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Attitude Dos and Don’ts

DO | focus on the ride

DON’T | focus on the result

Horse shows have enough pressure and stress — give yourself a break! Remember it’s not always about winning or losing, how fast you were or how many rails you knocked down. What’s important is how your horse felt and whether you made progress as a team.

Try to focus on the good parts of the ride. Maybe your horse got all the correct leads or really nailed his extended trot…or maybe simply staying on was an accomplishment to be proud of! If you stay in good spirits, your horse will feel your positive attitude and you’ll both feel better about the experience.

DO | challenge yourself

DON’T | get discouraged

We’ve all heard the saying, “if it were easy, everybody would do it.” As riders, we’ve all been through plenty of situations that are far from easy. But challenging yourself is the best, fastest and most rewarding way to improve.

DO | plan ahead

DON’T | worry if things change

Whether you’re thinking about a year-end goal or packing for a horse show, it’s always best to plan ahead. Life with horses can often be as unpredictable as it is rewarding, so being prepared for the things you can expect will make you more able to cope when the unexpected happens. And don’t be upset if everything doesn’t go according to plan — what seems like a disaster might actually be an opportunity.

So next time things get tough, don’t get discouraged. Instead, recognize how brave you are for trying something difficult in the first place and give yourself (and your horse) a pat on the back. And keep in mind, the next time you try it, it’ll be that much easier, and you’ll be that much closer to moving on to bigger, better challenges.

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7 comments on “Attitude Dos and Don’ts
  1. Gread post! Focus, Challenge, and Plan have been added to my added to my “do” list!

  2. This is a great reminder for all of us. If you think your horse “doesn’t like” to do something/”gets bored”/or “is afraid to…” take a minute to examine how you feel about that activity. Our equine partners pick up on and reflect back our emotions. If something isn’t working, go back and work on something that both you and your horse know how to do, and enjoy doing. If you really don’t like a particular style/discipline of riding, look for one that you and your horse enjoy doing more. Sometimes, a quiet trail ride is all you need to clear away the cobwebs, get a new perspective, and get back to enjoying what you were working on, before.

  3. My horse has started to be very difficult to halter, runs away from me and sometimes takes an hour to come to me. I try not to be frustrated or mad at him, but its like a new game to him and hes having fun. Any suggestions? He has always come up to me and then would follow me around everywhere, I didnt need to halter him, unless I was getting ready to ride him. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you.

    • DEBBIE says:


    • Melissa Iozzo says:

      Debi – groundwork groundwork groundwork! Put him in a smaller paddock and approach him with the halter… if he runs away then you PUSH him away! Keep pushing him and chasing him until he starts to realize it’s not so fun anymore! if you see him drop his head (or licking and chewing) or turn to look at you, simply put your hands by your sides and take a step back. He will either turn toward you…or go in the other direction. If he turns toward you take another step back and let him come to you…if he turns away, continue with the chase! Eventually he will learn it’s a hell of alot easier just coming to you and getting his halter put on thean it is to be running around in circles. He will come to you…and if he starts to, then turns, just repeat repeat repeat. Could take 3 minutes…could take 45… but it works… just had my trainer do this with her freshly broke 3 year old. There’s a milliong “natural horsemanship” trainers out there who will teach you similar approaches…the truth of the mater is this is how great men like Tom and Bill Dorrance and old time cowboys have been building their relationships with their mounts on the ground before even attempting to get in the saddle. It really doesn’t matter if you wiggle your thump like parelli or wave a stick or a flag, or anything else like another trainer… the key is that YOU are consistant with whatever meathod / tools you have. horses want to be comfortable…so make him comfortable WITH you and he will want to be with you! good luck!

      • Melissa Iozzo says:

        Lol and never reward negative behavior with treats!! It sure doesn’t work with kids! Just makes them alot more “fresh” 🙂

  4. Leanne Cameron says:

    Debi I agree with Melissa, chase the hindquarters away & the moment the eyes/ears look at you, stop, relax & back up. It could take all day, but your patience will be rewarded. I will add however, don’t think this is the complete answer – there is a reason he doesn’t want to be with you anymore, take time to work out why. Also, don’t always do what you always do … catch, halter, saddle, ride, let him go … this is boring & pressure everytime you interact with him. Spend time doing absolutely nothing: just catch, groom & let him go, or lead him down the road to a big patch of grass, or just sit in his paddock, read a book and if he comes over for a rub then find his itchy spots. You’ll be surprised by his change in attitude. All the best 🙂

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