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Alpha Natural Horsemanship

‘Ask with lightness, encourage without forcing, correct with softness’
30 60 90 Days Training
Abuse NeglectRehab Part 1
Abuse NeglectRehab Part 2
Aids & Cues What are they
Assess Diagnose beforeFix
Are all horses trainable
Be safer use a Dummy
Behavior Retraining Tips
Behavior Solving Issues
Buying first Horse Guide
Buying Training Older Hor
Buying a Horse Part 2
Buying a Horse Mismatched
Buying a Horse Selecting
CalmingTrg 1 sided horses
How to Communicate Horses
How horses Communicate
Cycles and Pyramid Trg
Establishing Leadership
Exercises Warm Up
Flexion Lateral
Flexion Proper Training
Flexion Vertical
Foundation GroundTraining
Foundation Mounted
How Horses Learn
Liability Release
Motivating HorsesandMules
Natural Survival Instinct
OTTB Re Education
Overcoming riding fear
Saddle Fitting
Selecting A Trainer
Soft Inside Light Outside
Spurs How to Use them
Teaching Strategy
TRAINING Ask Properly
TrainingGreenRarely Handl
Training Guidelines
Train Outside the Box
Training Principals
Training Pyramid Natural
Transfer GroundworkSaddle
Turning and Neck Reining
Winter Training Workouts


       Use a dummy rider 

John teaches both humans and horses an easy, safe way to prepare horses for their first rider through little and large dummies. A simple and effective method to safe-guard the well-being of riders is training horses to accept dummies attached to the western saddle.  Only use the dummy after horses are accepting the saddle and the boat bumpers.  No I do not think the horse thinks it’s a real human but my school of thought is this is a reasonable half way between no rider and a real live breakable one! Of COURSE the Foundation of Ground training is necessary training not JUST a good idea - it's essential. Prior to getting into the saddle; I use a dummy rider I call Jezebel!  This method I use for starting untrained, retraining and horses with behavior issues, etc.   I find this method is Much, much safer for horse, rider and handler on the ground.  For a lot of horses it's not the weight on their backs, it's the fact that there is something/someone up above them; this goes back to their instincts to flee as this is traditionally where predators would attack, by leaping onto their backs.  Both horses in the photos below were buckers and this was the last step I used before the first rider.  Please know that neither of them bucked!

Instructions – Making a Dummy Rider

There are commercial dummy riders that cost hundreds of dollars on the market butI found the following to be effective and really inexpensive:

  • I pair of coveralls
  • Legs and seat stuffed with hay
  • Stomach a 2.5 gallon pail – drill two holes in the rear, two in the front and secure ropes through the holes and the coveralls.
  • Fill the chest with hay.
  • Use a Foam wig deal for the head.  
  • Use a felt marker for the eyes and mouth optional!
  • Use foam pool noodles for the arms
  • Attach old boots for the legs of the coveralls with duct tape


How to use it

Both horses in the photos below were buckers and this was the last step I used before the first rider.  Please know that neither of them bucked!


With your horse saddled:

  • Desensitize the horse to the dummy similar to how you introduced it to the saddle.
  • Then with someone on the off side of the horse lift the dummy over and lay it across the saddle
  • Then ask the horse to walk forward and backwards
  • If horse accepts the dummy tie the two rear ropes to the rear D rings of the saddle and two rope to the horn of the saddle or the D rings at the front
  • Put both feet into the stirrups and tie a rope to one stirrup and run the rope under the horse’s barrel and tie it to the other stirrup

Now you are ready to walk the horse through your obstacle course, review some of the ground exercises; go button, lunging and round penning etc. 

Any questions kindly contact me at your convenience.  Be safe!