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Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/approaching and working with a new horse


Hi Melanie. my friend, a groom at our local racetrack is finding lot of trouble approaching a new horse. he's getting frightened whether it would either bit or kick him. can you please tell me how to approach and work with a new horse?

A lot will depend on how much horse experience someone has, and also much can depend on the horse.

Is it just unhandled and fractious due to that, or is it this way because of previous handling, or is it because of bloodlines and going to be tougher to deal with.  is it a stallion or a mare in season, those too will make difference.

And a lot of times, you are dealing with, in case of race or show horses, a horse that is being fed very good feed and hay, that will pump one up more in terms of being more difficult.

Calm movements, low voice helps a lot.

If horse is at track, should be used to being handled to a degree, and would just go about business needed to be done, entering stall, haltering horse and doing the grooming, keeping eye on horse of course at same time.

If horse is frightened, calm is best, if horse is trying to intimidate, then need to be more proactive and let horse know you can't be run over.

Working more from shoulder area too is best, rather than head on.

For me, I'd do my work, keeping good handling techniques, not let horse get lippy, correcting if horse threatens to kick, and correct by moving horse slightly so had to put leg back down.

I also make one move back with voice and touch, every single time I work with one, so that it gets used to me moving it.  

Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training

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Melanie Rowley


Questions relating to first time, or inexperienced horse owners. Other questions as needed. Questions on American Saddlebreds. Old fashioned training advice, riding advice for beginners, and general care questions. Behavior problems, with emphasis on thinking through aspects of problems that might not seem an issue at first.


About to turn 55. My father was a Saddlebred trainer, and I grew up around horses. I have also worked as a Master Saddlebred Show Horse Groom, working with Dale Pugh, Art Simmons, Sonny Sutton, and others. I also have worked with Quarter Horses, and Thoroughbreds on a mare and foal operation in Alabama. I have owned for years, and currently have two teenaged geldings. I also for many years have taught riding lessons, to adults and children, working with beginners just learning, and older adults who have lost their confidence, or wanted to get "back in the saddle." I was lucky to be around many of the best horsemen in MO, and AL and learn from them, and strive always to think through a situation and work to keep riders and horses safe. Those also include the many talented grooms, and farriers I met along the way.

Some college. General studies towards a nursing degree, which derailed due to divorce. Horse skills learned through over 50 years of watching, learning, doing and absorbing as I grew.

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