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Important Things to Consider in Any Training Program

Important Things to Consider in Any Training Program

Important Things to Consider in Any Training Program

Horse2Human has a strong belief in the old quote by Albert Einstein,  “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  This is proven when a horse comes home from a traditional training program and the owner hasn’t done any of the learning alongside his horse to understand the skills and signals that are being taught.  Additionally, the horse and human eventually return to the same routine and expectations that they started with before training and the relationship will quickly revert right back to where they started with all the problems they were hoping to cure.

So all in all, when you commit to a training program…learn as much as you can while your horse is in training and DO YOUR HOMEWORK…don’t fall back into your old pattern!

The 30-Day Wonder’ Program….which we don’t have…

When a horse, or a person for that matter, is taking on a new routine or habit…it can take much longer than just a 30 day period to help the body and mind to establish a memorized pattern.  The muscle memory or memorized routine needs to become second nature.  If a horse has spent 10 years experiencing traumatic accidents, or bucking each person off, rearing up, pulling back when being tied, picking up the wrong lead or even just sitting in a pasture all his life…30 days just isn’t enough to reverse 10 years of memorized habit.

The impression that 30 Days WORKED”   …30 Days can sometimes give the horse a good start. At the 30 day mark, you may notice a huge change from the horse.  But 30 days is merely just that…a good start.  If it is not followed up with regular maintenance by you or someone qualified with the same skills, the problems with this horse have a huge chance of relapsing or returning.  Spending the money or even just the time to have the horse ‘tuned up’ for 30 days is likely to be a complete waste if you and the horse return to the very same pattern or routine that you started with.   The ‘triggers’ to the problem at hand, will always be there, and you need to allow the horse time enough in the new pattern to develop muscle memory in his body and in his mind.  It is also just as important to be sure you are involved in the training of the horse, so that you can also take on new habits and expectations in order to improve the relationship.  A relationship doesn’t improve unless both sides make a change.

Commiting yourself to the program, the other half of the equation

While the trainer is capable of helping a horse to memorize a new routine or set of skills, the only way that the new skills can be maintained and guaranteed to last is if the intended handler takes on the same set of new skills. The training of the horse is only 50% of the equation.  The human must be involved both in observation and hands-on experience.

Before considering a training program and scheduling your interviews with trainers, be absolutely sure that you are ready to commit yourself to the program as well.  Additionally, before you spend the money putting your horse into training, be sure you are scheduling during a time in your life that you can commit AT LEAST 2 days a week.  (In my experience with students, 2 or more days in a row, allows your body and mind to absorb the information and then improve the technique.  And to furthermore, create a feeling of success and knowing that you are making progress!) When you are interviewing a potential trainer, be sure to make it clear that you would like to be a part of the program so that you can continue what is taught.  A good trainer LOVES to hear this!

And remember that learning anything new can be tough in the beginning, especially if the language is foreign to you.  Memorizing language and getting your coordination started is the hardest part of any training program.  Be patient with yourself and know that you are in it to help your horse.  To create the relationship that works for both of you.

If you stick with it, the rewards are worth it!  Enjoyment and relaxation with your horse is right around the corner!

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H2H Fundamental Skills

H2H Fundamental Skills

Basic Ground Handling Skills:

(For basic care:  Leading/Grooming, Farrier, Vet,)

Head Down Cue

Touch and Turn(TNT)

Language Lesson


Round Pen Basics (ideal for a more advanced relationship)

In the H2H program, there are basic skills that need to be established in order to accomplish the following:

*To ensure my safety as a trainer, your safety ongoing, as well as the horse’s safety in advancement.

*Caring for the horse’s basic needs requires some basic handling skills.   The above list is my thorough version that will ensure that the horse has access to basic needs and care to be healthy and happy.

The skills listed above are also the very first things I evaluate with a horse that I am meeting for the first time. If I can successfully complete these requests and get the appropriate responses, then it gives me access to more advanced challenges that can show me how much training the horse needs or has overall. Thus developing results from my Evaluations and being able to develop an initial training plan for the individual horse.

Walking through the Basic Handling Skills

Head Down Cue, Head Control

The head is the first thing we handle.  It’s the part of the body we typically retrieve or restrain in order to control the rest of its body. While there are some alternate ways of ‘controlling’ or desensitizing a horse without restraint to the face, I would like to discuss these steps assuming that the horse can be haltered in general.

The ‘head down cue’ is merely a phrase or term, but to me it is a general statement that the horse has learned to give to pressure from the points of contact on the halter.  The more thorough you are in teaching the horse to ‘give to contact points’ the better the horse will be able to feel and determine the direction in which he should give to pressure.  Helping the horse to get consistent Give responses to these contact points will help the horse when faced with more challenging tasks, such as standing still for the farrier, shots from the vet, or bridling quietly.

