My Philosophy

It seems right that if I am to share my views on horses and their training I first explain my philosophy about horse training. I don’t follow a particular method or school. My education was eclectic, with horses being my most important teachers. I have gone down some roads I quickly abandoned, and have stayed well away from others – because the welfare of the horse was clearly not at the center of those methods.

I was ‘lucky’ to fall in love with a physically and emotionally damaged mare when I was quite young. While adults around me attempted multiple ways to make Delight conform, I saw pain and fear that deserved attention. I owe an eternal debt to that sweet little mare for teaching me how far you can get if you recognize and remove pain and fear from the equation. I learned from her how trusting and affectionate a horse can become. And, sadly, I learned how tragically a horse’s life can end when they are not valued.

I have since had numerous equine ‘teachers’ – each with their own lesson to teach. Some lessons were more profound than others – but every horse has taught me something. You will find profiles of the most significant ‘teachers’ (as well as our current herd) on the Meet the Herd page.

Delight and the 10 year old me

What I have learned from nearly a half century of living with horses comes down to these principles:

  1. First, do no harm
  2. ABCs before essays
  3. Toolbox over technique
  4. Tear up the agenda!

For me it is far less about a specific method, school, or fancy named ‘style’ of training. If it accommodates the needs of specific horse, causes no negative emotional or physical effects, and creates a horse who is more beautiful in conformation and gait while easily carrying the rider through their activities, then it’s fine by me. Depending upon your outlook, that may be a simple formula – or a very high bar.

It is my intent with this site and blog to explore those methods that do, and do not, meet my criteria. I also hope to help those of you who would like to more easily identify a horse who is happy in his work from one who is not. Ultimately that is what matters most in my book!