Hoofprints & Happenings Newsletter
Volume 12 Issue II                                                                                        Summer 2019
The Equestrian Center, LLC            Toll Free 866-904-0111            ID 208-265-2644
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Wow... I can't believe summer is almost over. Every year the huge build-up to summer seems so long, and the actual season is so short!

This summer I prioritized an improved daily balance of my time and energies! I spent time working with a limited number of horses from around the country, teaching international students visiting from abroad, offering clinics, writing articles, video marketing development and consulting the influx of Remote Coaching clients.

If you haven't heard, although for years I had been offering distance consultations, I "officially" launched Alternative Horsemanship Remote Horse Coach in February. Take a minute to learn about this fabulous learning opportunity by visiting the all NEW 

Clinics always keep things interesting, this summer included semi-annual 
Full Immersion Clinics here at The Equestrian Center in Sandpoint, Idaho.  New on the schedule was the Horsemanship Masters Clinic at Dillingham Ranch on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. I also returned to the Equine Retreat in Couer d'Alene, Idaho, and squeezed in multiple Individual Private Clinics in Montana, Idaho, Washington & Oregon!

This fall I'll be closing up The Equestrian Center early to begin a whirlwind of horse related adventure, travels, and clinics. After the initial 1,400-mile winter migration south to the Arizona/Mexico border, a few days later I will be boarding a plane...

First stop will be a mini two day Full Immersion Clinic in Coconut Creek, FL at the beginning of October. This is another new edition to the calendar, if you'd like to find out more about that clinic please click
here for the flyer.

Upon returning to Arizona from Florida I will be continuing on to California to Oakzanita Ranch in Descanso. This will be my the 8th year of clinics there! These have evolved from the original single teaching day to six-day long clinics. Though there is usually a waitlist, if you're interested in participating in any of this series (there will be five clinics offered between October 2019 and April 2020,) please click
HERE to email the clinic organizer.

From there the schedule is quite full... If you are in the Yuma proximity, be sure to EMAIL me to get on the limited schedule for lessons. First come, first serve while I am in town throughout the winter months.

In late November, my equine adventures will yet again bring me abroad. Let's see my history has been South America, South Pacific, and now any guesses as to where the next trip "South" will be?

Take care and I look forward to hearing from you and working with you and your horse soon!

P.S. If you would like a daily dose of adventures, humor, and insight, did you know you can now see my pictures on
Instagram, subscribe to my new YouTube channel, sign up for my Blog and follow me on Facebook?
Yes... I have crossed into the abyss of being totally social media committed!
Phone Consultation
Video Assessment & Instruction
Equine Partnership Coaching
Join me for FREE, live Q & A videos!
If you are interested in daily insight whether you are new to learning about my Alternative Horsemanship philosophies, are a long term student, or have enrolled in Remote Coaching,  you can now join me on Facebook in the closed group Alternative Horsemanship for daily training insight and suggestions.

Every Friday I do a LIVE 15-minute video series, #FifteenForFriday, where I discuss a variety of topics including mental approaches and interaction with the horse, breaking down unwanted behaviors and common challenges riders face with the horse and much more. 

If you happen to miss the live version of the videos, you can always review them in the group "Videos" section.
The Horse’s Counter Offer- Eliminating Unwanted Behaviors

Every year I have people who call or email asking for help because of the dramatic and dangerous behaviors they experienced with their horse. From bolting to backing while mounting up, to herd bound aggression, to pulling back when tied to a hitching post or in a horse trailer, each incident led to building anticipation as to when the next traumatic event would occur.

Frequently when horses initially try to tell humans they are having a problem, they are ignored if their behaviors are not intimidating enough to be believed or addressed. A common response is, "Oh he just does that." Horses do not randomly act dramatic; there is always a reason, even if the underlying root cause is not apparent.