This is one of the more simpler ‘cues’ you can ask of the horse when he is faced with added pressure or challenge.  Asking for the horse’s attention can be difficult in high energy or stressful situations, so having a simple task to ask of him first, is the safest bet overall and will likely keep him from getting overwhelmed and giving up altogether.

Once the horse has learned to give to the pressure or guidance of your hands at the poll and nose, maybe with the added security of having the halter in place, you can then begin to additionally show him how to give to pressure laterally.

Just like when you use your reins to ask the horse to Give(or to ‘flex’ as some people refer), these are requests of the horse to come around to the side towards their ribs or shoulder point.  These are great stretches too, and you should keep an awareness of his comfort level as you ask him to stretch into these positions.  Especially if the horse is new to the exercise or stiff physically.  Keep in mind that you are merely asking the horse to feel where the contact is applying pressure and to figure out for himself HOW to come away from that specific contact.  The moment in which you release his response is where he LEARNS what he should be doing in response.  So be sure that you are releasing when he is actively trying to release the pressure for himself.  Ask in stages, not all at once, or you will end up being sore and frustrated.  The moment the contact is being applied is when you are essentially making the request, make sure you are aware of every request you might be making.

Once you have achieved being able to ask the horse to give to various angles from the halter, then you can begin connecting the feet.  The advanced version of this exercise includes being able to move the feet forward and backward while the horse’s head is giving downward(head down).  This is a fundamental piece for training a horse to be tied safely, or retraining a horse that pulls back on the lead.

Touch and Turn (TNT)

This exercise is one that I find extremely important for a well-rounded relationship and a great ‘go-to’ exercise when a horse is emotionally stressed, lacking focus, or needs a reminder of my boundaries. There are so many different things to apply to this simple exercise that, if clear and consistent, will create more balance in the relationship emotionally, mentally and physically.

The Touch and Turn, otherwise known as TNT offers first and foremost, desensitization; or in other words an explanation (to the horse)of what intentions you have when making contact to the horse’s body.  Desensitization to me is so important before RE-sensitizing him to your cues or personal boundaries and expectations.  It helps the horse to feel safe in your presence, but to also respectfully accept contact and pressure in areas that would otherwise be untouched.

This is actually the first exercise I go through when introducing myself to a horse. And many times before I even ask for a horse to drop his head from pressure(Head Down Cue).  However if the horse is moving around a lot, tossing his head, or otherwise pulling on the halter or lead, the Head Down cue is necessary to help the horse settle off of pressure and have a general understanding of how to respond.  Tuning into the TNT and the Head Down Cue (or control)as soon as possible is equally important in getting the horse to a calmer, easier-to-control state.

The first part of Touch and Turn, is the Touch; being able to make contact with the horse ALL OVER his body while the horse stands quietly.  Over time the difference between Touch and Turn is when to Stand Still and when to Move his feet.  The ‘Turn’ part  of the exercise is also very important for teaching the horse to give his full attention when needed.

This exercise is a very clear presentation to the horse of using contact cues versus body language.  The energy in which we project when asking for the horse to yield to our boundaries and to be attentive is very natural for them, and should be used graciously so as not to dull or overwhelm the horse’s natural responses.

One key to this exercise is using patterning or a consistent routine to condition the horse to memorize your actions.  The importance of this over time is the horse’s natural ability to anticipate what comes next which leads into ‘weight shifts’ and ease of control and boundaries overall.

A general approach to the exercise is entering the left side of the horse, scanning with my hand literally from nose to tail, including picking up of each foot.  When picking up each foot, my first expectation or request of the horse is that he shift his body onto the other 3 feet, offering a Give or release of that corner of his body.  To be sure that the horse is Giving to this request, I’ll lift the horse’s front foot from the knee, so that I can check to be sure he is ‘dangling’ that front foot without struggle or resistance.  Some young horses need lots of repetition in order to get to a consistent release in the body.

The back foot can be a lot harder, as I have found that many horses struggle a bit either emotionally or physically to develop the appropriate balance in order to go right into the Give from that corner of their body.  Many times I use their tail in specific ways to help them to relax more or to help shift the weight where it needs to go(into the other hind foot).

Once I have finished the entire scan, which should be a constantly moving process so your keep his attention, I then request for a Turn and Face.  This can be done in two ways in order to perfect or challenge your horse’s focus, or to help develop the proper weight shifts and yielding to your boundaries.

Then I repeat on the other side.

Typically, I will repeat this many times, and as needed using the Language Lesson (next lesson below) in support if the horse ‘NEEDS’ to move.  The TNT them becomes even clearer for the horse in order to understand the difference between my signals to move his feet and standing still.  He also learns the difference in my intentions and how my energy and projection relate, which in turn builds clear leadership.

