I offer finishing training for arena horses and occasionally trail horses, though I can make a recommendation for a trainer that can make a well broke beginner safe trail horse better than I can. My niche is in the arena.

For the arena horse, the first step in my program is to get the horse soft and supple, flexing laterally and then progressing to vertical flexion. This aids in the headset that I also work on. Also for arena horses, I spend time working on leg yields such as spins (pivots on the haunches), and sidepassing. Lots of time working on a great whoa, fluid circles, comfortable gaits, leads, and transitions are included for arena horses. Neck reining and backing softly is something I teach all of them. I include exposure to obstacles such as water puddles, bridges, and possibly even flags and dragging logs. Arena horses are lightly trail ridden throughout their training, and I can put a good foundation on a trail horse. I can finish a horse with an aim for pleasure or recreational riding, trail riding, or barrel racing and pole bending.
Lateral flexion is the key to vertical flexion, and vertical flexion is necessary for a good headset. This is an Arabian mare proving that Arabs don't have to be high headed. I have tons of pictures of this mare with a headset that would make Quarter Horses jealous. I like to get my horses nice and soft, so they give their nose every time you pick up on the reins. This aids in collection, stopping, backing, and overall control.
Spinning...like a reining horse, is hard to accomplish. But pivoting (a spin, but slower), is easier to teach and something I find incredibly effective for teaching a horse to stay straight in a back up, keep his shoulder up, or change the size/shape of a circle. It's also a necessity for sidepassing. This is a client's 3 year old gelding, who I had already trained to neck rein, pivoting as I ride him one handed.
I just love a horse that sidepasses - this is effective for any horse, whether you want to move your horse to the other side of the trail to avoid a branch, open a gait, or teach him leads, the sidepass is an excellent tool. Pivoting on the forehand and pivoting on the haunches are the key to getting a horse to pick up on this quickly.
Backing up is something I teach all of them immediately, but with time, patience, and consistency, I like to teach them to back up quickly, engaging their hindquarters and staying soft on the bit. I don't want the horse's nose in the air, dragging the feet, and backing up crooked. The forehand and hindquarter yields help to keep the horse straight, the vertical flexion helps keep the horse's body framed up and his butt engaged. Once you have all these tools you can back him straight, back him in a circle, in an L, or anyway you desire. This is the same Arab mare shown above...by the time I finished her she was a backing machine, you could just think about moving her shoulders one way or the other and she was right on it, she backed up just as nice as she went forward.
Whoa! Next to the sidepass, there's nothing I love more than a horse that stops when you say whoa, or stops when you sit deep in the saddle. My horses all know to whoa when I "quit" riding. A hands free whoa like this is a great way to slow or stop your horse if your rein or headstall breaks, or if you're relaxing in the saddle at a show, eating a hamburger and your horse starts to walk off. No one likes to run into the gate or have his horse lean on his hands - teaching a horse to stop softly and willingly is important to have a safe riding horse. Many of my horses learn to sit down and slide a few feet - without sliding plates. Sure makes it easy to develop rate on a barrel horse, and speed control and gait transitions on all horses. This is my own gelding Romeo, as a 3 year old.
All of my horses spend time trail riding to keep their minds sane, and expose them to scary obstacles. This is a client's gelding that I finished as a trail horse. I had trained him to neck rein by this point and he had overcome his fear of water.
Along with puddles, I spend a lot of time taking my horses aross obstacles such as tarps and bridges. This is an 11 year old stallion after less than 30 rides, preparing for his Ultimate Cowboy Challenge outing.
This is the same stallion learning to pull a log, something I practice by request. Essential for a trail or ranch horse.
This is the 3 year old gelding pictured above, neck reining and carrying a flag for the first time. I put some training on him as a 2 year old and had the priviledge of finishing him as a 3 year old. Flag carrying is done by request.
Once again, this is the Arab mare above. She is neck reining here, maintaining her headset, trotting quietly and contently.


I can start a horse on barrels or perfect his pattern. This is my gelding Romeo as a 5 year old. He runs a real nice pattern but still needs time in the showpen to ease his anxiety. This is the case with many horses. I can put the training on them, but it'll be up to you to put the miles on 'em.
I have started a lot of horses as trail horses and spent 30 to 45 days putting trail miles on them. I have tons of terrain to expose them to, we spend time riding with others and riding alone. I can certainly put a solid foundation and several initial trail miles on your horse, but if you are looking for a die hard, dead broke beginner safe trail horse, I can put you in touch with a trainer that can do that for you. My specialty is in the arena, I don't particularly love spending endless hours on the trail.


Ultimately what I aim for when starting or finishing any horse, is a quiet individual, relaxed and happy to work. My goal is always a horse that's not hot, anxious, nervous, or the opposite - lazy, and resilient.
Just as with ground training and starting, reward and respect from the rider is crucial at any stage of training and riding. I spend tons of time praising my horses and allowing them to rest. It's not all about work. If the horse isn't enjoying his job, he won't be much fun to ride. Through all the groundwork, starting, and finishing training, my horses are always friendly, easy to catch, confident, willing, and compliant in everything I ask them to do.






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