“Stacy-Thank you for your great blog and training info – I am just getting in to it and all the info available.  I have what I think is a simple question, but may be more complicated.  I saw a quote that said something to the effect of: when working with a horse, we are either training or untraining that horse.  What I am curious about is, how much “pleasure” time do you spend with your horses, or is it all training/work?  By pleasure time, I mean, do you take Jac or any other “performance” horse on a laid back trail ride for example?  Is this an activity that would untrain what you have done with them?  Or (as I might see it) a good opportunity to expose the horse to other experiences that may benefit them in the ring? ”

Thanks again,

Bob & Ruben (the horse) from Indiana


I often say this to get people thinking about the idea in general. Let me try to clear it up a bit for you.

Have you ever listened to Dave Ramsey? He is a financial guy who gives advice. A lot of times people will call, ask a question and Dave will reply with something like, “Because you are asking that question-I know you will be ok.”

What he is saying is that your ‘awareness’ that there is, or could be, an issue…will prevent the issue from happening.

Many people don’t ever consider that they could even make a ‘withdrawal’ from a horses training. However, most people with experience know that it is very possible to ‘untrain’ or retrain a horse in a negative way. But….

…as soon as you know this you are now aware. As soon as you are aware the chance of going too far or ‘going bankrupt’ with your horse is greatly reduced.Jesse trail riding while leading a young horse

Yes, I trail ride my horses. For fun, lets add numbers and make up a pretend situation;

Let’s say that when I train my horse I am adding a value of $20.00 per day when I ‘train’ a horse in an arena toward the goal of showing the horse for the owner (who is paying me to train). If I take the horse trail riding maybe I am adding a value of $5.00 to that reining horse….but if the horse were in training to become a ‘trail’ horse the value might be $20.00. Either way I am likely adding value.

Now lets pretend that I take that horse and decide to give a riding lesson on him. The owner probably wouldn’t be very happy with me because when I put a green rider on the horse there is a good chance they will make mistakes or miss opportunities to correct the horse’s mistakes. This could be a ‘withdrawal’ of $5.00 to $20.00.

Now, remember that most of this is said just to get you THINKING about the idea that you are always causing some kind of change in your relationship with your horse. It really isn’t that different than human relationships.

Lets pretend you are married and on your 10th wedding anniversary you take your wife out to dinner. If you check facebook every 15 minutes, answer your phone before dessert and then send a couple of texts…I can bet that your intended ‘deposit’ into your marriage just became a withdrawal, lol.

Again, as soon as you are aware that this is an issue…the issue is mostly gone. I put the concept out there to get people to think about horses having a relationship with us as opposed to them being more like a motorcycle that you can put away and pull out after a few months later without much change.

Once it is possible to view all situations as learning and relationship building it become possible to make ‘deposits’ in almost all situations.