Horse Training: Helping the Equine that Bucks & Bolts Build Confidence...

Despite a horse going through the motions of exposure and learning, does not mean that his confidence is increasing, irrelevant of all of his new experiences.

Horse Humor: Interpreting the For Sale Advertisement

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey shares some of the common statements found in horse sales ads and her experience of translating what they mean.

Horse Communication Skills

 Hjalmar learning to "follow a feel."

New Year New Goals- Improving and Evaluating the Equine Relationship

 New Year New Goals- Assessing and Improving the Equine Partnership

This is the week without fail that I start getting "urgent" pleas from horse folks for advice with decisions about whether or not to keep their current horse.

I came with these six GOALS to help equine enthusiasts keep perspective when assessing their horse relationship.

I see so many horse people posting photos and referring to the horse like the animal is an accessory. 

The focus tends to be on the human agenda, rather than addressing the Quality of what THE HUMAN is bringing to the Equine Partnership.

Too many riders are so very quick to critique the horse without ever acknowledging how their own grey-area, inconsistent, unfair communication is influencing the unwanted responses in the equine.

Buying and selling a variety of different horses isn't going to "fix" anything if the person is still unable to recognize, believe, and address horse behavior nor will it improve their skill-set.

Perhaps let's make the GOAL for the upcoming year to focus on improving ourselves rather than blaming the horse.

Horse Help and Advice by Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey

Horse Help and Advice 

I receive daily pleas for help from good-intentioned people who in their attempts to save the troubled, neglected, or abused horse, and are now far in over their head in the responsibility it takes to truly rehabilitate a horse rescued from severe circumstances. 

Unfortunately, as people are "paying" the price financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically, it is the horse who ends up in yet another bad scenario. 

Please seek the help of professionals experienced with all this involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of the horse.

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Avoiding Conflict with the Horse

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series 
*Avoiding Conflict with the Horse 

Many horseback riders and equine enthusiasts try to avoid anything that might bother their horse. Often by evading potentially bothersome situations, it increases the unwillingness and resistance in the horse. These unwanted scenarios add fear and defensiveness diminishing the confidence of both humans and equines. In this video, Sam shares her perspective by breaking down why avoiding conflict contributes to so many unwanted and increasingly dangerous responses in the equine partnership. 

New horse learning videos are added to the series every Friday. Subscribe to the Alternative Horsemanship Channel.

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Horseback Rider Communication and Equine Behavior- the Box- Help by Alternative Horsemanship


First and foremost I developed the concept of "the Box" because I was finding too many people wanting to be polite and kind in the communication with the horse, but were lacking specificity, boundaries, or spatial awareness.

5 Horse Handling and Riding Tips by Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey

When learning or experimenting with a new way of communicating and interacting with the horse, people can unintentionally develop intensity in their facial expression, the tension in their posture, increased energy, and tight movement.
Without meaning to, as a person is trying to mentally assess, process, and physically coordinate their communication with the horse, they may also be conveying unintentional signals to their horse.
This adds unnecessary confusion when attempting to change old patterns in the interaction.

So here's a checklist for My TOP 5 Physical Assessment Opportunities of yourself any time you work with your horse, but especially if you feel out of your "comfort zone."

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Deconstructing the Trained Horse

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series 

*Deconstructing the Trained Horse 

Samantha Harvey discusses the details of how, why, and what creates the obedient and compliant "trained" horse. She addresses the potential dangers of the mentally and physically resistant horse and the reeducation involved in the reawakening of the equine.

Horses, Humans, and the Horsemanship Journey by Alternative Horsemanship...

Horsemanship: Mechanical vs Mental Engagement Webinar


"More leg."

"Outside rein."

"Head up."

"Hands up."

"Sit deep."

"Sit up."

"Sit back."

"Heals down."

