Tag Archives: adiva murphy

Natural Horsemanship – How can I get my horse to move away?

Horseman's Stick

Adiva Murphy and Pal


Question: So when they try to knock into you what is the next step? I haven’t quite figured out how to work the stick yet but I have been using my lunge line.

Answer: Get familiar with that stick – it is your new best friend. I used to stumble along with the rope for years because I felt it was too much to handle having a stick in my hand, but once you realize you use it like a longer arm….it is FANTASTIC!

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Help – my horse won’t trailer! How can I get him into our trailer?

Horse loading into angle haul trailerQuestion: We have been having some MAJOR PROBLEMS trailering my horse preacher. He is an x-racehorse and hates to load on a trailer. We’ve tried everything people told us to try. He got on there a couple of times but thats all. Tuesday my mom went over there and fed him in the trailer and when we got there a friend (Jason) went into the trailer nervous and scared. When he started to tie him up Preacher went BAZERK and Jason started to freak and get loud with him. I know you’re probably not supposed to get loud. So how can you get him from being non trailer shy and get that horse onto the trailer so I can go to my lessons and shows? He’s a real sweet boy.

Answer from April Reeves: Your problem is serious and difficult to fix unless you are skilled in groundwork. Your friend Jason did not help either. There is no excuse to raise your voice to a horse, and doing so just set you back. I’m always the type of person to tell it truthfully – loading a difficult horse is a dangerous thing to attempt without experience.

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What is Parelli and should I consider buying a Standardbred or Thoroughbred?

Pat and Linda Parelli - Love, Language and Leadership

Pat and Linda Parelli - Love, Language and Leadership

Question: Hi April: I have a couple of questions:

1) What is Parelli training?

2) Where can I read more about Parelli?

3) What are your thoughts on getting a horse from one of the accredited horse rescue facilities?

4) I am 5’4″ 170 lbs and am interested in getting a horse in a year or two. It has been recommended to me to get a thoroughbred 10-20 yo. How about a Standardbred? I am taking beginner lessons, I was an avid rider 40 years ago. I am 58 yo and on a weight loss program. My reward will be a horse after a couple years of lessons for pleasure riding and to maybe learn very, very novice dressage for my own pleasure and dropping 30 lbs. Your advice and comments are appreciated. Thank you.

Answer: First, I have to say good for you! Getting back on a horse is a big dream, and good for you to be brave enough to do it. Owning a horse will help in your other goals, especially for strength and mental happiness. Horses do so much for us.

Parelli Training
The system of Parelli training is to work with your horse on his level; meaning that you, the human, must learn his language and speak to him in his language. This includes body language, voice (lack of it), mannerisms, and ‘play’.

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Can a Dressage rider benefit from Natural Horsemanship?

WarmbloodQuestion: I have been a traditional English rider for almost 30 years now. I am currently at level 2 dressage, but hope to go higher with this horse. I have also ridden the hunter circuits.

My question to you is I have no real information on how Natural Horsemanship works with the English riders. My dressage gelding right now displays some rather undesirable manners. Would learning NH help us, and is there a way English traditional riders can learn this. I’m not interested in the ‘cowboy’ way.

My trainer is also curious about whether or not NH could be integrated into our programs.

From April Reeves: Thank you for this question! Yes, Natural Horsemanship can and should be a part of all English disciplines, and especially so since many of the horses are much larger and full of personality.

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My horse spooks. I speak nice, but it’s not working. What should I be doing?

Horses ask us to step up and lead with confidence

Horses ask us to step up and lead with confidence

Question: I have a mare she gets spooky when leading sometimes. My friend told me to speak softly and quietly and pat her when she is like this but she is just getting worse. Should I be nice to her, speak nice? It seems to make her worse. Why is this happening? Does she not like me anymore?

Answer from April Reeves: Here is a classic example of humans expecting the horse to react and think the way we do. Let’s break this scenario down into how each is thinking at the point where your mare spooks:

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How should I keep horse from eating grass on the trail?

Adiva Murphy


Question: We’ve been doing a lot of road riding lately so the ditches and the grass is very long. We of course have some trouble keeping the horses from snacking all the way. Jenny is finding that her horse who is quite poky anyway is getting slower and likes to stop to eat. That means that she is either always pulling on his face or kicking or both. This causes him to get a little nervous because I am not sure if he knows what he is doing wrong. On our broke horses we have always just had the thought that if they could grab a bite and keep going no big deal. Is this the best answer or should we be approaching this differently. I don’t want our rides to always be a fight and when the grass is so long it is hard for them to not want to eat. Any suggestions?

Answer: Well it is pretty easy to stop it…you need to make it a rule that they are not allowed to eat at all. I am firm about this with my horses because it is annoying and I don’t want to pull on their face.

Here is what I do and recommend:

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Why does my horse run me over with her shoulder?


Intoducing Pal to the Horseman's Stick

Intoducing Pal to the Horseman's Stick

Question: I know how to get them to get their hind end away from me but what do you do when they want to run you over with their shoulders?

Answer: Mares especially will do this. You need to use the stick to be most effective. Start by being in front of her and tapping the ground between her front legs…that won’t get a response but you need a cue and a phase 1 – tap harder so it runs into her and start escalading higher until there is a try to move back. A TRY. Build on this until they are taking at least one step back and taking it RIGHT NOW. Remember to stop the pressure when you get the response you are looking for. When this is really good with the stick you can toss the rope rhythmically at the MIDDLE of the chest and it will have the same effect. (or your hand tapping the shoulder from the side etc…)

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