Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Flexion In Motion

One of the most interesting topics I have come across in all of horsemanship is what I call “Flexion in Motion”.  It is an element of horsemanship and riding a lot of people don’t know about. 

To give it a definition, Flexion in Motion is the horse’s ability to have horizontal flexion in their body while they are engaged in forward motion.  To be honest, it is a bit challenging to describe Flexion in Motion through words only, which is why we have some great videos on this topic in our Online Video Library.  In steps 3 and 4 of the Foundation Ground-play portion of our program, we show you how the Flexion in Motion exercises fit into our overall sending exercises.  We also show you how they allow you to advance your horse's relationship at Freedom with some of our latest videos of my two horses, Deuce and Indigo.

To understand why Flexion in Motion is so powerful in the development of a relationship with a horse, we must begin to understand that for a horse, there is a very simple equation that we can always count on:

Flexion = Relaxation

Almost all horses offer a challenge in the process of building a relationship, and we have to overcome that challenge if we want to continue to advance in our ability to communicate.  By keeping everything we do in these moments connected to flexion, we are also keeping their mind and emotions connected to relaxation. 

Given that horses are prey animals by nature, they can easily associate fear and tension to anything unfamiliar.   In these moments, we can redirect their mind and emotions towards relaxation by asking them to move in a flexed manner, which leads to a relaxed state of mind.  Essentially, we get to the mental and emotional components of the mind through the physical body of the horse.  This might sound like a strange concept, but the great thing about horses is that they cannot think and feel one way, yet behave in another.  Simply put, what you see is what you get with a horse, you just have to know what to look for in their body language.

To learn more about Flexion in Motion, join our Online Video Library at www.CoolerHorsemanship.com and receive access to more than 2 hours worth of footage explaining how this concept works.  Likewise, download our E-Book Series, including Volume 5 which is dedicated entirely to the concept of Flexion in Motion, to see the full scope of the Cooler Horsemanship Program.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Making Progress

Making progress while building a relationship with a horse can be exhilarating at times, and quite challenging at times.  There are the moments of clarity when we achieve a breakthrough that lift us up to cloud nine.  There are also the moments where we hit a wall, and don't know how to solve a particular problem.  How we work to get past the stumbling blocks and capture the magic moments will define the entire relationship we have with our horse.

At this point in my career I have seen almost every situation possible between a horse and a human.  I've seen people beat and bang on horses when they weren't happy, and I've seen people crumple with fear at the tiniest notion their horse might spook.  And then their is everything in between.  Horsemanship can present us with thousands and thousands of different instances where we have to make a choice and follow through on a plan of action if we want something to change.  In the end, the art of horsemanship is really the art of making progress in the relationship and communication between a horse and a human.

This is why our acronym, ATRUM, is so powerful.  It always keeps the five essential elements of a relationship with a horse right in front of us, so that we don't forget them.  This allows us to hone in and figure out which one needs to be strengthened, and which one is already strong.  Every we day we strive to find balance between these five elements, providing us with a balance between commitment and clarity with our horse.

As you learn our program, you learn more and more about understanding how these elements can help you determine what steps you need to take in order to truly make forward progress with your horse.  So many people are either to driven to accomplish their goals, which leads to excess pressure and stress on their horse, while other people flounder around with this idea or that idea, and never really stick to a plan of action.

The best horseman understand that forward progress is achieved by having both a plan of action, and a deep understanding of how to coach a horse through that plan of action.  That's the benefit of following a developed program.

At Cooler Horsemanship, we have worked to provide a program that gives structure when needed, and flexibility when needed.  This allows people to adjust what they are doing as they are learning how to guide their horse through higher and higher levels of horsemanship.  You can learn more about the Cooler Horsemanship program by attending one of our clinics in person.  Visit our schedule by following this link:  Cooler Horsemanship 2017 Schedule

Also, we have an online learning program that we have dubbed the Cooler Horsemanship Online Video Library.  It has a ton of information, and can get you started right away with a solid plan of action that can get you and your horse headed down the path of a true authentic relationship!  Follow this link to learn more: Cooler Horsemanship Online Video Library.

Thanks for taking the time to keep in touch with our blog, and let us know if you have any questions regarding how Cooler Horsemanship can help you with your horsemanship experience!

Email: coolerhorsemanship@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


In the hundreds of hours I've spent with horses, one of the guiding lights I've always followed was the search for lightness.  If you're not familiar with horsemanship, then you might not understand what I mean by the term lightness.  When riding a horse, we have three main aids to communicate with the horse that are always in play; our weight distribution, legs, and reins.  Within these three aids, we use pressure to influence the horse to move in the ways that we would like.  When a horse becomes sensitive to the pressure from our aids, then he is said to be a "light" horse.  This sense of lightness refers to how sensitive our horse is to our pressure that we use to communicate with them.  If we don't become aware of how to offer and coach a horse towards lightness, then it will never become the level of sensitivity that exists in the communication between the two of you.

Trail riding clinics are one of the most common clinics we give.  What a lot of people learn when it comes to improving their trail horse is that you have to improve your horsemanship, otherwise you can't have an effective conversation about staying relaxed and focused on the trail.  Improving our horsemanship is a constant game of improving the lightness, or sensitivity, to our aids when riding.

