Training for for any discipline first requires controlling the horse's natural instincts of fight and flight.

These instincts appear as "resistance" such as bracing the neck, leaning on the rider's hands, reluctance to go forward, crookedness, not listening to aids and weak ground manners.

Although resistance is no more than a horse being a horse, it blocks all training efforts.

Full Circle trainers teach our horses to control their natural instincts by establishing a "base" of respect and obedience. The base is a place our horses learn to "go" when their natural instincts kick in. When firmly established, it is the most simple, yet the most important, key to creating a successful riding horse and opens the door to dressage training, classical or competition.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of establishing a horse's base -- it's a make or break deal. The base cannot be created through avoidance or passivity, treats or hugs. Fight and flight instincts immediately must be identified and confronted head on, using skill and sensitivity. There are no short cuts. Sometimes the process takes only days, sometimes weeks, depending on the horse.

How Full Circle trainers establish a base:

  • Evaluate maturity, health and soundness.
  • Ask the horse to expose the depth of his fight and flight instincts.
  • Use the best method to reach a horse's mind, including ground work, long lining and riding.
  • Correct, repeat and reward to establish proper behavior.
  • Show the horse the always-open door to security and safety.
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