Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/nervous gelding


Hi Heidi,
I have sent my 4 yr old gelding away to be broken in. He is a very gentle soul, however is also very nervous and has been reared with his mother and  other horses and has remained bottom of the herd. He was doing very well at being broken in ,although remained very timid spooking extremely easily, he allowed the trainer to lean across him but every time she sits up and after a couple of steps when  he can see her he goes up like a bottle of pop and unfortunately she now says she can not continue with him. What do you suggest I try next ? safety is of course a big issue.
Looking forward to your suggestions


Thanks for the question.  I guess my first thought is that the training does not seem to be very effective if he is still so spooky and timid.  I am not a fan of trying to break them to ride until they are very solid on the ground.  This does not have to take a long time.  In a matter of weeks, certainly months a good trainer can get a horse settled down and desensitized, and create a solid foundation.  Then I would go to the next step of trying to get on them.  The problem with the scenario now is that the horse has learned that he can get the person off his back by misbehaving.  I am surprised the trainer does not suggest a better course of action on the ground.  Please note though that I am not able to see what is actually happening so do not want to judge the trainer.  

So my suggestion is to find someone who will work with him to create a solid foundation.  This is what I call Phase 1 & 2 training.  There is detailed information on my website and also some video at  You have not mentioned his basic manners.  Does he lead, tie, stand for grooming, vet, farrier, etc?  If not, start there!

Regarding finding a trainer, the best way is to look at their own horses.  Are they well behaved and have good manners in the round pen, when tied, when you are up close to them?  This is how i would choose a trainer - by seeing their horses and watching them interact with them.

I hope this helps!  Please keep me posted on your progress.  All the best...

Heidi Herriott

Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training

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Heidi Herriott


I can provide specialized advice to questions regarding: +General/fundamental training methods +Behavior issues +Specialize in trick horse training +Pulling a sulky/cart, +Care and feeding +Traveling with horses +Mobile set up +Freestyle choregraphy and development +Animal Welfare issues. I am not well versed in competitive showing with judges and such.


I am a professional horse trainer and presenter with Thirty Five (35) years of horse training, riding and performing. Have expertise with miniature horses, ponies, mules, saddle and drafts. Ability to provide specialized advice to questions regarding various training methods to include trick training, training to pull a sulky/cart, care and feeding, as well as traveling with horses. Has entertained hundreds of thousands of people across the USA as well as performed and educated individuals on national television. I also host a website which provides Online Trick Horse Training through videos and printable manuals.

International Association of Fairs and Expositions; Outdoor Amusement Business Association; Florida Federation of Fairs; Showfolks of Sarasota

Publications;; USDA - Animal Care guidelines; MORE magazine; Showtime Magazine; Orlando Sentinel; West Orange Times; Fairs & Expos magazine;; Circus Report;; Animal Welfare & Education Campaign; The Faircracker

CREDENTIALS: +35 years of hands on working with all types of animals, specializing in variety of breeds of horses (i.e.: miniatures, ponies, standard and draft); +Animal expert interviewed on national TV programs to include: TODAY show, O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, Fox, and Good Morning America

Awards and Honors
Animal Planet’s “Pet Star” Winner with a miniature trick horse; Nickelodeon Figure It Out - winner with mini mule and trick horse; Silver and Bronze medals at the Sarasota International Circus Festival; Guest Master of Ceremonies – John & Mable Ringling Museum of the Circus; PTSA Volunteer of the Year

Past/Present Clients
Past/Present Clients, Employers and Partners----- Walt Disney World, Ringling Bros. Circus, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon, DownUnderHorsemanship, Mississippi/Florida/Missouri state fairs, NC State Championship Horse show, Six Flags, Arabian Nights, International Andalusian Alliance, Women Luv Horses, Southwick’s Zoo, Richard Petty Farewell, Ringling Museum of Art, Texas A & M University, Land of Little Horses, Orange Co. Govt. TV, and more!

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