Release Equine

teaching horse sense to horse owners


Interested in learning with Bob? Email;

Private or semi-private lessons - Clinics


Bob's horsemanship style aims to teach horse sense to horse owners(/riders/handlers). While he's summarized this under the six following points, know that there is a vast amount of knowledge to gain and experience when it comes to horses, and many tangents that run off these six points to hundreds of useful tools that should be learned and practiced.

Getting Along

A lot of horsemanship work is unplanned. There is no schedule or script. Working with the horses mind as horse-men and -women means maintaining a narrative with the horse that in essence goes along with them wherever they need to go. A good horse-person is adaptable and flexible, with an ever expanding tool box of techniques, methods and exercises to simply and subtly influence and encourage the horse to go where you would like it to go. Yes, we could all demand something from a horse, but wouldn't you rather get along with them as though they were the living, breathing, thinking animal that they are? Getting along with a horse means to not go out of your way to upset them; to go with their flow a little so the horse will go with our flow a little; it's a give and take of energy and communications that must go both ways. Sarah groundworking Mysteria, backing at a distance

Staying Aware

Have you ever been having a friendly conversation with someone while holding your horse, and all of a sudden your horse is shoving their way in to the talk and everyone's personal space? This is a classic example of a horse owner not staying aware. We forget that every moment we are with our horses, we are teaching them something. What we teach them is up to us - whether it's good, desirable behaviours, or bad, undesirable behaviours. The easiest way to ensure your horse doesn't learn undesirable behaviours is to stop them before they happen. The only way you can do this is by staying aware of your horse; where their attention is at, what their facial expression is, what their body language is telling you. By paying attention to these things and staying mindful and consistent in your expectations of your horse, any bad behaviour can usually be nipped in the bud. Mysteria waits patiently as Sarah closes the gate.

Reading Expressions

How well do you really know your horse? Can you tell when they're worried and nervous, or when they're relaxed and paying attention to you? One of these states of mind makes for a much better learning experience, and it's not worried or nervous. Reading expressions is something that simply takes time - quality time spent with your horse, paying attention to your horse, being mindful of your horse, whether you're working together or just visiting. Things to look for and take note of could include; the muscles around your horses' eyes and mouth, are they tense or relaxed? Where are their ears pointed? What about their body, are they leaning in to your personal space with their shoulder or hip? Do they have a back leg cocked, relaxed but not ready to work? These are all things to take in to account before you ask anything of your horse, so that you may set them up for success. Fragile and Mysteria keep an ear on Clearly Lovely Photography as they stand at the hitching rail.

Setting Boundaries

Boundaries are so important for our safety! We will not tolerate horses walking all over us, dragging us around by the lead rope, or generally being rude around food, other animals, or people. Horses are very large, heavy, prey animals who can move incredibly quickly when threatened. Boundaries are key to keeping everyone safe, happy, and having a good time. Boundaries will look different for every horse and owner combination. What works with one horse may not work with another, so it's also important to remember your dial when setting and reinforcing boundaries. Some horses need you to start at a 1 and dial up, some may need you to start at a 4 and dial up only to a 6, some situations require an immediate 7 or 8. This is where being flexible and able to read a situation comes in handy again! Just be sure to maintain consistent boundaries to avoid confusion and inadvertently teaching bad habits. Bob and Sarah groundwork their mares at the end of the lead rope.

Following A Feel

Anyone can drag their horse around with a chain over its lip, or tie their head down, or put a rude bit in its mouth. These things achieve the desired result mechanically, but rarely if ever do they achieve the desired result within the horses' mind. Horsemanship is all about working and communicating with the horses' mind to get the message down to the feet, so that the feet may move in a desirable fashion. This is the way Bob has found best to get a job done with a horse. Once the horse knows you're there to work together and with them, things generally go a lot smoother. Even with his trimming clients, Bob would ask to handle the horse for a few minutes. He would show the horse that he could follow a feel by asking them quietly to move their feet in all four directions - but he would time his release early, as soon as the horse shifted their weight. If the horse is already going that way, don't keep pestering them to go that way. Bob opened up the lines of communication in a way that the horse understood, feel. Fragile follows Bob's feel to back up.

Freeing Up The Feet

The ultimate aim whenever we are working with our horses is to have their feet move in a specific way. Whether you're looking for fancy footwork in the dressage arena or chasing cows, the ability to lengthen and shorten strides over jumps, or simply trying to mount your horse without doing the splits as they leave early. Often, horses have worries and concerns about the things we ask them to do - and rightly so, for none of it comes naturally to them. Teaching your horse they have the ability to move all four feet in all four directions no matter what tack they're wearing is always Bobs aim with beginners. It's the foundation every horse should have to work from. In Bobs experience, it is a comfortable freedom these flight animals thrive on. Bob has Fragile step over behind, freeing up her hind end.