Using Music to Train Your Horse

Horses and music have always been a part of my life but never did I think that music would bind us together and be what we would have in common. Nor did I believe that music would open the door to reading each others minds but it did. Over the years, I have discovered that horses not only listen to music, they respond to music with rhythmic strides. I also found the music increases their desire to work close with me in the training process. At the age of 10, I began training horses for the show arena. I had also studied ballet most of my childhood and planned to be a professional ballet dancer. However, when I reached the age of 18, I had to give up dancing due to an inner ear problem that affected my balance. It was the natural choice to pursue a career in showing horses. I fulfilled my need for dancing by listening to music when I was around the barn. If you should drop by my ranch, you would hear anything from Swan Lake to country music. It wasn't until years later that I started playing music while I trained horses.

One day I was riding and listening to music when I noticed the horse I was riding was keeping tempo to the music. It was uncanny. I wasn't sure if my listening to music was influencing the manner in which I gave the signals that I communicated to my horse or if he was choosing to let the music influence his steps. Perhaps it was a little of both. Whatever it was, I this found unity we were sharing. Then I noticed horse after horse that I rode was responding the same way to the music. I became more creative in my training sessions asking the horse to perform the rhythm or various types of music. What I discovered when I took this approach surprised me.

The horse learned their new elements much faster. They seemed to understand my need to stay within the tempo. It was a marvelous discovery. I experimented and turned the horses loose on their own to see how much I had influenced them. What I learned was amazing. On their own, each horse stepped to the music perfectly like a metronome. Horse after horse, at liberty, ran, walked and trotted in time with the music. The horses demonstrated that they were actively listening to the music and being attentive to the tempo and rhythm.

I have been utilizing music as a training aid ever since. I have found it a perfect tool for my clinics and the rapid learning which occurs when using music is phenomenal. At the end of 3 days, students are able to dance at liberty in a full sized arena almost as well as I do.

Listening to music with horses and speaking to each through the music raises both your spirits to enjoy each moment of the training session. Horses naturally enjoy learning but for many people the process is just a means to an end. Once you understand that the process is the best part of your day, anything is possible.

Music will naturally form a big part of my upcoming Self-Realization Program which is taking place next month. Body language, pecking order movements, the timing of aid and the instincts to know what a horse is thinking are all learned more quickly with the use of music. The music gives a student a realistic picture of what they are accomplishing with their horses plus it creates an inventive mind for them, which all trainers must posses.

Talking of the Program, thank you all so much for the wonderful replies you sent to my recent email about it. I'm so glad you like the sound of it so much and I'm really looking forward to spending time with the wonderful group of people who have already booked. One thing we did notice in the emails though was that many of you said the timing isn't quite right financially. If this is the case and you would still like to attend, please email us and I'm sure we can come up with some sort of plan so you don't miss out.

More on music soon!

Carolyn