Training An Unbroke Horse - The Story of Jewel

Some people think training an unbroke horse is difficult and dangerous. But it doesn't have to be if you are using good methods. And I use John Lyons' methods because they really do work on any horse and I've used them on hundreds of horses.

This is the story of Jewel, an unbroke, 3 year old Paint filly. She had never had a rider on when she came here. She was a typical unbroke horse – the kind I love to train. Why? Because she's a clean slate, no bad habits to overcome and easy to teach good habits.

Now I teach students in our Apprenticeship and Trainer classes how to use these methods to start their own horses.

A friend suggested putting Jewel’s progress on the website so here it is! It won’t always be in real time as it may take a few days to get new photos on the website.

Jewel came to us from a friend who does some rescue work. She rescued Jewel because she had a horrific cut on her hind leg and needed extensive nursing care. After a year of bandaging and medical care, Jewel was ready for a “forever home”. My friend asked if I wanted her and I said, “Nope, I don’t need another horse.” That’s right, we didn’t want her – at first. I’m sure some of you have been there and you know what’s about to happen. Somehow they end up in your barn anyway. Jewel lives here now and is a joy to have around.

The First Ride

Jewel's first ride was quiet and uneventful once I got on. As you'll see from the photos, it wasn't exactly calm the whole time. And at this early stage of training an unbroke horse, that's quite all right and even good in some ways.

The whole process of getting to that calm first ride, and starting with a horse who has no training at all, takes just a few hours and can usually be done in an afternoon.

If you use these methods even remotely correctly, this will be your end result - a very calm ride. The horse is not calm because she is exhausted but calm because she understands what's going on and has been taught not to fear a rider on her back.

Click here to see photos of Jewel's first ride.

The Second Ride

Jewel's second ride was two days after her first ride. The time frame isn't really important. If the horse truly understands something, he'll remember 95% of it for up to 2 years, according to a Texas A&M study. That's an "A"! How many of us could remember that well?

The day of the second ride we took more photos so you could see some of the ground work that leads up to success with the saddle.

Jewel showed us not only her good memory, but her sense of humor!

Click here to see photos of the ground work portion of Jewel's second ride.

Click here to see the riding part of Jewel's second ride.

The Third Day and Later

Jewel's third day of training was several days after the second day. That's when we teach more despooking and confidence building lessons that will help make her a safe, well trained, easy horse to ride and work around. From now on, we ride sometimes and do ground lessons on other days.

We didn't work every day, we worked when it was convenient or when the weather allowed, and sometimes it would even be several weeks between lessons. That's OK, because good training doesn't have to be every day. What's important is having a plan to teach the lessons the horse needs.

Click here to see photos of Jewel's 3rd day and later.

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