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

Horses, Pressure, & Tight Spaces I see many people trying to teach the horse new things and feeling like it becomes a chaotic, overwhelming, and potentially fearful experience for both the horse and the human. 

Here are a few tips to help break things down so that the learning becomes quality and clear so the horse can retain the new experience. 

I view training as establishing a common language between human and horse, that has value to the equine. 

Then when expanding the animal's exposure and experience by using clear "language," it becomes confidence-building Opportunities rather than ones leading to defensiveness and fear in the equine. 

When this BLM mustang was adopted after the round-up, she found herself in a home where they attempted to "break her." The elderly gentleman who had her then passed away, and at that point, she was uncatchable and untouchable. When I first met her, from a 100' away if I slightly lifted a finger she would bolt off. It took a lot of time, patience, and helping her reawaken her curiosity, to diminish her fear so that she could start to become mentally available to learn how to learn.

Helping the Highly Reactive Horse with the Remote Horse Coach

Mid-week thoughts... Someone was asking about a highly reactive Thoroughbred and how to fix his spooking issues, even after he had been at a trainer for two months.

Horsemanship Tools- Unintentional Weaponizing Creating Fearful Horses

 Weaponizing Horsemanship "Tools"

"It" has been called a variety of names, has multiple different styles, and in the name of imitation without understanding, so many good intentioned horse people are using "it" in a destructive, aggressive, critical manner teaching the horse fear, flee, containment, and defensiveness.

Dangerous, Dramatic, Reactive, Anticipative, Fearful Horses

 It isn't Convenient

When the horse is...

Resistant to being caught

Constantly pulling when led

Pulls back or gets stressed when tied

Always moving away when trying to tack up

Steps away when trying to mount

Walks off as soon as the rider is in the saddle

Is drifting, bracing, or anticipative when ridden

Takes "awhile" to load into the trailer

Might explode out during the trailer unloading

Is "buddy" or barn "sour"

Has the same "issue" with the same scary spot repeatedly

Offers dramatic behaviors when something unexpected arises

Paws, paces, cribs, weaves, wall kicks, bites while in his enclosure

Is aggressive towards other horses or at feed time

Etc., etc., etc.

Every single unwanted unfortunately common horse behavior above, is a symptom.

Most people try to band-aid the symptom by adding more pressure to the already fearful and defensive equine.

Then one unwanted behavior morphs into another because the root cause was never addressed.

The horse that is left living in a state of constant fear and anticipation because they are defensive toward human interaction leads to mental and physical trauma.

It isn't a matter of "if" they explode, get hurt, or injure the human, but when.

Please stop ignoring the subtle, reasonable behaviors the horse conveys reflecting his fear and defensiveness.

Please start prioritizing slowing down, breaking down the communication to offer short, specific, clear, supportive, and non-critical information that has meaning to the horse.

The horse is not trying to wreck your day, annoy you, psych you out, etc.

The only thing he is trying to do is find a safe space. If every time you show up you bring chaos, distraction, hurried behaviors, anticipation, and unclear communication, what are you teaching him?

To get the Change in the horse, first we must start with the Human.

Dear Sam: Horse Hep *Dangerous Equine Behavior

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach shares how dramatic and dangerous horse behavior is a symptom, how to recognize the initial subtle signs of fear, defensiveness, or anticipation in the equine, and why it matters to address it early, rather than ignoring it and creating the dangerous horse.

 Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Dangerous Equine Behavior

Horseback Riding- Trail Riding Tips to Improve Confidence and Clarity by Alternative Horsemanship

 One of the greatest challenges I have is getting folks to switch from reactive to proactive behavior with their horse.

Although for a majority of people riding is supposed to be a fun outlet or escape from other aspects of their life, it isn't always the romanticized experience that initially inspires most folks to start riding in the first place. But it can quickly become an emotionally frustrating experience when the human has intentions that may not yet be appropriate for their own abilities or that of their horse.
I can't count how many people I meet that seemed to have woken up one day and randomly decided to start doing something with their horse and then wondered why it ended in disaster.

