How do you achieve a peaceful partnership with your horse? (Part I)


Why can’t I get my horse to listen to me all the time and do what I want?

Is the $64,000 question I get in one form or another all the time, which is why I set out to help answer it in these 6 short lessons.

I’m going to go over lessons 1-3 in this post and then you can continue to lessons 4-6 right after.

So these first 3 lessons cover the following:

  1. The #1 reason why most horse enthusiasts struggle to achieve their dreams with their horse
  2. Why most training methods are trailing behind the latest findings from equine science and what this means for you and your horse
  3. How you can connect with your horse, just as horses do with each other in a herd, even if your horse ignores you sometimes

When I speak with my students about it on the phone or at my clinics, they think that if they could just do what they see the big-name trainers do then it will solve all their problems.

Unfortunately, this thinking is flawed on 2 accounts which we’ll look at in lessons 1 and 2.

Then we’ll look at a much better way to approach that $64,000 question in lessons 3-6.

So here’s the first reason why copying the big-name (usually male) trainers won’t work.

#1 – Men and women have very different energies.

I’m sure you’ve witnessed examples of this. When it comes to handling horses, men are generally able to force their will on the horse and get it to comply. And when women try the same thing, it doesn’t always have the same results. This is also an older school of thought on how to get a horse to do what you want. I was trained this way 45 years ago.

I’m not saying that men mistreat horses and women don’t. And I’m not saying that male trainers are all forceful. I’ve seen good and bad male and female trainers. And I’ve trained with some great male and female trainers.


I’m just saying that men and women have different energies when working with horses. And sometimes when a woman is trying to imitate how a male trainer is working with a horse, it doesn’t have the same results.

It’s a lot more general than what you’re thinking. Let’s not get caught up in the minutia. It’s simply because they don’t have the same energy. I’ve seen women imitate other women trainers and do ok. It’s all about the energy.

But I’ve also seen women try to force their will on their horse because they were told they needed to show the horse who’s boss. Some of those women got too forceful and some were too timid. The perception was that they just weren’t doing it right, like the trainer had showed them (male or female).

They were trying to imitate what they had been shown, without thinking about the energy behind it and the reasons behind why they were doing it.

But getting tough, pushy, or hitting your horse is not something we ladies particularly like doing, hopefully. At least, I don’t. So, if you’ve been struggling with your horse, it may be because you haven’t been given the right tools for the job.

In my research, the #1 reason why most people I’ve spoken to struggle with their horse is because they’ve been trying to use an approach that doesn’t suit their natural style or their personality.

Let me give you an example from one of my students who said:

And this automatic “buckaroo” reaction is very easy to fall into because we see and hear it all the time, which leads us on to the 2nd big barrier preventing people from achieving a close connection with your horse.

How many of the following have you been told?

  • Be the alpha with your horse
  • Get your horse’s respect
  • Force your horse to do what you want
  • A horse should be submissive

I’m guessing you’ve heard these at one time or another, but guess what? Well, they have all been discredited by equine science.

Have you ever felt like you knew what your horse was feeling?

That’s because both horses and women are, on the whole, sensitive creatures. They have a similar energy.

Women generally use their feelings to guide their reactions more than using hard facts and logic.

We don’t appreciate being pressured into things and neither do our horses. That’s not the way to get the best results out of us and it’s not the way to get the best out of our horses either. If I don’t like it, why should I expect my horse to?

I hope lightbulbs are going off in your head right now. Because this shift in thinking away from forcing your horse to align with your will, makes all the difference in the world. So let me just take a few minutes now to tell you a story so you can see how this all fits together and why just following whatever everyone else does (including the gurus) is not necessarily the right answer for you and your horse.

#2 – Following false prophets

Like most young horse people, I did everything my trainers told me too but often I didn’t get the results I was seeking. My horses did what I wanted most of the time, but it was spotty and inconsistent.

The biggest issue I had was my feelings. I wanted to feel loved by my horse. I wanted to feel his excitement to see me and his desire to want to do things with me because it was me, not because I had food. One trainer actually told me that I was too sensitive.

Following my accident, I started looking around for answers and my academic curiosity led to me reading scientific studies on wild horses.

It was in these papers that I first discovered the truth that much of what we’re taught about horses is not backed up by the scientific findings of how they naturally operate.

I studied these reports as much as I could and then added some insights and methods from my background in behavioral psychology.

This approach combined with the time we had spent together during my recuperation meant my 2 boys started relating to me in a totally different way. Both Jazz and Apollo started showing trust, respect, excitement, and love beyond anything I had ever experienced before.

They wanted to be with me, without food being involved. I could tell they really enjoyed our time together.

By using these natural horse behaviors, I had suddenly tuned into their wavelength and my 2 boys could see that I finally ‘got it’. From there, things just got better and better.

