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The Good Shepherd Ranch, LLC.

~Guaranteed Trail & Driving Horses~

(520) 990-2041

[email protected] 

Training Advice, tips & help





If you want more details on reasons for Ground work please look to the left under Care Advice for all.

There you will find more education on Ground work.

Herd Bound Horse - Part 1

Article by: Francesca Alliman

Well, we have all had to deal with it. The herd bound/buddy sour horse. Unfortunately horses are pre programmed with that instinct & they will all fall in that habit if we let them. So we has humans need to re program & take over this instinct. There are ways around the herd bound horse, but it takes a little tuneing once in a while. Horses are not the set them & forget them type. NEVER!

The first & best thing to do by starting with teaching your horse a one rein stop. This is easy & we can help if you would like. Also Clinton Anderson has some great training material for this. You can look him up at

Second make your horse stand tied away from/out of sight of the other horses until he is standing quiet, make this a regular practice.

Third, start with some ground work. Take the edge off prior to your ride. DONT BE AFRAID TO MAKE HIM SWEAT. Drip some of the defiance out of him first!

Forth, hit the trails, then work by separating from the group. If your horse goes crazy at first keep your cool, practice the one rein stop & if things are escalating turn back for home, but don't go all the way home. Get a good ways from the group & then head back for the group, if your horse insist on catching up still & you can gallop, gallop your horse to the group. But here is the trick, when you get to the group don't let your horse stop, oh no! Keep going far past the group, do this a few times & he will be begging you to stand or walk even if the group gets out of sight.

Do this on each ride until your horse completely doesn't care anymore. Now once he is confident with a group split make it good practice to get out of sight.

This is all advice, we are not responsible for anything going wrong. The best thing to do is seek professional help for effective training. We can & would be very happy to help. Don't give up on your horse until you feel you have tried, if you have lost all confidence let us help you & your horse together. Sure you can sell your horse, possibly trade but the next horse will probably do the same. So the change needs to begin with you. Just a little knowledge will go a long ways!


Horses are very smart, but they are simple creatures. I put horses mentally in the same age group as six year old kids. Six year olds are very smart, they catch on quickly, but they are very simple. For example, I get people asking me all the time when teaching a horse the Cruising Lesson that shouldn’t I be worried he’s on the wrong lead? That he has his head in the air? No, I’m not. The horse has been loping around in the pasture on the wrong lead all his life; cantering around on a loose rein for three days isn’t going to hurt him. First he has to learn maintain the speed and direction I set him at, and then we can work on leads. Don’t get hung up on the details initially. Keep it basic. When you keep it simple, horses progress very quickly.

Also keep in mind you can’t teach a horse fifteen lessons all in the same day and expect him to remember them all and do well. You don’t teach a kid the alphabet, how to write, how to spell his name, write a sentence and read all in the same session. First you teach him the alphabet and when he’s good at that, then you move on. When you take your time and build on each lesson, they catch on quickly. But if you confuse them by throwing too much information at them, they shut down on you. Your horse is the same way. You have to break the information down for him so that he understands what you’re asking him to do.

*Article provided by Down Under horsemanship*


Establish a foundation before taking your horse on the trail

A horse has to be respectful, calm and using the thinking side of his brain in the arena (or a controlled environment) before he will behave the same on the trail. If you can’t walk, trot and canter your horse on a loose rein and bend and soften him in an arena, you won’t be able to do it out on the trail either. The lack of control you have of your horse in the arena will get worse when you take him outside.

Most trail problems are a result of a hole in the horse’s foundation that happens to be showing up when the horse is taken out on a trail ride. Before you venture out on a trail ride, have your horse listening to you in the arena first so that you’ll have the tools you’ll need if he misbehaves on the trail.

