top of page

The Confident Horse - Playful

If you’ve ever thought your horse puts more effort into NOT doing what you want rather than doing what you want then you probably have a playful horse!!

These horses are an absolute dream when they are putting all that effort into working with you but if they don’t agree with your plan then oh boy, it can be ‘exciting’! Probably more so than you’d like it to be

Some typical signs that you have a confident, playful horse are…

😝 Tossing their head when asked to do something

😝 Lots of playful ‘bounce’ aka airs above the ground when you don’t want them

😝 Biting

😝 Mouthy

😝 Will play with ANYTHING, reins, zips, grooming kit, rugs, basically don’t leave anything in their vicinity!!

Playful horses are generally quite bold but can be easily distracted which can then turn to adrenaline and Flight response (see my previous post on Flight)

The key for these horses is to learn how to work with them as they can really argue otherwise and it can be quite dramatic. They will struggle with lots of repetitions of the same task trying to get something perfect.

This horse thrives on variety and will get bored easily, they are often better hacking out than in the arena as there is more to stimulate them. They are also more likely enjoy activities with a purpose like jumping, polework and cross country. That’s because there is a clear goal for them to put effort into.

So once they’ve done something well a couple of times, go do something else, you can always come back to it later 😉


Before trying any training technique it is important to rule out pain or discomfort. Saddle fit, teeth, back, hoof balance and lameness issues should all be checked by a qualified professional before applying any training.

If you have questions or need idea's to help with a specific problem feel free to get in touch with me on


Lyla has been helping riders and their horses in the UK, USA and Europe for over 15 years. She has prepared horses for crowds of over 6,000 people with no calmers or ear plugs for venues including Birmingham NEC, Aintree, Bury Farm EC and Hartpury.

Lyla specialises in horse psychology and behaviour problems with a specific interest in dressage and has worked with horses from grass roots to Grand Prix across the UK and Europe including international competitors and Olympians from Spain, the US, Canada and the UK.

Email for more details.


All training techniques discussed are from experience only, it is impossible for to accurately advise on horse/rider combinations without seeing them live. Lyla Cansfield & Equine Mind & Body Training strongly advise anyone considering using any of the techniques discussed to get live help and can take no responsibility for the outcome of applying any of the techniques discussed with or without supervision. Riding is a high risk sport.

Featured Posts
Follow Lyla
  • Facebook Classic
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
bottom of page