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Which method?

In days gone by there really only was one way we learned to train a horse, riding lessons, ‘round the world’, ‘half scissors’ and ‘full scissors’ for the more advanced/suicidal (can you tell I was never athletic enough for ‘full scissors?! 🤣)

We led from the left, headcollars and bridles were pretty much the same with a choice of 3 different nosebands and a couple of different bits. If you had them at all, you had 3 rugs a jute stable rug, a canvas New Zealand turnout, a string sweat rug (only blue or red available) and if you were really posh you had a woollen day rug ‘for best’ 👗👒

Fast forward to today and there are countless different programmes and methods (and products). In a lot of cases proponents of these methods will happily tell you all the things that are wrong with what their competitor does and why their method is the best ever and the only one that is right 🤔

The truth is that every single one of these methods will have successful and less successful outcomes. Why? Because each horse and each owner is different.

Whilst the method might be perfect for the horse, if it doesn’t resonate with the owner then it won’t work. Whilst the method might be perfect for the owner if it’s not appropriate for that horse then it won’t work and so on.

I have met owners who had got so hung up on whether what they were doing was ‘right’ or not they became completely ineffective, worrying about what everyone else thought they should do. All they needed was someone to give them the confidence that they were on the right track 😃

There is no one method, there are simply tools and techniques that are appropriate to the situation and quite often there is more than one that will work 👍

So how do you choose? 🧐

Firstly, trust yourself that you know your horse. You are the one that spends time everyday with them 🥰

If the method is invented by one person, watch them, meet instructors, look at their students and decide if you like the results. If you do, fabulous, look more, if you don’t that’s fine to, it’s just not right for you 🤓

You are the one that is going to be applying the method so it must make sense to you!! You are the one training your horse everyday. While you can’t expect to be an expert in one session, if you have no idea how to apply what you’ve learned between lessons/clinics then it doesn’t help 🤷‍♀️

If you are having reservations, listen to that and ask yourself why? Sometimes we can see the middle of a process and not realise that it’s a stepping stone to the outcome but don’t let that persuade you if you’re really thinking it’s not for you ⛔️

Lastly, once you have chosen to learn something or follow a path know that it’s OK to change your mind. You don’t have to be committed for life!!!! 👵

Sometimes we come to a natural conclusion, we feel we have pursued a path as far as we would like to and it’s time for a change

Sometimes things get stale and it’s time to make progress in a different direction, you can always go back to it if/when you want to

Sometimes it’s just time to move on. Moving on doesn’t make the method ‘wrong’ it just means it’s not for you right now 😌

To be fair to the method I believe it’s important to give it a bit of time, at least a few sessions, before rejecting it and moving on as we all need time to learn something new as does your horse.

Often you need a few goes to really get started and if you are under instruction your instructor may need time to really understand you and your horse.

We have never been in a time like this where we have SO much choice, we can learn from people all over the world!!! I love that we have these options and hope that we can all appreciate how great it is that we have the option to do different things as there is no one ‘right’ thing.

At the end of the day, your horse only knows what feels good to him in that moment and what doesn’t. If you are ever in doubt, let your horse be your guide 😊🦄💕


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.

See or 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 without supervision. Riding is a high risk sport.

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