*Article provided by Down Under horsemanship*

Mouthy Horse Tip -

Prevention is better

than cure

The best way to handle a horse that gets mouthy is to never let the problem develop in the first place. Horses that get mouthy are often bored and looking for attention. The more you work with your horse, moving his feet forwards, backwards, left and right, the more he’ll use the thinking side of his brain and the more respectful he’ll get. A horse that respects your space doesn’t lip on you; he stays out of your personal hula hoop space unless you invite him in. You also need to be careful that you’re not encouraging the horse to be mouthy. People often make this mistake with young horses like foals and weanlings. Because they’re small, they allow the foal to nuzzle them, play with their shirt, etc. Then when the foal grows up to be a 1,200-pound pushy, disrespectful horse, they wonder where they went wrong.

Don’t wait until the horse gets mouthy to do the groundwork; start earning his respect and attention before a problem shows up. I personally never lead my horses to where I’m going. Instead, I back them up, practice sidepassing, do the C-Pattern, etc., moving their feet forwards, backwards, left and right. I never waste an opportunity to teach my horses something. The busier you keep a horse’s feet and the more you keep him mentally stimulated, the less mouthy he will be. Remember, horses that are mouthy are searching for interaction, so give them your attention by moving their feet.

**Article provided by Down Under horsemanship**

Review and build on the exercises you teach your horse each day.

Every day that you work with your horse, review the previous day’s lessons before teaching him something new. The exercises in the Method are set in a specific order to get the best results. Each exercise builds off the other; if you skip one or the horse doesn’t wholly understand how to do an exercise, you’re guaranteed to run into a roadblock later on. While there’s no shame in trying something new, realizing your horse doesn’t understand what you’re asking of him and going back a few steps, you always want to set your horse up for success. Take the time that it takes to make sure your horse understands each exercise before teaching him a new one.

**Article provided by Down Under Horsemanship**

Training Tip:

Don’t approach a hard-to-catch horse like a predator:

A common mistake I see a lot of people make when trying to catch their horse is approaching the horse like a predator. They grab the halter and lead rope and try to walk straight up to the horse. Sounds simple enough, but to the horse you’re a predator coming straight toward him. He’s not going to wait around and think about the situation because Mother Nature is telling him to run! Horses always run first and think later. To seem less threatening to the horse and less like a predator, look at the ground and walk back and forth in front of him, gradually getting closer with each pass. Act like the horse isn’t even there - you’re just looking for your lost keys on the ground. Instead of the horse walking away from you, he’s going to think you’re half crazy walking away from him. You may have to start walking back and forth 50 feet away from him depending on how severe his catching problem is, but it doesn’t matter where you start as long as you find a starting point. As you’re walking back and forth in front of the horse, keep a steady pace, not going too fast or too slow. When you get up to the horse, hold your hand out and let him smell it and then retreat and walk away. Repeat the process, letting him smell your hand and then retreating. Any time the horse looks at you or follows you, turn and walk away from him. If you repeat that process three or four times in a row, you’ll soon be able to halter your horse.

**Article provided by Down Under Horsemanship** 

Avoid being sneaky

when desensitizing

your horse

Most people fail when it comes to desensitizing their horses to scary objects because they're sneaky and overly cautious. They slowly walk up to the horse with the object hidden behind their back, and then very carefully try to touch the horse with it. Of course the horse gets scared and moves away because he assumes that if you're being cautious, you must have a reason. I have a saying, "Heart attacks are free, so give one to your horse." Or, in other words, don't tip-toe around your horse and be afraid to scare him. In reality, trying to protect your horse from objects he's scared of only makes the situation worse. As a trainer, your goal is to desensitize your horse to as many objects that move and make a noise as you can. You can't get that done if you're afraid to scare him. When I'm desensitizing a horse, if he wants to get scared, that's fine by me. Heart attacks are free. As long as I'm in a safe position, I don't care if he has a heart attack.

