The ups and downs of training young horses

  1. Lisa Barry
  2. Perseverance
  3. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Different Bits
  4. That feeling when…
  5. ‘Tis the Season…
  6. Fitness Training a Must for Event Horses
  7. Patience is a virtue
  8. The ups and downs of training young horses
  9. Is this the beginning of a beautiful partnership?
  10. Thankful for Wonderful Friends
  11. The Art of Failure
  12. This is a crazy new world.

When riding young horses it’s a journey of ups and downs. Last blog, I wrote about how thrilled I was with a certain young horse of mine. This blog, I’m writing about hitting the dirt off of that very same horse.

In general with young horses, especially ones off the track that come with baggage, every day is different. Most days you feel like you’re riding and training a completely different animal every time you get on. Some days they are lovely and sweet and remember all the things you’ve taught them, and some days they act like they’re fresh off the track and don’t even have a brain in their heads. It’s tricky and complicated and sometimes downright infuriating.

Today it was all of that and a sucker punch to the gut! I’ve had this talented young horse for over six months now and although we go forward we also go backwards. Today was actually a very good training ride, for the most part. On my very last attempt at cantering to the left without any excessive flailing etc., something spooked him and we went launching across the field. Rearing, spinning and bucking came next. I pride myself on my stick-ability, but all of that in a dressage saddle on a semi-feral young horse and I was in the dirt.

I found myself slightly discouraged, slightly p.o.’d and slightly wondering how I could have seen it coming and prevented it. The reality is, I don’t think I could have. Young horses with baggage are sometimes volatile. What I do have to do is remember this horse’s past and do my best to keep my emotions out of the training process. As difficult as that is, it’s important. He’s incredibly talented and athletic to a fault. I’m determined to stick it out and conquer his demons! Stay tuned…


This post is sponsored by Lisa’s product pick for the month: Ker-a-Form™

Ker-a-Form is my favorite hoof and coat supplement! Not only does it produce healthy skin, shiny coats and strong hoof walls, but it’s also palatable and easy on the wallet!”

Lisa Barry, FEI 5* Event Rider and Trainer

About Lisa:

Lisa Barry is a five-star event rider who has been riding and competing horses for 29 years, and has 16 years of international competition experience. Her horses have had top placings at many FEI events including at the Advanced/CCI4*/CCI5* level. Lisa has trained with Karen O’Connor for 25 years, and has worked for and ridden with Karen and David since she joined the O’Connor program as a working student when she was 17. Lisa competed at the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event aboard her beloved FIS Prince Charming, aka “Peanut,” a tiny, feisty New Zealand OTTB. Lisa is currently training and coaching out of Lexington, Kentucky and Ocala, Florida. If you have questions for Lisa or would like to learn more about her program email her at

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