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Horse Training Tips and Techniques, Helpful Hints for Health Care;
Plus Business Advice on Making Your Career With Horses a Financial Success

By Don Blazer

         The first rule of training: the horse has no pain.

         Unschooled horses, for the most part, want to please.  As a member of your herd, they want to be a part of the activity, they want to be accepted and they want your praise.

         So anytime a young horse is showing any signs of aggravation, hesitation, or lack of desire to learn, start checking for signs of pain.

         The first place to look is the mouth…with the young horse lots of changes are taking place.  The edges of teeth may be getting sharp, new teeth are coming in, or "caps" may be retained.   The bit you've chosen may not fit the horse's mouth configuration…have you taken the measurements?  (Learn about
Bits, Saddle Fitting and Hoof Balance in the online course at

         Double check your saddle's fit.  Anything less than perfect and your young horse could be developing back pain.  Saddles that don't fit correctly are the number one cause of back pain, followed closely by poor riding habits.  Lots of young horses haven't reached their potential weight, so it's common for tack and rider to weigh more than 20% of horse's total weight.  For example, a horse weighing 800 pounds should never carry more than a total weight of 160 pounds.

        A horse doesn't have to be lame to have sore feet, and sore feet will cause problems everywhere.

        Feel the feet before you take your horse out of his stall.  If the feet aren't cold, you may have a problem.    Take a good look at the shape of the foot, and examine the coronet band for any deviations.

       Use hoof testers to determine if the horse's soles are tender, or there is any heel discomfort.  Trot the horse in a circle on pavement to determine if the outside or inside of a hoof is tender.

      Check your horse's movement on hard ground and in a small circle, going both directions.  If the horse shows any signs of discomfort, get the discomfort eliminated before you start any training.

      Once you are consistently training a horse, be consistent in examining the horse for any signs of pain.  You should be looking for signs of discomfort during the grooming process, checking the horse's feet for heat, the back for tenderness, and the mouth for signs of sharp teeth or sores from an uncomfortable bit.

       Using some basic techniques of equine massage, you can go over your horse's body to find any areas of muscle soreness.  (
Equine Massage is another course you'll find a )

       Before you begin any horse's training, be sure the horse is pain free.

       If your horse has passed the "no pain" test, you're on your way to a great training relationship.

You can earn a professional horse trainer certification by taking courses at 

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