The Human Struggle with Horsemanship

Many times, whether I am helping a student work with their horse from the ground, there is a bit of an emotional struggle when they are trying to learn new ways of communicating, and the horse is trying to understand the different conversation.

Full Immersion Clinic July 19-21, 2019

Here's YOUR opportunity!!!!

I just had two participant spots that opened up in the Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey Full Immersions Clinic at The Equestrian Center, LLC , LLC in Sandpoint, ID for the July 19-21 session.

What is Alternative Horsemanship? Visit the:

Facebook Page for training and teaching philosophies

Website for details of clinic

Registration to sign up!

These are not "just another horse clinics"- they address so many details and nuances that get skimmed over or missed when folks attend massive participant clinics and don't have the opportunity for personalized instruction.

This is a chance to truly assess yourself, your behaviors, any fears or insecurities. This is a place for you to learn to interpret your horse's thoughts and behaviors and learn life changing tools to create and offer effective communication that diminishes the "drama" in the partnership.

A variety of topics, from anatomical lectures, to demos, to tack fit and usage, to group discussions create a full immersion experience.

Don't miss out. Grab a friend and come join us at a fantastic property with abundant wildlife, epic views, for a fun, safe, non-judgmental learning environment.

Limited on-site hook ups, camping available, nearby BnBs... 15 minutes north America's voted "best" small town!

Pushing versus supporting the horse

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Diffusing Unwanted Horse Movement

Thought I would break down a short clip from a horse that arrived for an assessment. This was taken in the first session.

This particular video is a fantastic example of why most folks don't have accurate or quality steering, and shows so clearly when the brain and body are disconnected, what happens in the physical movement.

Evolving journey of Horsemanship

Some days everything may go as planned and then there are days where nothing seems to be able to be accomplished. My personality is to "will" things to happen, but it has taken a lot of years and intention to realize that wasn't going to work when it came to the horses.

A personal challenge was learning how early I could recognize within ME if there was a horse that was close to the imaginary line of becoming curious and interested in life, versus him mentally bailing and continuing to be defensive towards the human, and to not try to "make" him commit to a change.

Haltering the Horse - Setting the Standard

Haltering the Horse - Setting the Standard

We've talked about how the "ride" begins when you think about going for the ride, and learning to "leave" the reality of daily stresses and demands behind as you show up to be with your horse.

I've mentioned the conversation starts with how your horse approaches you to be caught, whether in a stall or pasture, which is a great time to assess his mental focus and "tells" you what you might need to address before you even catch him.

Today I want to talk about the act of actual haltering. Use this "simple" act as a way to practice being clear and intentional in your haltering which will spill over into all that you ask of your horse.

Haltering is a wonderful time to notice if you are task fixated or quality focused. What does that mean?

If you have a horse that is willing to come over to be caught but dives into the halter, looks away from you as you attempt to slip his nose into the halter, pushes into your personal space as you are doing up the strap, and you allow the horse to do these behaviors, on multiple occasions, you are task fixated.

This means, that your goal is as long as the horse doesn't "leave" (with his feet,) you're willing to accept however he chooses to present himself and interact with you, as long as you can eventually get the halter on.

So if this is the starting point for your "conversation" with the horse, how do you think the horse will respond to you and how much will he address you respectfully if this is how he is approaching initial interaction with you?

What will the leading him, tacking him, mounting him, and ride feel like?

Horses are searching for and offering constant feedback, as that is how they communicate and "survive" in the herd. If they are trying something, such as being disrespectful with their head, avoiding you with their thought, and you do nothing to address this, if your goal is solely to get the halter on, you have set the "tone" or standard for everything else that you will ask of them.

You have unintentionally told them they can ignore you, physically push into you, and dictate how future interaction between the two of you will be.

So by doing this, you are creating "more work" to get your horse to listen and it is the beginning of the "begging" the horse or as many folks do, "working around" the horse.

Seat Bones and Centered-ness in the Saddle-

Many times folks don't realize that they are sitting crooked in the saddle. If they are off-center in the saddle, they tend unintentionally to "grip" or create a brace on the side that they are less connected with the horse. This lack of centered-ness affects the communication, timing in the use of an aid and the quality of the ride.

Critique vs Positive Alternative communication with the horse

One of the themes at a recent clinic in Oahu was discussing a positive alternative vs. a critique in our communication with the horse.

Most riders focus on what they don't want and attempt to "block," drive or reprimand the horse in a moment of unwanted behavior.