If the horse’s small unwanted responses are repeatedly ignored by the human, their mannerisms evolve into increasingly dangerous behavior. People will comment, "All of a sudden he did _________."  In reality, there are always warning signs of a horse’s developing stress, fear, resistance or insecurity beginning perhaps months, weeks, days or hours before the actual unwanted event occurred.

Being a prey animal, horses operate on "fear-based survival.” If unsupported by the human, the horse has to withstand an experience however he deems necessary, which usually involves excessive and fast movement. This leaves the rider apprehensive and at the mercy of the horse’s decisions.

A substantial contributor to unwanted scenarios is due to people misinterpreting horse behavior by filtering their perceptions with human-based emotions. This can cloud their perspective and interactions with the animal and creates a lack of leadership in the partnership. This increases the chance of accidents or overwhelming scenarios for both the human and the horse.

The time to build trust and respect with the horse is not at the pinnacle moment of stress when he is having an emotional, mental and physical meltdown. So how can riders improve the relationship with their horse and decrease unwanted behaviors? A good start is to address both their own and the horse’s interpretation of pressure and timing.

Pressure is a primary way people communicate with horses, whether it is spatial or physical. Riders need to remember to use a sliding scale of energy when interacting with the horse to learn what intensity it takes to receive an acknowledgment.
One basic way to begin assessing the horse's response towards physical pressure can be while standing on the ground; experimenting with drawing the horse forward a step or two just using the lead rope.

If the horse’s response to the direct pressure of the rope is "heavy," if he does nothing, or pulls his head away or downwards, rather than softly stepping forward to create slack in the taut rope, then the concept of how the horse interprets pressure needs to be addressed.

 If defensive or avoidant towards minimal tension in the rope, the resistance from the horse will magnify as more pressure is used to communicate. This leaves the rider without an effective way to influence and support the horse throughout the ride. Whether using the lead rope, rein, seat, or leg, the horse should offer a stress-free, soft and immediate response towards physical pressure.

A superficial quick "fix" riders attempt to use with a resistant or “heavy” horse is the use of severe equipment that gives the illusion of improved physical control of the horse. Tack does not control the horse, his brain does. If the horse’s mental concern towards pressure is ignored, he will respond with an increased defensiveness towards harsher equipment, which is solely designed to physically contain the horse, but not improve his interpretation of pressure.

The first goal is to clarify physical pressure as a positive “tool” when communicating with the horse. This allows a person to influence a horse’s thought, which will then affect his physical behaviors and movement.

Next is learning how to direct the horse’s thought without his entire body moving. This teaches his brain to be clear as to what his “job” is, then to offer specific movement when asked.

Riders are often shocked when they realize the horse is automatically “leading with the hindquarters.” This occurs when the horse offers movement with his rear feet as soon as the reins are picked up, without ever mentally addressing or committing to what the rider has asked. If the horse’s thoughts are not focused on the task at hand, his body has very little chance of offering soft, willing and confident movement through the scenario.

Why does it matter if the horse can address the human’s input, softly look where he is going and adapt his energy? How safe would a person feel driving a car with a loose steering wheel or a gas pedal that only had one speed? Yet people ride 1,000 lb. emotional prey animals with hardly any steering and way too much gas pedal.

Horses continually have “counter-offers” to whatever is asked of them. It is the human’s responsibility to address each thought/behavior the horse offers. Through a process of elimination, the horse can learn how to search until he focuses on the original task. If allowed instead to fixate on his thoughts, the horse will be unable to consider the human’s input.

Timing is another crucial factor that challenges even the most experienced of riders. When asking the horse to do something, if he offers an undesired response, he needs to be addressed immediately. If his unwanted behavior is ignored, a rider is unintentionally teaching the horse to disregard them.