Alternative Horsemanship Full Immersion Clinic August 2022

 Final Full Immersion Horsemanship Clinic? *2 Participant Spots available

I developed the "Full Immersion Clinic" as an opportunity to address a variety of topics with participants learning during both unmounted sessions and while in the saddle.
These safe, fun, and supportive learning opportunities offer an in-depth full immersion experience.
The Friday through Sunday clinics focus on Equine Behavior Assessment, Clear Communication & Effective Aids, Ground Work, and Riding.
We also cover a variety of topics such as equine physio, anatomical riding lectures, tack fit and appropriate usage, "finding a feel" exercises, group discussions, and much more!
Where: The Equestrian Center, LLC Sandpoint ID
When: August 5-7
Auditors Welcome
Click this link for details, participant & auditor registration

Horse Rider MindSet- Caustic Categorizing

How Your Thoughts Influence your Horsemanship

Somewhere in the course of people riding the interaction with the horse became compartmentalized into good and bad, right or wrong.
It comes from a place of human expectation (irrelevant of if it is appropriate or not,) which overshadows the interaction with continuous critical communication.
Approaching the horse as something to "make" comply, when the person's fixation is stuck on the agenda, they miss things like:

Dear Sam: Horse Help *Changing Human Intention Improving Equine Partnership

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *Shifting the Human Intention to Change the Equine Partnership Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach shares the latest advice and storytelling of how shifting the human intention led to a total difference in the equine behavior offered, rebuilding the horse's trust, increasing their confidence, and reawakening their curiosity to try.

Subscribe to the YouTube Channel HERE

Summer Hoofprints & Happenings Newsletter with Alternative Horsemanship


Get the latest scoop on Alternative Horsemanship clinics, the Equine Retreat, new courses added to the video catalog, upcoming clinics in Uruguay and Argentina, and more!
Enjoy the Summer Hoofprints & Happenings Newsletter edition for all the upcoming events, click the Video Catalog for distance learning, or subscribe to YouTube Channel for weekly horse insight.

Horse Help- 6 MisConceptions deteriorating the Equine Partnership

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach shares six misconceptions observed that deteriorate the quality of the equine partnership. Subscribe for weekly horse insight and videos.

Biting, Reactive, Dangerous Horse, or Pain Issues? Equine Ulcers

Bad Behavior or Pain Issues? One common trigger spot I see in equines who have ulcers. This mare has not been ridden or in any form of work for several years. She is often high alert, and small things trigger her insecurity and anticipation, causing her to be emotionally reactive. She does lie down and sleep, but for short periods. She's an IR candidate so the feed is specific, monitored, and offered multiple times per day. Experimenting with common dietary gut soothing supplements like Aloe, GutX 100, ulcer guard, and magnesium oxide have had effect.

Horsemanship Skills: First time Ponying BLM mustang

Ponying the horse can be a great learning opportunity. Before doing so, the "tools" in how you communicate must be established so that they have value to the ponied horse. While ponying the Conversation should be presented through the lead rope, not using the rider's horse to spatially move the ponied equine around. If presented with clarity it can be a wonderful confidence-building opportunity. Subscribe for new videos every Friday.

Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series *The Starting Point

Alternative Horsemanship with Samantha Harvey the Remote Horse Coach shares her perspective and another all new episode in the Dear Sam: Horse Help Horsemanship Series addressing *The Starting Point in the communication with the horse to decrease unwanted equine behaviors and increase their adaptability. Subscribe for new videos every Friday.

4 Horse Rider Tips to improve Equine Partnership

Alternative Horsemanship with SamanthaHarvey the Remote Horse Coach shares these 4 tips to improve the equine partnership.

Unintentional Human Behavior to the Equine Partnership

 Detrimental and hindering things the human often "brings" to a session with the horse...




Lack of Clarity


Lack of Awareness

Mental Distraction



Emotional Chaos





What if the "equine experience" started with first honestly assessing oneself, so that we could be mentally present, emotionally calm, and physically balanced to refine the intention, specificity, and Quality of communication to have thoughtful, two-way Conversations with the horse, rather than screaming matches.

Improving the Equine Partnership by Removing the Containment

 Containment:  physically trying to "stop" an unwanted behavior, which is usually the symptom and not the underlying "issue."

Breathing and Improving the Equine Partnership

 4 Horsemanship Tips

Are you breathing? 

When riders focus they tend to hold their breath. Talk. Tell your horse what you are doing (literally,  it also helps you keep track.) Sing to him or whistle. Anything! 

What is a Release? Horse Help

 Reviewing The Release

As with everything, there are many interpretations when it comes to the terminology associated 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. This often comes from their level of awareness, background, and unintentional anticipation/expectation of their mind "getting ahead" of wherever they are currently at with their horse.

Horsemanship: Why the Release Matters

Definition of "Matter"- Something to be dealt with that needs consideration

Timing Matters

Acknowledgement of the horse trying and searching for what is being asked of him Matters 

The Equine's Feedback Matters

The Human having Empathy for what the horse is experiencing Matters

The Human addressing the horse in a manner that builds the animal's trust Matters

Every moment of the interaction Matters

Quality Commuication Matters

Photo Credit: Unknown