In the pictures above, you may notice that I carry a flag.  This is the advanced stage of Touch and Turn, where I am desensitizing with the flag.  This is to help develop the advanced stages in your horse’s understanding of your intentions.  Learning that even though the flag is waving or moving, does not mean that you are giving signals to move.  This also adds further coordination in your horse handling skills, and a big part of becoming thoroughly AWARE of your projections compared to your actual intentions!

If you can master the TNT lesson alone, your farrier and your vet will love you forever!  😉


Stay Tuned

Next Monday, March 13th…

Language Lesson

-Advanced leading/lunging and body language training-


Riding Pre-Req


Advanced Refinement or Correction





Intro to Saddle/Cinching



Intro to Mounting




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H2H Foundation Training Video Clip

H2H Foundation Training Video Clip

A short video clip(4minutes) demonstrating various exercises included in the main phases of starting or re-starting a horse.  These exercises also help to create a more refined human, learning the intricacies of the body language and movements that build the horse2human language.  All horses advance at their own rate depending on current skills, previous experiences as well as any issues that have developed previously.

Most of this work shown below is covered in the 3 month minimum Foundation Course.  Please keep in mind that if your horse is coming in for any problem solving, they will likely require more than 3 months to accomplish your goals.


The program is heavily discounted when the commitment is 3 months or more, in order to encourage students to dedicate themselves to their goals and the program’s expectations.



Toblee calmly exploring the water

Toblee calmly exploring the water

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Horse2Human®, a Registered Trademark.

Horse2Human®, a Registered Trademark.



The concept behind Horse2Human®, and it’s logo:

In researching the name for my business and developing my logo, I was looking for something that would be representative of how I perceived and embraced the relationship with a horse.  In addition, to furthermore accentuate a visual of how each relationship is generally formed.

The foundation of my program is firmly based on a routine that is developed from a series of different exercises.  These exercises as a whole help me to first evaluate the horse when I first come into contact with them.  Then I am able to customize a beginning routine that I can build onto as we move along in their development.  These exercises give me an overall advantage to evaluate the horse’s physical, mental and emotional abilities.  Both from contact as well as through body language.  Two very important tools of communication, one supporting the other and both must be used very conscientiously.

Horse2Human is what it states.  A state of developing an understanding of each other languages; horse language to human language and human language to horse language.  In a continued repetition, in it’s circular representation in the logo…horse2human2horse2human…etc, it represents the constant state of communicating back and forth.  Not forcing one language or the other; rather combining the two languages into one language that works for both.

In addition, I believe that learning anything, whether horse or human, that we are constantly adding layers to what we already know, until we die.  Refining, adding, re-conditioning(bad habits), always working towards new, easier, better ways of communicating, making the relationship closer and more enjoyable each step of the way.  Building layer by layer, and sometimes revisiting old layers to help refine new layers.


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H2H Equipment & Supplies

H2H Equipment & Supplies

As with most horse people, we all develop our own preference with certain tools and aids.  Over the years, I have created my own, and have found them to be universal with all horses I come into contact with.

($40) H2H Custom Rope Halters are made hardware free.  Especially since these halters are ultimately used for training exercises, I want to lessen the chances for my horse to experience any trauma or discomfort.  Having metal clips or rings are not only dangerous for each horse going through specific H2H exercises, but are also potential danger for my own fingers and face!  Even in the most calm of circumstances, things CAN and DO happen, and I prefer to keep the possibility of injuries from the metal out of my training equations!  The leads are made long enough to aid in ground work and bitless riding(reins).  If you have a desired length, I am happy to take requests!  On average the leads are measured at 15feet.

I also love the feel of this rope, smooth and with just enough weight to provide a quick response and aid in my timing of the give and take process both on the ground and in the saddle.


($40) Full Cheek Snaffle is the only bit that is used throughout the foundation program(typically 3 months or 90 days), and continued as necessary, per the horse’s learning abilities.  This is a great bit for giving clear, fully supported signals, especially for young horses being introduced to the bit for the first time.  All horses are refined enough to transfer from the bit to a bitless bridle or halter, but in the formative stages, the repetition is too much for a bitless bridle. The bit is naturally lubricated by the horse’s saliva, where the bitless bridle or halter may cause rub spots during the learning stages.  While it is not required that a horse go through the foundation process with a bit, I do like for a horse to have the experience of both bit and bitless cues.


($65-95) H2H Customized Reins can be made to your preferred length. I currently have two different diameters. The black is thicker and slightly heavier. Both are made from sailing rope.  These reins are continuous reins(not split) to support the exercises used in the program. I also offer a mecate’ style rein which is great for quick transitioning from saddle to ground skills or vice versa.

Custom lengths welcome…Please advise when making your order. Prices are dependent on length and style.12347900_10208127434172110_56005723567277601_n







To order, call 5092600385, or email


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Ask a Question!

Ask a Question!

Do you have a horse issue or training problem that you would like to get some thoughts about? Please apply your questions here in the comment area, and they will be answered by Shannon personally!ShannonAskPage

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