While assessing and refining the ability to influence the horse’s thought and physical response, riders need to remember to offer an acknowledgment towards the horse’s efforts. This can be done by allowing the horse to stand quietly at the halt. Doing so allows the horse time to mentally process the interaction and conversation. It teaches him how to learn and participate in a respectful and confidence-building manner. Practicing these quality “conversations” with the horse diminishes potential future unwanted and dangerous behaviors.
Watch the short video by clicking the quote above.
Topics include:
Less than ideal circumstances can lead to positive opportunities
Avoid fixation on the unwanted in both the horse and human.
There is only ONE (1) weekend left- September 14 & 15, 2019- for Individual Private Clinics at The Equestrian Center in Sandpoint, ID. Take advantage of this intensive opportunity to make advancements in building the partnership with your horse with long term, lasting results! Sign Up

For people who are new to my teaching and training theories, there are many questions and frequently a great deal of pondering and brooding as folks start to question “the way they’ve always done things” with their horses.

An introspective assessment, rather than seeking “answers” by imitating others, frequently leads people to an uncomfortable stage, of not so “pretty” revelations about themselves, behaviors and patterns in their interaction with their horses.

Unfortunately, in our western society, we are often praised for how much we can multi-task, seemingly “accomplishing” more tasks than feasible in a very limited time.

It may appear that individuals are successfully accomplishing multiple tasks, but when it comes down to quality, clarity, and intention when completing those responsibilities, they often are lacking those traits. The difficulty arises when we take a highly sensitive animal like the horse who will “feed” off of our energy and distractions, and we head out to the barn carrying chaos and tension.

Since we no longer rely on horses for survival, most people want to ride or be with their horse and use the experience as an emotional outlet. The problem is horses are highly emotional and sensitive creatures. They also are mirrors to those around them and often reflect what a person “brings” to the interaction.

If folks are rushed, distracted, and stressed from “life” and unintentionally bring their own “baggage” from the daily demands of a job, family, life, etc. to their equine partners, it makes for a less than desirable experience for both participants.

So the next time you are THINKING about going out to spend time with your horse or go for a ride, pause for a moment. Take 10 (I’m not kidding) deep breaths, mentally scanning your body for rigidity, distraction, or tightness. With each exhale, notice if you can start to let go of or compartmentalize other “realities” from your life for an hour or two while you head out to the barn.

Horses are not machines waiting to “serve” a human’s purpose. The horse within seconds of your arrival has assessed where your brain and emotions are. If you aren’t present, neither will he be, leading to a less than quality experience. They can be fantastic partners, but only if offered fair and respectful communication by someone mentally present. Why not spend quality time, rather than “dutiful” time with him?

And trust me, all those “urgent” distractions and daily challenges you have will still be waiting for you when you’re done spending time with your horse. So, leave reality at the door, and literally, give yourself permission to slow down and enjoy the ride!


Private Clinic
August 25 & 26

Private Lessons
Spokane, WA
August 29
Sign Up Now

Private Clinic
September 1 & 2

Private Clinic
September 7 & 8

TEC Closed for the Season
Sept 29, 2019

Florida Mini Full Immersion Clinic
Coconut Creek, FL
October 5 & 6 
Clinic Details
Clinic Sign Up
Auditor Sign Up
Email Questions

Oakzanita Ranch  
Descanso, CA
October 16-21, 2019

Oakzanita Ranch  
Descanso, CA
November 6-11, 2019


Oakzanita Ranch  
Descanso, CA
January 22-27, 2020

Durango, CO Dates TBA
Phoenix, AZ Dates TBA

Oakzanita Ranch  
Descanso, CA
March 4-9, 2020

Oakzanita Ranch  
Descanso, CA
April 1-6, 2020

UPCOMING   Lesson Day 
Private Facility- Spokane, WA 
Thursday, August 29, 2019
Two Spots Left 
 Sign up 


Learning while doing chores

Attention Florida Folks!
October 5-6, Private Facility
Coconut Creek, FL

Only a few Participant Spots remain click link to register.
If you would like to audit, be sure to sign up HERE.

Clinic Questions? Email

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