Born in a Stable is a small Friesian and Arabian horse farm in the Finger Lakes region of Western, New York.

Horse Training








Basic Philosophies

Anytime a horse interacts with a human, the horse learns from that interaction. So even if you think of yourself as an owner, a rider, a driver, or perhaps even just a spectator ... you are a trainer. Of course, some of us are more interested in and focused on training, and so call ourselves trainers. The Bible calls it the gift of teaching.

The relationship of a horse to his trainer is similar to the relationship of a student to his teacher, a child to his parent, and an athlete to his coach. Ultimately all these relationships are epitomized by our human relationship to God.

So horse training is best accomplished by such qualities as kindness, gentleness, encouragement, leadership, positive reinforcement, patience, etc. Of course, some knowledge, and wisdom on how to apply that knowledge, is a good thing too. (Know
what horse sense is? It is the inate ability that keeps horses from betting on people!)

Of course a horse - like a child - needs to know the meaning of "NO". Firmness is important. But a wise trainer knows that a leader leads best by being a servant. I best help my horse find his satisfaction and fulfillment in life...through his submission to my will. That is the way God made us!

To say it another way: Human CONTROL over the horse leads to RESPECT. CONTROL without PAIN leads to TRUST. It is a beautiful thing to watch that trust grow in a young horse. It is a wonderful, solid basis for a relationship.

The lack of safety regulations in the horse world (compared to the motor vehicle or aviation worlds, for instance), leaves huge responsibility on the owner/rider/driver/trainer. Especially in the early stages of a horse's development, every lesson must minimize risks to horse as well as to human.

Perhaps the most basic means of communicating to a horse is through PRESSURE. I create pressure through, for instance, my body language, or through the rein, or through my leg. The horse wants to avoid that pressure. When he performs the response I want, I release the pressure. The release lets him know what I wanted. Next time (or eventually, after enough repititions), he will give me that response more quickly. He soon becomes my accomplished partner, as in a beautiful dance. Eventually perhaps we approach the stage where it appears that "The horse and rider are one".

Teachers say there are 4 stages of learning. Horses go through these stages, just like humans:

  • Rote
  • Understanding
  • Application
  • Correlation

Howard Hendricks says the 4 stages are:

  • Unconscious Incompetance
  • Conscious Incompetance
  • Conscious Competance
  • Unconscious Competance

Either way,the last stage might also be called HABIT. For any physical reaction to become habit, either in a human or in a horse, takes many (thousands of) repititions.


When we have done a particular movement or maneuver enough times for me to think "That's enough of THAT!", THE HORSE PROBABLY DOESN'T HAVE A CLUE! So I had better remember, I am not teaching a movement or maneuver, I am teaching the HORSE! I have to be focused on him, not on the maneuver. My goal is obedience, not a movement. When he does it correctly, at first it is probably a mistake. When he does it correctly 8 times out of 10, he is starting to get it. When he does it correctly 98 times out of 100, we are making good progress, and now we are ready to do it in the other direction, or in a new location. Or maybe now we can try it on a windy day. In other words, we are now ready for distractions, which will start the real learning. We are now at the threshold!

And remember, repitition for the sake of repitition causes frustration for the student. But repitition that is looking for improvement causes progress.

Following is a basic outline of the steps we go through with our horses at Born In a Stable Horse Farm. Please feel free to contact us with questions, suggestions, or comments. Or better yet, come visit to see our horses in person!

GROUND TRAINING (preparation for riding or driving)

  • Round Pen Basics
    Simple driving away (he is walking or running away from me)
    Turn (outside)
    Turn (inside)
    Stand still
    Come to me
  • Sack out
  • Bit and Bridle
  • Saddle
  • Head Down
  • Spook Control
  • Go forward
  • Give to the bit (spots 1 thru 6)
  • Yield to pressure
  • Picking up feet
  • Leading lessons
  • Stand Tied
  • No Contact leading
  • College level leading
  • Trailer Loading
  • Ropes and dragging objects
  • Clock lesson
  • Connect rein to hip

Click HERE for more
Ground Training pictures

  • First mounting
  • Give to the bit
  • Head down/calm down
  • Go forward
  • Power Brakes (straight collected stops and backing up)
  • Power steering (sensitive on the bit)
  • Shoulders over
  • Hips over
  • Hips in
  • Sidepass both ways
  • Cross-country
  • Move to touch
  • Clipping
  • Lungeing
  • Varying surfaces (tarp, water, bridge)
  • Serpentine
  • Collected trot
  • 3-step exercise
  • Collected Canter
  • Dogs
  • Children
  • Windy Day
  • Bareback

Click HERE for more
Riding Basics pictures

  • Getting accustomed to harness (blinders, crupper, etc)
  • Dragging objects
  • Smaller to bigger
  • Quiet to noisy
  • From saddle
  • From traces
  • Long-lining
  • Training cart
  • 4-wheel vehicle
  • Pairs
  • Traffic
  • Varying environment
  • Dogs
  • Children
  • Flags
  • Parade
  • Crowds


© Born In A Stable
6819 Barber Hill Road • Groveland, NY 14462 • 585-243-3178 or 1-800-777-2359


Home Friesian Horses for Sale Horse Training Arabian Horses for Sale Carriage Services About Us Links Born in a Stable Horse Farm Hunter/Jumper for Sale