Horse Humor Listening to a Horse Rider & Instructor

In this humorous video, Samantha Harvey recreates a variety of excerpts from discussions she has had with students over the years. This video is not limited to trail riders but is relevant to all horseback riding disciplines. There is always a choice between quality horsemanship and hurrying to accomplish the task or goal. 99.9% of unwanted horse behaviors are human-created. If we learn to take the time and prioritize quality, we can accomplish so much more with a mentally available, physically reasonable, and adaptable horse.

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Curious vs. Fearful horse

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series 

*Curious vs. Fearful Horse and Unwanted Behaviors 

Sam is joined in the pasture by a young horse born in the wild. 

She discusses how prioritizing keeping the horse's curiosity versus using Horse Training tactics can create fear as the young horse training progresses. She explains how this influences the horse's future willingness to participate and the reasonableness of his behaviors when doing so.

Weekly episodes, subscribe to the Alternative Horsemanship YouTube Channel to not miss any! #alternativehorsemanship #remotehorsecoach #dearsamhorseseries

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Unrealistic Equine Expectations

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Unreasonable Equine Expectations

Many equine interactions can become quickly frustrating and emotionally overwhelming because of the human's unreasonable "hopefulness" in the interaction. The scenario can quickly escalate causing diminished quality in the interaction and building defensiveness in both the horse and human. Subscribe for weekly episodes and Alternative Horsemanship YouTube videos.

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Empathy vs. Assumptions Video

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey presents Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series 

*Empathy vs. Assumptions 

In this video, Sam discusses how many people are starting in a place of assumption with their horses. This causes humans to not recognize the potential cracks or holes in their equine's educational "foundation." This fundamental misunderstanding leads to a majority of the unwanted scenarios experienced with the horse because the handler or rider is assuming and misinterpreting many equine behaviors. 

Subscribe to the Alternative Horsemanship YouTube Channel for weekly videos.

#Equi-Quality Challenge Day 4: Letting go of "Have to" and offering "We Can"

#Equi-Quality Challenge Day 3- Movement Reflects the Horse's Mental and Emotional State

#Equi-Quality Challenge Day 2- Change Hands to Improve Adaptability

#Equi-Quality Challenge Day 1: Mental Clarity before Critiquing the Horse

#Equi-Quality Horse Challenge Improving the Equine Partnership

Join Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach in the 5-day #Equi-Quality Challenge to improve the Quality of the Equine Partnership.

Each day Sam will share a Daily Tip that you can incorporate into your horsemanship. Join her on INSTAGRAM and participate in each of the day's topics to enter to win a free 1:1 Coaching Session.

Online Horse Behavior and Horsemanship Course by Alternative Horsemanship the Remote Horse Coach

Recent Testimonial:
"Here’s a happy update. I took your multi-part web series on trust last spring and it made all the difference in the world. Seeing you work with other horses was the key for me. I’m not completely there yet, but Sunny is way more trusting. I can call her out of the field, call her over, gently move her around, better control in the round pen, etc. I’ve done a lot of riding in the pasture practicing turns, whoa, and even backing-up. No punishment, just encouragement. She’s good in the pasture even if she can’t see the other horses.

I’ve gotten a few riding tips from friends and am doing better in the saddle. Very little pulling on her mouth. I take long trail rides and her fear level is way down. Yesterday we rode through some tightly spaced trees and had no problems at all. My biggest challenge is to slow her walk on the return trip. Sunny pretty much knows when we’re looping back and that’s when she starts rushing. However, we had a breakthrough on that yesterday. Hardly any rushing on the whole ride. Thank you so much for helping me build this relationship with my horse."
Bill USA 2021
Horsemanship Behavior

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Too much Whoa or Go

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series 

*Too much Whoa or Go 

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach shares her perspective on why only directing or controlling the horse's feet leads to a variety of unwanted behaviors in the horse. She discusses how learning to influence the horse's thought and then movement is a frequently missing piece in the foundation of an equine partnership. 

In-person Learning 
Distance Coaching and online Horse Learning

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Intention- No more Hopefulness...

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Intention- Quality replacing Hopefulness in achieving Goals Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach shares her perspective on how hopeful interactions with the horse lead to potentially dangerous scenarios with the horse and decrease the chances of accomplishing horseback rider goals.

