Horsin Around
Photo Credit: NBanaszak Photography

Horses give to us in countless ways. We play, learn and grow with them, making horseback riding not merely a sport (which it truly is, like no other), but so much more. Here are forty-two ways that you can interact with a horse!


1. Give your horse a great grooming session and focus especially on his sweet spots!

2. Teach your horse to bow/lie down/count/"target"/hug.

3. See if you can get your horse to come to you - at walk, then trot, then canter!

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4. Get your horse to leave you when you ask him to.

5. Do shoulder-in/travers/half-pass/medium!

6. Go for a strong and exhilarating gallop.

7. Go to a horse show just for the fun of it.

8. Hang out in the pasture.

9. Listen to the horses munching on their hay during a quiet moment at the barn.

10. Give your horse a good sniff!

11. Join a musical riding group.

12. Bake some homemade horsey treats.

13. Witness the grace and beauty of horses running in the pasture.


14. Figure out how to teach him how to respond to a pull on a lead rope.

15. Always keep safety first.

16. Learn the aids for specific movements.

17. Keep your horse (and yourself?) straight(er).

18. Develop better timing or your aids.

19. Lighten your aids and get the same or better responses.

20. Feel your way to doing nothing on horseback.

21. Study the biomechanics of equine movement.

22. Learn all about good equine nutrition and care.

23. Go to a show to meet goals and become better at what you do.

24. Use a better outside rein.

25. Ride mostly from your seat.

26. Show your horse the way to his "happy place" while riding.

27. Find true "forward".


28. Develop your confidence as you begin to believe that you can work in tandem with such a magnificent animal.

29. Be humble when things don't go your way.

30. See the bigger picture in the long run.

31. Understand that the horses rely entirely on your hard wok for their well-being - despite how much work it may be.

32. Develop your own consistency and stability of character.

33. Stay calm in tense situations.

34. Laugh at yourself or at your (lack of?) performance.

35. Become gracious in your successes.

36. Mature into a strong sense of security and self-sufficiency.

37. Be patient and wait for the horse (and yourself?) to develop.

38. Figure out that the path is just as important as the end goal.

39. Live in the moment. Revel in the simplicity of life.

40. Let go of instant gratification.

41. Develop empathy and compassion.

42. Become a horse listener!

Finally! The Ultimate Rider-Centered Program!

Ready for something completely different? If you liked what you read here, you might be interested in the new Horse Listening Practice Sessions. 

This is NOT a program where you watch other people's riding lessons. Start working with your horse from Day 1.

Click here to read more and to join one of the most complete programs on the Internet!


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  1. I like the March 11 article, “42 ways to play, learn and grow…” Do you have any suggestions as to how to teach a horse to bow/lie down/count/”target”/hug? Thanks. Love your blog!

    1. Thanks so much! Just pop onto YouTube and search for any of the tricks. Lots of people have uploaded videos – just be picky and choose the method you think is kindest to the horse!

    2. I have found that training with a clicker has helped me to strengthen the bond with all the horses I have worked with over the years. Horses learn so much more quickly when they are offered a food reward. All of my horses are always happy to see me and that’s what I love so much about it! 🙂

  2. Thank you for the generosity of your posts. They are great and encouraging and challenging, both of which are good. Appreciate the time and knowledge yo share.