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Alpha Natural Horsemanship

‘Ask with lightness, encourage without forcing, correct with softness’





Telephone consultations are free and do not require a commitment to begin training.  This will provide you with the opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions you may have also discover the training options available.  You are welcome to contact John if you have any general questions or concerns about the services offer and the options under the various training programs. 


A good evaluation is a great place to start in any training program. You must be able to understand where you’re at before you can determine where you need to go. Help identify problem areas by asking yourself these questions:

  • What is the symptom? My horse is; herd bound, hard to catch, bucks, does not load into the trailer, etc..)
  • What is the solution? Determine which exercises work on your problem area.

A good evaluation of whom your horse is, what he knows, and what he needs will offer you the chance to make the horse you have into the horse you want. With this information you can make an informed decision about the right approach for you and your horse from the many training methods available.  If at some point you realize that the direction you thought you should be going in is not working, it is time to reevaluate. This may happen frequently until you find the method that your horse believes in rather than the method that you thought might work. Don’t take it personally if things don’t always work — if that was the case I would have stopped working with horses long ago. Keep your horse’s best interests at heart and you won’t be far off the mark. Just be prepared to adjust your aim from time to time.

Whether;  Starting, Re educating or Rehabilitating it should always start with a Foundation Training diagnostics assessment/evaluation session.   If need a helping hand with your equine or you are in the market for a horse and want an objective appraisal of a prospective horse’s training level and suitability for your riding level or discipline, I will evaluate the horse. Likewise, if you have a horse to sell, I can evaluate his level of training so that an appropriate home can be found. Many horses end up with a mismatched owner due to the new owner’s lack of knowledge and riding experience with horses. This can lead to suffering, injury or death for people and the horse.

During the assessment/evaluation we will discuss what your goals are and where we'd like to be in 60 or 90 days. To get there, we need to know the horse is now, from a knowledge, trainability and behavioral pattern perspective. This includes assessing the horse's inherited disposition and his learned attitude. How well a horse learns depends all these attributes. At least 85% of the time, the diagnostics will show me where we can expect to be 60 days of training and I'll know what it will take to get there. The other 15% of the time it may take me two or three sessions to identify what all is going on in the horse's mind. For horses that have passed through various owners with opposing training perspectives; it is reasonable for some owners to want an assessment before committing to the training.

Training Equine, to me, is not a matter of breaking in the horse  it is about educating it. It makes no difference if you trying to improve yourself, a young horse, a horse of many years or a horse with behavior issues; experience tells me it all comes down to; preparing yourself and your horse so you are both safe, focused and your equine is willing to please.  The process is aimed at fully developing the horse’s Emotional, Mental and natural Physical aptitudes striving for a willing, well-adjusted partner that is a pleasure to ride.

Good Horses with Bad Habits

There are many good horses that behave badly. That does NOT make them bad horses! Judging intention rather than action takes a great deal of trust in our own instinctive understanding. If we do not trust our own sense of what is going on, we will misinterpret what our horse is saying. Remember, we and our horse are speaking different languages so misinterpretation is very common.  There must also be a rational approach that tempers instinct. Fear, for example, has a way of clouding our thoughts. If I become afraid or threatened by my horse’s actions it will not allow me to be open minded about the intent of its action. To be accurate, any evaluation must be done in an unemotional, methodical manner.

Don't threat the symptoms threat the cause

We should not treat the symptoms of bad behavior rather we should identify the cause and treat it!  Cause and effect are a constant part of evaluation. If I apply pressure, the horse will respond in the way it feels necessary. If I use too much pressure it will likely overreact; not enough pressure and it may not react at all. Reaction is relative to the initial action. I must remain aware of what I am doing because it causes the horse’s response. I look at a variety of things that could play a part in determining what direction the horse or its training should go. I get as much input as I can about every aspect of the horse’s life. Some of this is simple observation and some is requested information, but the more I know about the horse the better job I can do. Some of the information will be irrelevant to the current situation but may have played a part in the horse’s emotional, mental and physical development.

I have a quick look over the horse’s body to see if there is anything obviously wrong. I look at the horse’s expression before I start to handle him, as well as the environment it lives in or has just come from. I observe how the horse is handled by its owner and the owner’s attitude towards the horse, knowing that confidence builds confidence and fear builds fear.  Next I want to see how well the horse can cope with stress. Is it panicky, violent, bored, curious, or unsure how to respond? This will help me determine the horse’s confidence level or lack thereof. Is the horse physically talented? Is the horse inclined to try to be correct or is it naturally evasive?

Age is important

Age is an important consideration. If the horse is misbehaving because it has had no handling, it doesn’t understand how it is expected to behave. Or it could be behaving in a way that has been established due to handling. Poor behavior in an older horse is often the result of poor or inconsistent expectations from its handlers. The older the horse, the deeper rooted the behavior is likely to be, and the longer it could take to change.  I also learn about the level of training the horse is supposed to have and the training goals that are set for it. Once I get a sense of who the horse is and an understanding of where the owner wants him to eventually be, I can customize the training methods to suit the horse’s needs. As a rule I try to look for things that are not working well for the horse or handler and concentrate my efforts there. This approach does tend to open the proverbial “Pandora’s Box” but I believe that true success lies in overcoming the things that are holding us back rather than the repetitious completion of unimportant movements.

 An evaluation for horse rescue operations is done for horses with little or no known history. A rescue organization may need an appraisal of a horse's mental or emotional readiness to be ridden or an assessment of a horse’s training level or temperament to match with a prospective adopter. Evaluations done for rescues or rescue horses are available at a reduced price. Call to inquire on rates for rescues.