How I Solved My Horse’s Problem

You describe a training or behavior problem your horse had—and how you fixed it.

My 3-year-old gelding was extremely head-shy when I got him. I bought a small, soft face brush that fit in my hand and brushed his face every single day with it. He soon learned to enjoy—instead of hate—having his face touched.

Credit: Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

Ralynn Vaal, Indiana

Hi-ho, Silver! My mare had learned that when she didn’t want to do something, she could avoid it by rearing. I did the smart thing and signed her up for professional training. I’ve had her 12 years now and she’s been an awesome horse with no bad habits.

Melanie Williams, California

Rasputin, my Appendix Quarter Horse gelding, always rushed into the lope. I read that I should give him his head at the lope depart, and it worked like magic! He strikes off much better now that he’s not worried about being told to “go” and “slow” at the exact same time.

Jennalyn Morris, Georgia

My gelding Chili Pepper used to throw his head nonstop as I was riding. So, every time he tossed his head, I flexed him around in a circle. It wasn’t a quick or easy process, but it worked!

Sadie Gaskins, Florida

Cheri, my Paint mare, used to step off just as I’d settle into the saddle at mounting. Then I started a routine where I always checked my position plus planned what I wanted to do before letting her take even one step. Now she assumes I’ll be doing a “systems check” and so stands still and waits until I cluck and squeeze.

Tiffany Benson, Texas

I couldn’t get feed into my Appaloosa gelding’s feeder because his head was always in the way. I began saying, “Head back!” in a commanding way, then waiting as long as it took for him to pull his head in before I’d dump in his feed. I was amazed at how quickly he changed his behavior, once I was both insistent and consistent.

Barbara Martinez, California

Chance, my draft-cross gelding, stumbled a lot even after I had him vet-checked and declared sound. My farrier suggested I start riding with mild spurs, and to collect him up a bit. I did that and it’s really made a difference.

Raylene Lindeman, Oklahoma

All my horses would strew their grass hay around as if it were straw. I put in slow-feed nets and the problem was solved, plus my horses take longer to finish eating—another good thing.

Taylor Andrews, Ohio

My Paint horse has a pink nose and got quite sunburnt early last summer. I found you can use aloe vera on the burn to soothe the pain, plus generic sunblock to prevent it.

Evelyn Gilbreath, Missouri

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