Be sure to subscribe to the Alternative Horsemanship YouTube Channel for weekly episodes.

Horse Travels- Musings on Mishaps and Emergencies Decreasing Stress during Trailer Hauling

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach shares her musings on recent horse trailer travels across the country. She shares her perspective on how to handle the mental stress and anxiety of hauling horses long distances and what to do when unexpected scenarios arise during the travels.

Horse Learning- Patience with the Horse by Alternative Horsemanship

Patience with the Horse

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Getting the most out of Horse Learning

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series 
*Getting the Most out of Horse Lessons and Learning Opportunities 

-The story -Rider Anticipation 
-Ego based instruction 
-Learning as an adult 

Subscribe for weekly episodes and other equine behavior videos on the Alternative Horsemanship YouTube Channel.

Horse Instruction and Coaching- Tips for Equestrian students to learn best?

Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your horse learning experiences.

Horse Transitions- Mental and Physical by Alternative Horsemanship

Horse Transitions - Mental and Physical 

Most horses I meet fall into two categories:

*Fearful or defensive (tight, rigid movement) to go forward

*Hypersensitive and overreacting with fast, fleeing movement 

Over various sessions here are some of what I look to address in re-educating the horse.

Horse offers to be Ridden: Liberty lining up at the mounting block

Uneventful Mounting Rose arrived defensive and anticipative about most things during the human/horse interaction. Saddling her would cause her to get twitchy, tight, and buck like she was in the rodeo. We did a LOT of digging out of her old "coping" patterns and helping her learn to stay mentally present and physically reasonable. There is always a moment where I can feel a horse is ready to mount. This was what it looked like after that moment when Rose was asked to line up at liberty at the block for the first time. For her, the slow, intentional steps are opposite from her rigid, reactive self that first arrived. No treats, nor any driving, or yielding to pressure. Rather an invitation for her to participate. This moment has NOTHING to do with lining up but rather is a reflection of all the previously established "tools" in our Conversations and how we communicate that has meaning to the horse. For many horses, asking them to think first, then move in slow, specific steps almost causes more concern as it counters their natural response to flee when unsure. Soon though you see the levels of concern dissipate as they learn to check-in with the human if the person offers specific supportive communication to the horse. In Rose's case, because so much of her past was about humans attempting to contain her, when I'm reintroducing her being ridden in a thoughtful manner, presenting a scenario like this creates a new experience for her. Did I do this the second ride? No. Every time will be different.

Goodbye Calamity Jane thoughts on Young Horse Education and Interactions...

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey shares her final thoughts on working with young horses such as BLM mustang filly Calamity Jane. She addresses the human mindset and how it affects the quality of the interaction and preparation of the horse for future learning.

Horse Training and Desensitizing: Quit Driving the Horse Nuts by Alternative Horsemanship

Horse Training and Desensitizing Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach discusses the dangers of not believing the horse's fear, defensiveness, and concern and how some training approaches can create dangerous behaviors in the animal. 

Addressing the misconceptions of "making" the horse comply versus teaching the horse how to learn. How "desensitizing" can cause the horse to become mentally defensive and physically dangerous.

Horse Trailer Loading: The Young Horse by Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey

Horse Trailer Loading 

So many people make it a stressful, fearful, and Traumatizing experience for the horse. All from a human-created ego and urgency, often without any preparation in the skills taught to the horse in how to think through, search, and try. I'm sharing the final aspect of teaching BLM mustang filly Calamity Jane about trailer loading. I initially taught her to load and Unload (backing out) with the lead rope to offer specific and clear communication. Then I present the trailer in a new way giving her an Opportunity to be curious about.

