Horse Training – Have a STAR plan for your horse training

If you are a rider then you you have dealt with having to train a horse. It may be something simple such as walking correctly while being lead or it may be upper level dressage. Either way horse training comes into the picture.

We often come into resistance and what we would call disobedience while horse training. If you actually do a bit of searching you may find your horse is not really disobedient but rather is trying to tell you something or maybe even trained to do – what ever it is which you think is the disobedience. Your horse could be scared, spooked, or may not understand what it is you are asking. To make sure that he’s not just spooked, alarmed, perturbed or confused take a moment to asses the situation.

Take the STAR approach.

  1. Situation – What is the situation you are in. For example my horse was – refusing to go by the in gate. This is the Who/What/Where/When of the situation. Focus on the ‘problem’ you had. Who was riding, was it in training, at a show, on the trail etc.
  2. Task –  Identify the objective. This is key. The fundamental issue you need to overcome. Your horse may be stopping at the ingate (as in the example above), but what is the fundamental issue? Is the horse herd bound, is the horse not listening or reacting to the riders cues? Is the rider not asking correctly?
  3. Action – This is where you describe the action taken to correct the situation.
  4. Results –  What was the result of the action taken?

If you spend some thoughtful time on the situation and the action the results will usually speak for themselves.

Balance the Correction 

English: Horse Training Wattie Adams, exercisi...

English: Horse Training Wattie Adams, exercising one of his horses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, the horse may be trying to find out who really is IN CHARGE. Remember horses are herd animals and will look for their leader. Some horses will often try to be the ‘herd leader’. Make your corrections in balance with the horse.


I had a horse which would run through the doorway and almost crush me. Correcting her by stopping through the door would just cause more anxiety and crushing.

Using the STAR approach –

  • Situation – Leading her through a doorway she scooted and crushed me.

    A Cossack training a horse

    A Cossack training a horse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Task – Is to get her to go calmly through a doorway without crushing the person leading her.
  • Action – I backed her through the doorway rather than leading her through the doorway.
  • Result – She now goes through the doorway calmly (in both directions!).

If you are having similar situations. Take a breather and take some time to get a STAR approach on them.

What situations would you use this simple step by step procedure in your regular riding program to help you and your horse?

Here are some other posts you may find helpful;


About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
This entry was posted in Tips, Training and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.