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How to deal with a nippy, pushy horse?

When we start training a horse, especially from the ground, we guide our horse’s head:

  • We lead our horse our horse from A to B
  • Turn left
  • Turn right
  • We ask for forward down at a standstill
  • We ask for circles on the longe line
  • We teach him the laterals in hand

Now in all these situations, we need to avoid:

❌too much pressure
❌too long pressure
❌too often pressure
❌sudden pressure
❌steady pressure

Because these kinds of pressure might trigger the following:

⛔ Our horse goes in the opposite direction, and in a state of ‘flight‘.

⛔ Our horse goes against the pressure, and gets in a state of ‘fight‘.

⛔ Our horse ignores the pressure, and gets in a state of ‘freeze‘.

As a result we end up in a push/pull contest or a nipping/biting game!

Now don’t think it’s the horse’s fault…

Don’t settle for the thought ‘it’s just the way he is’…

Don’t label him as ‘dominant’…

we just need to change our approach !

Because if we use pressure in a disempowering way, our horse’s mind gets occupied with two things:

How to avoid the pressure.

How to get rid of it.

That’s just how his instinct works!

And once we trigger that instinct, we trigger his ‘survival’ brain…

And then his reptilian brain takes over…

And once he is in a more or less instinctual frame of mind, he will not think about our actual request!

So he will NOT think about

– the exercise
– the movement
– or the behavior he has to do.

Therefore, we have to make sure to make it a #1 priority to refine our pressure/release technique.

Timing and dosing are key in avoiding an instinctual ‘opposed’ state!

Releasing in time will keep your horse in a ‘thinking frame of mind‘.

By releasing early, often, quickly, long and soon, our horse starts to figure out what we want and work together with us.

And we have to remember this:

It’s well timed and well-dosed pressure that will ‘teach’ a horse something – from the outside in.

But it’s our release that allows our horse to really understand and ‘learn’ the new exercise, behavior, movement – from the inside out.

Plus, when we combine our release, with a reward and a moment of relaxation, well that’s the most powerful reinforcement triad – RRR – you can imagine.

Get 14 Transformation Tips

Now those tips about release, reward, relax are just a few tips on how to prevent and eliminate nippy and pushy behavior.

But in the Mastery Entry Course you’ll find 14 transformation tips on how to turn things around and change things for the better:






2 thoughts on “How to deal with a nippy, pushy horse?

Comment author said

By Sarah Konst on 2 April 2018 at 02:17

I’m a mastery student already but this link is for purchasing the course. I don’t see here anywhere to access the information on “How to deal with a nippy, pushy horse”. It said this was a new module but where is it? Please let me know how to get there! Thank-you Kindly.


Comment author said

By Marijke de Jong on 2 April 2018 at 21:50

It’s in Module 3.13.1 Sarah, see also the Members group, we’ll tag you there! 🙂


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