Exhibit #1 - Control Freaks

I once watched a round pen training session with an instructor and some students.

This wasn’t one of your normal fenced round pens though...

It had high, wooden walls, a bit like the old-fashioned carnival silodrome or ‘wall of death’.

If you’re still not sure what I mean...

Here’s a video of a lady from the UK who used to ride horses and now rides a motorcycle on the ‘wall of death’ instead:

Amazing, eh?

Anyway, back to the round pen training session.

So each student had a turn inside the round pen to get the horse to perform a certain manoeuvre.

Most of them managed it but one lady couldn’t get her horse to do what she wanted.

And the harder she tried the more panicked the horse became.

Have you ever had that sort of experience?

When your horse's panic levels just keeps ratcheting up?

There's a reason why this happens but...

It's not the one the instructor claimed it was...

He told the student that he’d better switch out the horse because there was obviously something wrong with it.

And he took out the now sweating, stressed-out horse and brought in a fresh one for her to try.

So was there something wrong with the horse?

Not from where I stood.

The poor thing was just completely confused and didn’t know which way to turn.


You see, up to now horsemanship has always been based on one principle...

Control the horse at all times.

Some call it “respect” but it still means control.

And all to often “Natural” involves excessive pressure, spurs and harsh bits.

There's no denying that control can usually get the job done but...

Is it the only way to get your horse to do what you want?

Or even the best way?

The answer to both is NO.

Not if you wish to develop a deep, loving bond and a healthy, working relationship together.


Have you ever played charades?

You know the game...

It's a movie...

3 words...

First word...

Seizure... move... jive...


Third word...

Dog... cat... budgie (budgie??)...



Easy enough, right?

OK, now try and mime "respect".

I'll wait...

Take your time...

Not so easy, is it?

So if we can't even mime "respect" how on earth can our horses understand what we mean by it??

I recently read a report from the International Society for Equitation Science on the use/misuse of leadership and dominance concepts in horse training.

This is what it had to say about control and dominance:

“Dominance hierarchies, alpha positions or leadership in social groups of horses are man-made concepts that should not form the basis of human–horse interactions.”

It went on to say that attempts to dominate horses often encourage and justify the use of punishment.

The sequence usually goes something like this...

If a horse doesn't do as he's told, then he is being "disobedient".

If he continues to “disobey”, then he's being “disrespectful”.

And if he continues to show a lack of "respect", then he's going to get a beating.

It's so sad.

And unnecessary.

And only serves to add another brick in the Wall.

Abused horse?

We expect horses to understand what we mean and when they don't they get beaten.

And they get called "dumb animals"!

Because if you think about it for a moment...

Defensive behaviors.

Flight responses.


(aka Fight, Flight or Freeze)...

Are just a horse’s natural reaction to threats.

They are prey animals.


So how else are they supposed to react??

Here are several more reasons why you want to avoid punishing your horse:

  • It can have a negative effect on his welfare
  • It can change his focus to one of seeking safety
  • It can destroy any chance of you developing a loving bond
  • It can damage your working relationship

Want more proof that such hardline approaches don't work?

Here’s a link to another scientific study which comprehensibly casts doubt on the concept of being a leader for your horse.

Horses at peace

So where does that leave us?

If the world is no longer flat and we no longer have to control our horses?

How about this...

If I described a woman in the following terms would you be against hanging out with her?

  • Is very sociable
  • Has no motivation to dominate others
  • Tries to avoid conflict
  • Forms close, often lifelong relationships

Probably not.

She appears to have some nice qualities and sounds a lot like you in many ways.


Those descriptions are not about a woman.

They are about horses and come from an article on how they organize themselves socially in the wild.

So if that's how horses naturally behave, shouldn't we relate to them in the same way?

It would make sense, right?

In which case...

Congratulations - you're qualified!

You already have all the natural traits you need to communicate with your horse in his own language.

It's time to OWN your strengths as a woman.

It's time to believe in yourself, your own ability and your horse.

Because think about it like this...

If more training and exerting control were the answer...

You wouldn't be reading this right now, would you?

And sooner or later, you're going to have to admit that something's not working.

And more training...

Or more clinics...

Or more pieces of "special" equipment...

Are not the answer.

Because there's still that deeper issue that needs fixing first.

So to remind you what I said on the previous page...

You have what it takes to be successful with your horse...

So when you're ready...

Click the Continue button below.

And let's continue to dismantle that Wall brick by brick so you can create a willing partnership and a lasting connection with your horse.


P.S. I believe in you :)


  • Current horsemanship practices emphasise the use of aggressive control and are damaging to your horse's welfare
  • Dominance relationships are a human invention to excuse the use of force
  • Humans look for respect, horses seek closeness and connection
  • Defensive behaviors, flight responses or apathy are a horse’s natural reaction to threats
  • You have a natural ability to communicate with your horse

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