Horse Trailer Loading: The Mustang Filly First time on the Lead

Why does offering the horse time matter? If you've been following BLM mustang Calamity Jane's journey you'll have been hearing about her progress from wild to mild. The initial building of clear, specific communication, short and segmented sessions allowed her Time to learn how to think through what is being presented and have a willingness to try and trust... This was the first day I played with her at the trailer. We did a couple of slow approaches, hanging out "thinking in" the trailer, asking for one foot in, then asking her to put it back. Then moved away and did something else as a spatial and mental release from the pressure of the trailer. Then this happened... Imagine if when horses experienced new scenarios it remained this low stress... #alternativeHorsemanship #trailerloading #blmmustang

Young Horse and the First Farrier Experiences

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey recounts the young horse's education of BLM mustang Calamity Jane and the first few farrier learning experiences and Opportunities. 

Explaining how preparation and skills can help make new and unfamiliar scenarios not overwhelming to the young horse and build their confidence. 

Subscribe to the Alternative Horsemanship YouTube Channel for weekly videos in the ask the horse trainer Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series, watch insight in the #tipswithpippin horseback riding series, and enjoy other weekly equine behavior videos. 

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Unrealistic Expectations

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Unreasonable Expectations Subscribe for weekly episodes and Alternative Horsemanship YouTube videos. #alternativehorsemanship #remotehorsecoach #dearsamhorseseries In-person Learning Online Courses and Distance Learning

Misconceptions of Moving the Horse on a a Circle

 Misconceptions of a Circle 

One of the most misused "techniques" I have found is how people present asking the horse to move around a circle. 

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Hyper Alert Horses

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Hyper Alert Horses by Alternative Horsemanship Horses that lack confidence in new scenarios are often hyper-alert... This helps break down the behaviors and postures that indicate the difference between defensive fixation and curiosity in the horse. Subscribe to the channel for new weekly episodes.

Helping the Dangerous, Fearful, Reactive, or Uncatchable Horses

Here's a quick glimpse into just a few of the horses who arrived for help this summer... It isn't about making the horse tolerate the human but instead helping them learn to trust and willingly offer to participate. Most equine rehabilitation or re-education scenarios I have are a result of ego-based human "training" attempts of "making" the horse comply. More often than not, this approach results in unwanted and dangerous scenarios for both the horse and the human. Everything starts with the Quality of how the horse offers to be caught. If it begins with chasing, aggressive human behavior, or the horse having to mentally shut down to tolerate the person, what will the rest of the session look like? #alternativeHorsemanship #RemoteHorseCoach #horsemanship

Pressure and Release Re-Educating Horse that Bucks by Alternative Horsem...

This mare has a history of bucking (and a very traumatic past,) so part of her re-education is to assume nothing and rebuild from the ground up. I thought I'd share a short clip of what preparing a horse to be saddled looks like for me. In this case, I'm looking for feedback from the horse as to what may be triggering her anticipation, physical tension, or mental avoidance. This is the first time we did this. Practice first noticing how many different forms of pressure are being presented. Assess the horse's focus, breathing, movement, the stance at the halt, etc. Watch for how she interacts with my communication. What do you see? Everything is a learning opportunity if you commit to seeing beyond the superficial "obedient goal" and search for quality interactions. **Please do NOT go and randomly try this at home- you and your horse could easily and quickly get into a wreck if you haven't established the fundamentals that go into the "bigger picture."

Horses: Pressure and Reviewing the Release

 Horsemanship: Reviewing The Release

As with everything much left to interpretation when it comes to terminology in association with horses. I try to be clear and precise in the words that I'm offering, but there still can be a gray area in the human student's understanding.

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Car crash vs Bolting Horse

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Car crash vs. Jigging or Rushing Horse Too many folks struggle with fixating on the peak moment of the horse's dress or unwanted behavior rather than addressing the root cause. Learn where you might be missing the initial indicators as to the future potential bolt, jigging, rushing, or other unwanted dramatic behavior in the horse. Be sure to subscribe to the Alternative Horsemanship YouTube channel to not miss new weekly episodes. #alternativeHorsemanship #RemoteHorseCoach #dearsamseries In-person Learning Online Horse Courses and Distance Learning

Horse Tips with Pippin: Willingness to Adapt at the Mounting Block

#tipswithpippin This rescue Haflinger has an unknown past. As I've been re-educating this initially defensive, highly reactive, and distrustful horse, I want to share moments of value that affect all that follows in building his trust, try, and willingness.