Just recently I gave a lesson to a friend on a horse that had been in training.  She was a nice 3 year old filly that had a natural sense of sensitivity.  Upon riding her, he was quite surprised at how smooth and "light" she felt.  Later that afternoon, when riding his own horse, he noticed that if he offered a similar feel to her, she was a lot more responsive than he would have guessed.  And that is the secret to developing lightness.  You have to offer it to the horse in order for them to get it.  That is the mark of an advanced horseman or horsewoman; knowing how to offer that light sense of feel is critical to advancing how effective the communication between the two of you can really become.

To learn more about Cooler Horsemanship, visit www.coolerhorsemanship.net and download our
latest Free E-book, "Horse Psychology".  It's a great look at the things a horseman can learn about all horses in order to improve their abilities on the "lightness" he or she can offer any horse.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Friendship Vs. Leadership

Finding a balance between friendship and leadership is one of the biggest challenges in building a relationship with a horse.  When we run into road blocks along the path to an authentic relationship, we are tested in how we go about working our way around those road blocks.  This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons a horse can pull so much out of our personalities.  Each individual horse requires a different balance between friendship and leadership, and this is something we can always keep in mind when advancing our horses to the next level.

On the friendship side of the equation, we are focused on trust and relaxation.  This is important due to the prey animal nature of a horse.  Their first instinct is to run from anything they are wary of, so we must coach them to understand that they don't have to be afraid of us or the environments we ask them to be relaxed in, such as a new arena, or new trail.  In horsemanship, understanding how to use the Flexion System of a horse is a key part in building a friendship with a horse.  Knowing strategies like Approach and Retreat can allow the horse to learn to trust us, which is the ultimate element of friendship.  Without trust, the horse cannot relax and have a desire to be with us.

Leadership is quite often the more challenging aspect of a balanced relationship with a horse.  Knowing how to establish healthy discipline and obedience is not always an easy task.  We must push ourselves to offer the required leadership without mixing in feelings of frustration or anger.  Typically, the most effective way to accomplish this is thru the use of trial and error.  If we allow the horse to have more than one choice in any given situation, and help the horse find the correct choice, then ultimately, they will view our leadership as a good thing.  If we can develop enough timing and feel so that a horse concludes it is coming to the correct answers somewhat on their own terms, then we can begin to neutralize ourselves in the equation, therefore minimizing stress and confusion while a horse learns to find healthy boundaries within the relationship.

Self Development is critical on our end if we are ultimately going to have the ability to have a true balance between friendship and leadership with our horse.  We must push ourselves to learn the knowledge we need to have in order to understand what we must change about ourselves so that we can coach our horse to the best that they as an individual can be.

Our latest E-Book, "Self Development", can be downloaded here for free.  It is an in depth look at how we can improve ourselves and our horsemanship abilities.  In horsemanship, we are always striving to see the horse's perspective as much as possible.  Before we can do that, we have to gain perspective on the improvements we can make ourselves.  Then we will have the presence of mind to stay aware of what our horse is feeling and experiencing.

To download the free E-Book, click here:

Cooler Horsemanship E-Book Volume 2, "Self Development"

We want to thank you for taking the time to read our blog, and we hope to see you down the road!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Authentic Horsemanship

We are super excited for 2017, and all the great things we have lined up to help YOU with YOUR Horsemanship!

To start the New Year, we are releasing the first Volume of a 12 Volume E-Book series.  In Volume 1, titled "Authentic Horsemanship", we take a look at what creates a real, genuine relationship with our horse.  What is the intangible stuff that can take us past a cooker cutter method, and give us a path to understanding horsemanship on a much higher level?  Below is a short section from the book:
The development of a relationship with a horse consists largely of the thoughts, feeling and energy that we hold during our time with our horse.  These thoughts, feelings and energy can be seen on a spectrum ranging from positive to negative.  Of course, the more positive we are, the more positive the relationship with our horse is going to be.
Likewise, the more negative we are, the more negative it will be.  The key to building an authentic relationship is to become aware of the energy that you are projecting during your time with your horse.  It is one of the most important things you can do to increase your ability as a horseman.

For their to be an authentic relationship, both horse and human have to overcome fear, and avoid arrogance.  In the middle we must both find confidence and competence. 

A horse can help us learn a lot about our own identity.  As a human, it is natural for us to want to know what makes us important as an individual.  Our society puts a lot of importance on tangible success, such as a great career, winning a big award, making a lot of money, and so on.  Unfortunately, we do not so easily reward ourselves as individuals for having great relationships.  Quite often, in fact, our relationships suffer because we are in pursuit of such things.  However, in the world of horses, the relationship is what makes the individual.   
This insight can have a large impact on how you view yourself with your horse. When you understand that the biggest concern a horse has is their standing within the relationships of a herd, you can begin to see that we must have self reflection in order to offer the horse something that it would choose to want.  In other words, if you don’t spend time learning your strengths and weaknesses, you will only have so much to offer a horse.  This is because you won’t take the time to figure out what adjustments you need to make in your own identity in order to become attractive to the horse.  Horses are the masters of authenticity.  They can spot a fake a mile away, and if you don’t have something to offer them that they are genuinely interested in, then they will commit to you only so much.  This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, it just means you have to be willing to search within yourself to discover the best part of whom you are that your horse truly wants to be with.  Within this, you will find willing cooperation from your horse.
 To learn more about Cooler Horsemanship, and the number of ways we can help you advance your horsemanship, click on the link here: Improve Your Horsemanship Experience!