So, if you’ve been struggling to reach your goals with your horse, then I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned from my research that can help you too. Because everything I’ve studied and everything I’ve experienced with horses up to now has left me in no doubt…

#3 – Communicate with your horse in ways he can understand

You need to start communicating with your horse on his terms, not yours, in order to achieve the trust and connection you really want.

What I’d like to do is provide you with the shortcut I wish someone had given to me.

It’s a process so simple and so effective, you’ll wonder why no-one ever told you about it before.

OK, so where do we start?

The answer lies with the ‘5 Stepping Stones To Connection’ which you can download by clicking the link.

I’ll walk you through it.

The first stage of this journey starts with a Conversation and speaking a language your horse can understand.

This is the language of the herd.

What you are trying to achieve is a 2-way conversation with your horse so you can put him at ease so he can begin to trust you.

Teddie Ziegler Horsemanship

So, before you go anywhere near the stables, you must clear your mind of all distractions so that you can go in with a singular Intention – to be there with your horse.

We all know that horses are prey animals and continuously scan their surroundings for danger and possible predators.

So, if you blunder into your horse’s space with your mind elsewhere and no idea of what you are going to do, his alarm bells are going to start going off because he can’t get a clear read on your intentions.

Therefore, when you are together, do just that. Be together. Be there for your horse.

Start off with the right Intention.

After that comes Attention.

Whenever your attention is not on your horse and what you are doing together, you are demonstrating this with your body language.

One of the rules of the herd is to watch out for each other and if you are too preoccupied with your ego-driven desires, then your horse knows he can’t rely on or trust you.

And if he can’t trust you, he will be very suspicious of anything you ask him to do. Plus, he will seek to protect himself by staying away from you – the exact opposite of what you want!

However, when you visit your horse with your mind clear and you are paying attention, then you are fulfilling your next role in the herd and that is Protection.

So, this first stage of your journey, Intention, Attention, and Protection. These are the minimum requirements for your entry into the herd.

When you give your horse the sense of well-being, belonging and protection he needs, this will help you not only on the ground, but it will also help keep your horse focused on you when you ride too.

Here’s what Jean had to say about following this process:

Give these a try along with lessons 4-6 which you can read all about by clicking the link below…


Please Share

  • So good to be reminded of this. Thanks, Teddie

  • Bonnie Beresford says:

    Hi Teddy, I have just booked a call with you for Sept. 1, the earliest I could. My mare Folly died suddenly in May, and after wondering whether to get another horse, I realized how dumb it was to think I could live without one.

    A few days ago I bought a 3 year old Paso Fino mare and moved her to the boarding stable I use, which has THE best owner/manager I have ever known in my long life.

    I have such a long background with you that of course I have been sharing territory with her and the herd since I got her here 3 days ago. Now i need to plan how to go forward, and I could really use the guidance of someone I know and trust. That's you!

    I do NOT have any problems with her yet and I really want to be sure I start off right with her, and you are the only person I know who I believe will give me the best guidance.

    I hope it's OK that I booked a call for a horse with no problems – so far – but it is crucial to me that I get us off on the right path . She may be my last horse, as I am now (gulp) 74 years old, and with many arthritic joints, I don't move fast.

    So I know that your methods and your advice will be the most sensible way for me to begin my life with her. Your workshop in California in 2012 was the highlight of my horse journey, unforgettable in so many ways. I am so glad that you and I connected again online through your website and that I have been able to read your offerings and experiences.

    Thank you for being patient and consistently encouraging with all your followers. You don't know this but since 2016 I divorced, moved from Canada back to my native Minnesota and remarried, which is why I often could not participate in so many of your offerings. Now I have the time and a horse who needs me. And we need you.

    I so look forward to our conversation, so eagerly!

    Kindest Regards,

    Bonnie Beresford

    • Bonnie, I am so sorry for your loss. I completely understand. You said it so perfectly when you said you couldn’t live without a horse. I agree whole heartedly.

      I can’t wait to talk to you again Bonnie. I’m so glad you booked a call. You don’t have to have a problem to call me. We can just chat about what you’re doing, your progress, and what direction you would like to go with your horse. I’d love to help with whatever you need. 🙂

      Warmly, Teddie

  • Hey Teddie. How interesting to read about the different energies a male and female give off. It had never occurred to me before.

    Since I have been following your courses and learning to "listen to my horse," we have had some lovely moments of connection that I would never have had if I had stayed on my path of go, go, go. Grab my horse, groom and out for a ride. These days my rides are much more leisurely.

    Thank you for all your insight, Teddie. This year has been a little different to past years as I am working part-time and studying part-time so I don't have as much time with my horse as I would like sometimes, (combined with being in winter) but am looking forward to completing the Recess with your horse course in the coming weeks which hopefully will bond us a little more 🙂

    All the best

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