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Riding and training should be fun! There may always be moments where it feels easy to become frustrated with yourself or your horse, but when those times do happen, come back to these three keys to find the joy again!


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29 Responses

  1. Callie, you always make me feel good. There’s so much “learning” on the internet that sometimes it becomes uncomfortable. “Do this, do that.” But especially when coming back to riding after a long time, it’s nice to settle into what feels right for me and my horse. Just realizing we aren’t constrained by any particular means or methodology, but can listen to one another with the goal of simply growing and enjoying, is awesome.

  2. Enjoyed the points you made. Took up clicker training about 8 years ago and it opened so many new opportunities to learn new stuff and to go back and do stuff we knew with much more finesse. Currently we do monthly Horse Agility competitions via internet, giving us an interesting new focus every four weeks.

    1. Hi Hertha,

      The online horse agility competitions sound like a lot of fun! Is there an organization that you do these through? Also, I love your website! I saw this quote on the bottom and wanted to share it here, hope you don’t mind!

      Every outing with a horse should be a party. Who likes a party without food? Cynthia Royal (courtesy of Hertha’s website

    2. Hi Callie,
      Horse Agility online competitions are organized by Vanessa Bee in England. The link is: They are a great way for non-riders to keep motivated and moving on with training challenges.
      Thank you for your comments on my website. Always appreciated. I’m sure Cynthia Royal wouldn’t mind her quote being used and I certainly don’t mind.
      I have a clicker training development series on YouTube called: HorseGym with Boots. I believe it can be found by putting that title into the YouTube search engine, or searching for HerthaMuddyHorse.
      I’ve been delighted in the way you are making positive reinforcement a part of your overall training package.

      1. Hertha – I am really excited to see you do horse agillity. I will visit your website in greater detail later (it’s really late for me right now). I am also a fan of Vanessa Bee and I have her book 3 Minute Horsemanship and LOVE it! Between Callie and Bee, I have learned loads about horse training and have had some remarkable results! I, too, am very glad for postive reinforcement incorporated into the training. I have seen where wrangling just doesn’t work. Note to Callie – When I was researching horses and trying to get some idea on how to train them, I found your videos and loved (still love) your positive, gentle attitude! Being a novice trainier, I want to let you know that using what I’ve learned on your videos (and Bee’s book, too) I have had some fantatstic results. Thanks ever so much!!

        1. Connie,
          Did you find the website that has the Insulated Horse Bucket Holders?
          High Country Plastics (208-455-8611) has them, but they are more expensive than Jeffers.
          Oh, I just wanted to comment that I also have Vanessa Bee’s book “3 Minute Horsemanship” and haven’t yet finished it but LOVE it too! Good luck with your horse endeavors! It would be fun to keep in touch with one another.
          Judy Weinmann

  3. Great points on keeping riding fun and training too!! I think you are exactly correct about the benefits of positive reinforcement, and I am surprised that more horse trainers and riders have not incorporated positive reinforcement as much as they should. I am trying it at the barn, including treats, and it seems to be making a difference. One other point I would add is that riding and training like any other sport require practice and patience. I know I have made a lot of progress since I started riding again last January. Although I am not yet the rider I want to be, I have made progress and I continue to make progress. I try and remind myself of that when I feel a bit disappointed…..Practice and Patience!! Thanks Callie for making riding and training fun, safe, and interesting!! Nancy

  4. Hi Callie. I enjoy your videos very much. I have come to riding as an older adult. I bought a seven year old cob type who has been used for hacking and as a lesiure horse. He is quite inquisitive but in the past when he has become worried he has spun and turned to run. It makes me a bit nervous and I know that doesn’t help him. I am not keen to do clicker training with him as he gets very pushy and nippy if given treats by hand. Can you recommend anything to help us.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Jackie,
      The spinning and running can be a very normal reaction for horses. One handling or riding skill is learning to keep them straight, so you can encourage an investigation of the scary thing (or at least avoid a bolting horse). If this happens when you are riding, think about sitting back and keeping his head and neck straight. As far as the clicker training issue, some horses certainly take more work than others to learn good behavior around food. You may be choosy with which situations you use food rewards in the beginning, but I believe that all horses can learn good manners around food, although some will always get more excited than others. Here is a video where I worked with a horse who has very mouthy and I showed how to start giving treats to him teaching him head away and soft lips. Here is the link:

      1. Hello Callie,
        Thank you very much for your reply. In watching your video with Jellybean I recognise some of those behaviours with my horse too. The video and explanation was very informative and I will certainly use it in my work with him.
        I try to copy your patience and understanding when working with my horse, but I still have a lot to learn 🙂

        Thank you

  5. Thanks Callie!
    So true!!!! It’s important to keep the motivation positive. I’m not sure yet what Sunshine likes most but we are working together well right now. I can’t wait to go see her today!!!!

  6. Your timing on this video was perfect for me. I have just recently made the decision to find a different riding instructor. I have been frustrated with my progress during the past 6 months or so and have had personality clashes with my teacher to the point where I’m tired of being dressed down all the time. Hopefully, my search will be successful. Thanks for your insight.

  7. Great points thank you, I have done clicker training with my pony , and also as he’s not a real fan of his stable I cut up slices of carrot or Swede or Apple and hide it in the hay that’s in his tub and also in his net , he loves to hunt for the pieces of food and it takes his mind off being grumpy he’s in and then he usually settles down .
    He also enjoys a good massage or a scratching session.
    Thanks as always for your brilliant blog x

  8. Callie – Your information is spot on! Our horses can sometimes “get in a rut” just like people. They may get bored with their work (or lack of work) and look for ways to entertain themselves (usually by pulling halters and lead ropes off of hooks when they get a chance.. at least that is what our Percheron X does). While horses like routine (mmm… just like people), ours seem to enjoy some “different” things now and then.. whether it’s a hand-walk in a different area they’ve not been to before, a good scratching session, or playing with a new toy. Good for both horse and rider! Thanks for your great wisdom!

  9. My mare a TB Hanovarian cross has always been mouthy. So I put it to use. When we tack up she gets to pick up her halter and lead rope from the ground and pass it to me.
    PS great video on ground tying.

    1. Hi Phil, I love this! What a great idea to change unwanted behavior into something fun and useful!

  10. I love your videos Callie and I just wanted to share how excited I was to see your how to book on Kindle Unlimited. Yah!!

  11. Hi Callie and thanks for your helpful videos.
    I have a 7yo off the track TB mare, had her for a few months, she did a bit before that but not much. I am making a very slow progress with her, which is fine as I am learning to slow down with expectations. I stopped riding her for now and wanting to focus on our relationship and communication. She doesn’t want to be ridden and I dont want to force it, I want her to enjoy it. But I also want her to be fit, so i lunge her and work her in the roundpen. We do make progress, but I still feel it’s always me asking her to do things she doesn’t want, even just to be brushed. Her rewards are breaks and stroking her forehead, which she loves. My question is, how do I make the work more fun for her, apart from the reward. I dont want her just going in circles, but I dont want to ride her too soon either. Any advice?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Tamar, have you had her physically evaluated by a vet to make sure she is physically sound for riding? That might be the cause of some of the problems you are experiencing with her!

      – Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

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