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Horse Turns Toward Gate And Stops Working

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Nurturing The Try In Your Horse

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
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Horse Behavior: Xenophon: The Art Of Horsemanship

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,
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Horse Behavior: Video Of Fatal Kick

Question Category: Horse Behavior Question: Dear Julie, Thank you for providing such wonderful information. I don’t think any of the other trainers provide anything like it. Also, I really enjoy your TV show and wish
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Horse Behavior: Your horse’s Squeal–What It Means

Question Category: Horse Behavior Question: Dear Julie, I have a 9 year old quarter horse mare that for the most part is a very good horse. She is a pleasure horse that I go camping
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Horse Behavior: Sexy Gelding

Question Category: Horse Behavior Question: Hi Julie, This is an unusual question that I haven’t seen addressed thus far. My friends recently bought an 8 y/o paint gelding from a ranch in Okla. Both their
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Horse Behavior: Raising A Well-Mannered Stallion

Question Category: Horse Behavior Question: I am buying a 3 month old colt that I would like to remain/turn into a stallion. I would like to teach him to be well mannered and to give
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Horse Behavior: Proper Handling Of A Foal

Question Category: Horse Behavior Question: Dear Julie, I recently purchased two Thoroughbred mares, because I want to breed Hunter Under Saddle Quarter Horses and Paints, and am really excited to tell you that I have
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Horse Behavior: New Bucking Behavior

Question Category: Horse Behavior Question: I have a 5-year-old Mustang…she is very docile. Recently she has started bucking when she doesn’t want to do something, like when we work around the cones, or do ring
Read More
JulieGoodnight.com Logo

Horse Behavior: Mutual Grooming

Question Category: Horse Behavior Question: 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
Read More