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Getting Hurt with Horses

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Getting Hurt with Horses So many human/horse accidents, fear, and trauma can be avoided by trusting yourself to not just do "what everyone else is doing." Sam shares her thoughts on when not to trust the equine professional in order to keep you and your horse safe. Subscribe to the Alternative Horsemanship YouTube channel for weekly episodes and other horse behavior and learning videos.

Ground Work with Horses "Following a Feel" Alternative Horsemanship

 "Following a Feel"

Those words had no value to me all the years I interacted with the horse unintentionally offering continuous tension- on the lead rope, on the rein, in my leg, etc.  There was never any true release of pressure towards the horse (other than during a jump.)

Tacking up the Horse with Quality

Most people never consider how the horse responds to just the sight of tack or notice if there are Quality Conversations while doing so.

Each part of the interaction influences the mental reasonableness and physical softness that follows.

While the norm (often out of convenience) is to tie the horse while tacking, the degree of bother or concern a horse may have while doing so frequently is suppressed.

I suggest practicing tacking the horse without tying him. The goal is not about getting tack on. 

It is an Opportunity to notice how your horse feels about standing while you are moving around him.

It also allows you to observe for things such as:

Does he mentally check out as you go to groom?

Does he pin his ears, shake his head, swish is tail, or display any other defensive behavior as you groom?

Does he step away or backwards when you swing the pad or saddle on?

Does he constantly avoid the tacking by diving down for grass?

When you tighten the cinch or girth does he swing his head at you, try to walk off, back away, etc.?

Does he act differently if you tack from one side versus another?

If you change the location of where your horse is as you tack does he suddenly act differently?

None of this is about the unwanted behaviors. Instead the undesired responses could be an indicator as to potential pain issues, holes in the foundation of the equine partnership, reflection of concern towards the upcoming ride, etc.

If the ride is prefaced with an experience (in this case tacking up) causing the horse to be in a state of anticipation, defensiveness, avoidance, flee, etc. how might that influence everything asked of him during the ride?

There is never a convenient time to address the horse's concerns, but the longer you avoid helping him, he is being taught he is own his own. This will cause him to start taking over and dictating how the interaction will go based on the lack of support, or even criticism from the human.

The horse only has so many subtle, reasonable behaviors to display his fear, concern, or anticipation. If you're not addressing it now, then when?


Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey Radio Interview Quality Converstaions

Let Your Color Out Radio Show host Lindy Lewis interviews Samantha Harvey regarding her philosophies and approaches to improve the Equine Partnership. Topics Include: Containment Critique Making Mental Presence (human and horse) Patterns Goals and so much more. In-person Learning Online Courses & Distance Learning

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series Humans Misinterpret Horse Behavior

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series Humans Misinterpret Horse Behavior Alternative Horsemanship Learn how seemingly cute and encouraged behaviors can lead to dangerous scenarios with the horse. New Episodes uploaded weekly subscribe to the Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey Channel to not miss any. #alternativeHorsemanship #RemoteHorseCoach #dearsamseries In-person Learning Online Courses and Distance Learning

First Outing Leading the Young BLM Mustang Filly by Alternative Horsemanship

After much preparation in first offering her time, then building trust with this BLM mustang yearling filly with her learning to accept being touched, haltered, and led. Then she was finally ready for her first outing and some time in a different pasture.

Pressure & Horses: When do humans believe the horse's dangerous behavior? Tokyo Pentatholon

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach shares her perspective in an open dialogue in response to the world witnessing the unwanted, dramatic, and dangerous scenario in the Tokyo Olympics involving a horse.

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series * Humans, Goldfish, & Horses

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Humans, Goldfish, & Horses New Videos weekly, subscribe to the Alternative Horsemanship YouTube channel to not miss any new episodes!