***Article provided by Down Under Horsemanship***

Mistakes are natural:

No matter who you are or how hard you try, you will make mistakes as you travel the journey to better horsemanship. But if you can recognize that mistakes are normal and everybody makes them, you’ll realize that you’re not hopeless. I’ll be the first to say that I’ve made lots of mistakes in my career. Early on, I wrecked a few horses by overtraining them or not paying attention, but I learned from those experiences and I’ve never made those mistakes again. Any great horseman who says he hasn’t made mistakes and wrecked a good horse or two is lying. To be really good with horses, you’ve got to have desire and passion and a work ethic that almost makes you make mistakes - just because you’re trying so hard! So acknowledge the fact that you will make mistakes, you’ll learn from them and then let yourself move on. That’s the great thing about horses. They’re such forgiving creatures that if you make mistakes, they’ll forgive you and let you correct those mistakes.

**Article provided by Down Under horsemanship**

 Rearing horse tip:

Do the opposite of what he wants to do!

If your horse is rearing because he doesn’t want to go somewhere, use a little reverse psychology on him. Don’t think, "How can I make the horse move?" Think, "How can I make it uncomfortable for him not to go the direction that I want?" You’ll do that by working the horse hard wherever he wants to be and letting him rest and relax where he doesn’t want to be.

For example, if the horse tries to rear up when you go to ride him away from the barn, work him hard at the barn. Using one rein to direct him, hustle his feet. You can do a lot of serpentines by bending the horse with your left hand and left leg, or going the opposite way, your right hand and right leg. Rollbacks, cantering the horse off, bringing him to a stop and rolling him over his hocks to change directions are also a great exercise in this situation. But in reality, it doesn’t really matter how you move the horse as long as you hustle his feet and are constantly changing directions. The more times a horse changes directions, the more he has to think and pay attention to you.

Tip provided by:

Clinton Anderson

Tighten Your Girth in 3 stages:

While there’s no golden rule for how tight you should cinch your horse, remember that you should tighten it in stages. The first time I cinch the horse snugly, but I don’t cut him in half. I want to give him a chance to warm up and get comfortable before I really cinch him up. I’ll do groundwork for about 5 minutes, and then I’ll check the girth and tighten it a little more. I’ll do groundwork again for 5 to 10 minutes and then I’ll tighten my girth for the third time.

The third time I do the cinch up, I really do it up tight. You may have heard me tell a joke about this on tour. I often say that when I tighten a girth up, I tighten is so tight the horse’s eyes roll back in his head. Even though that’s obviously a joke, I really do make it a point to do girths up snugly.

When the horse is warmed up and mentally ready, I’m not afraid to cinch him up tight. The reality is most people don’t tighten the cinch up nearly enough. This isn’t just careless - it’s dangerous. When a saddle slips under a horse’s belly, whoever’s riding him is going to end up in a massive wreck. If you’ve warmed your horse up and given him time to get used to the saddle before really cinching him up tight, you should be able to cinch him up quite snugly without making him feel uncomfortable.

*Article from Down Under Horsemanship*

Spook Proof

As the rodeo and trail riding season fast approaches, is your horse ready? Do your homework. Help spook proof your horse to ensure he's prepared for everything you are going to do with him.

  • Baby steps. Start of by working in a safe "classroom" environment, this allows your horse to become consistent in obeying your cues. Once your horse is consistent here, you can add distractions or move to a more challenging environment, such as a bigger arena or a trip away from home.
  • Emergency stop. An emergency stop will help you control your horse and stop his feet from moving if something scares him, if he starts to buck or if he just simply decides to bolt.
  • Obstacles. When it's time to tackle obstacles, start with something simple, like a pole or log on the ground. Walk your horse up to the pole, let him sniff it and walk him over it. Once he's comfortable with simple obstacles you can progress towards more advanced or scary obstacles.

If you want to learn more or need help introducing your horse to scary objects, or getting an emergency stop please let us know.

We are happy to help.



If you purchased an animal from us & would like some help or just a tune up, we would love to help you!

You can haul your horse here to us & pay by the hour for our time.

We are yours for the whole day if you would like, we will not limit you as long as you schedule an appointment in advance.

If you would rather us come out to you than we can!