How to Handle a Fresh Horse

Fresh Horses Can be Dangerous

For the past 20 years, Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship has devoted his life to creating the best training tools and videos available to help train your horses, regardless of their problem. He believes that it’s training the owners that poses a real issue. Join him as he tackles some of the most challenging situations with problem horses and with problem owners. This week, Clinton will show us how to handle a fresh horse.

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Every horse has a unique personality, regardless of their age or experience. However, working with fresh horses proves to be a challenging feat. Fresh horses can be dangerous and require a little preliminary groundwork to get them using the thinking side of their brains and under control. Clinton reminds us that the first rule in dealing with a fresh horse is to not get on him until you’ve got him tuned in to you and have knocked off some of his excess energy. You’ll accomplish that goal by moving the horse’s feet forwards, backwards, left and right in a series of groundwork exercises. Which exercises you use doesn’t matter. The key is to move the horse’s feet with energy and do a lot of changes of direction. Clinton recommends working with a fresh horse in the round pen and doing Lunging for Respect Stage One and Lunging for Respect Stage Two.

Clinton tells us regardless of the exercise performed, make sure that you work your horse long enough so that he’s tuned in to you and sweating a little bit. This is especially important if you’ve given your horse a week or two off or if you haven’t ridden him all winter. Just because spring is coming around, it doesn’t mean your horse is ready to be ridden. So don’t just saddle him up and get on. If you do that, Clinton tells us quite frankly that your horse is going to buck you off. Regardless of how well you trained your horse a year ago, time off from training and riding can change behaviors. That’s what makes a horse fresh.

Even in instances with his personal horse Diez, a well-trained horse, Clinton always gets him out and does groundwork with him for 15 or 20 minutes—especially if he hasn’t ridden him for three or four months. Doing the essential groundwork before you get back on a horse is critical to both your safety and his. Even if Clinton doesn’t think he needs to give a refresher to Diez, the practice of doing so regardless is what makes a good horseman. Taking essential steps to plan what you’re going to do and prepare the horse is what it means to be a successful horseman and avoid problems.

When working with a fresh horse under saddle, do a lot of rollbacks, serpentines, bending them around, and circling around trees. Don’t just put your horse on a loose rein and go lope off. If you do this, you’re going to get bucked off. Clinton tells us as a general rule, most horses are overfed and underworked. Most of us need to create a better balance between how much we work our horses and how many calories we’re feeding them. You want your horse to be fed well and worked enough so that you don’t wind up in a dangerous scenario.

The Downunder Horsemanship Method is the key to getting the most out of your partnership with your horse and we want everybody to experience the difference it will make. That’s why we created three new ways for you to get the training content you need at the price you want. Our basic level allows you to purchase and download training content to your device at our standard price with no annual fee. When you become a No Worries Club member for $19.99 a month, you get up to 50% discount on any of your purchases. You’ll also get eight digital videos and four digital journals a year and access to the No Worries Club website, the largest collection of Clinton Anderson method material and resources in the world. If you want the ultimate experience, the premium membership is for you. You get all the benefits of the No Worries Club, a printed copy of our No Worries Club quarterly journal, and access to all the Clinton Anderson method and the professional series kit training videos. Altogether, that’s thousands of dollars of horse training and 20 years of horsemanship delivered right to your fingertips.

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