“He’s spooking to get out of the work! Just kick on! KICK ON!” I have heard that, or something similar dozens of times. Dozens of times I have done it myself. I just kicked on. But it does not work for every horse and my horse Biasini is one of the horses it does not work for.
Two years ago when I bought Biasini from Belinda Trussell she told me it did not work for him and I took that to heart. She also recommended a book: Horse Behavior and Training by Linda Tellington-Jones. Belinda had done Tellington work with Biasini and found it had made a huge difference to him. He is a talented and generous horse but had suffered from nervousness caused by any change in his visual surroundings. If there was a new chair in the arena or the judge’s tent flaps in the show ring this would result in spooks. Not the rearing, leaping, bucking and gazelling across the arena spooks but the dead stop, heart pounding spooks. If Tellington had helped Biasini I decided to learn about it and I got the book.
The book is very well organized and easy to use either as a straight through read or as a “consult specific exercises when needed”. Divided into three parts it starts with an introduction to the Tellington method; how it started and where it is today, then in Part Two discusses in detail the common behavioral, training and health issues that we face with horses and Part Three is a large section that contains illustrated and step by step instruction on the Tellington T Touches, the ground exercises and ridden work. The illustrations are excellent and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. I knew nothing of the Tellington method and I found it easy to follow in the book and then put it into practice with Biasini.
My copy of the book has marker tags on many pages for my favourite and most helpful exercises for Biasini. He is now a much more relaxed and confident horse and I revisit the exercises on a regular basis. This year at the shows in Florida, despite considerable atmosphere and movement Biasini was calm and focused I think Belinda was right that the Tellington method was a turning point for him and I am glad I have this book to help me carry on with it.
If you have a horse that spooks, bites, is hard to catch, suffers from separation anxiety, or fears the vet then this book has some solutions for these and many other problems that you can try. “Horse Behavior and Training” offers solutions to many common problems that do not involve just kicking on, threatening, or intimidating the horse. I would whole heartedly recommend it for any horse owner.