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The Wild Horse Project

  • Writer's pictureChloe Phillips

How to train a Wild Horse?

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

Over the last ten years, I have worked with hundreds of wild horses. The spark and curiosity that first drew me to try my hand at taming a wild are still as strong today as it was over 10 years ago. The first milestones with wild horses are a type of magic that never loses its sparkle. Now with thousands of hours of experience behind me, I’m happy and confident in my approach to working with these amazing animals. However, when I started and the very first truckload of wild horses were on their way to me, I remember that mix of excitement, nervousness and trepidation. I had an idea of how I was going to work with these horses, but I didn’t yet know if it would work.

I asked the question " How do I train a wild horse?" and never found anything helpful. My research online and asking respected horsemen about the process hadn’t turned up anything very encouraging. Other than “the stallions will try to kill you” it wasn’t a promising start. Words like respect and dominance were also thrown about a lot and how you really needed to ‘show the horse whose boss’. I doubted with my size that I’d really be able to show a stallion whose boss or use physical strength to tame it. I didn’t want that anyway, I wanted an equine partner, the same as what I had in my top competition horses. So I set out the intent to create a partnership and hoped my ideas would work.

Luckily they did and I managed to create the relationship and foundation training I had been hoping for with my very first wild horses. From there over the next few years I quickly started being sent a lot of unhandled horses. Wild ones people were having trouble taming, as well as domestic horses that had somehow never been trained and were on their way to becoming wild. I got to recognise familiar patterns and problems that popped up again and again.

  • Horses they couldn't get near

  • Terrified horses with a high flight reflex

  • Aggression

  • Impossible to catch

  • Unable to get them engage or respond to training

People were trying hard but not succeeding, losing interest, becoming intimidated or just realising that they didn’t have the necessary skills for the challenge. Horse problems are always people's problems. Whether it took days, weeks or months of failure before they were sent to me, the horses were usually easy to get back on track. It was the people that needed help the most. People weren't failing because they were inherently bad they just needed guidance. My heart went out to them because like me they started with a dream of taming a wild horse and for whatever reason, were ending up with a nightmare. Fast losing confidence in themselves or the horse. I didn't like seeing people fail and I wanted to help.

Before long I had so many wild horses and not enough hours in the day to keep up with the work. Also, I felt people were missing out on the magic and joy that comes with taming and forming a partnership with these animals when it was just me doing the training and handing them back a well-behaved tame horse. Wild horses have a lot to teach us about horse behaviour and the skills developed working with them apply to any type of horsemanship and level of riding. I was and to this day still am, constantly asked " how do you train a wild horse?"

This is where the idea of a Wild Horse Masterclass came from. I wanted to help answer that very question. While at the same time creating a resource and library to provide people with the skills and confidence to tame a horse themselves. Helping them to avoid the same old pitfalls and problems I was seeing time and time again in the horses that were sent to me.

If I could hep answer this question and share my training methods, I hoped it would mean happier horses and more confident handlers a win-win situation. I had one other goal too, the more people with the skills to work with wild horses the more horses could be saved each muster!

So here we are today with the Masterclass. My "how to guide" for taming wild horses. I aimed to provide simple step-by-step lessons taking people through the process themselves. From the first moment, they step in the pen with the horses through to haltering and advanced work. The Masterclass is based on my training philosophies and principles that I think are most important. Developing a partnership with the horse, a shared language, a horse that trusts you and the skills to help you realise your dreams.

If there are people out there wondering if they should take on a wild horse for the first time and want to know what to expect and to start.Now with the Wild Horse Master Class I can help guide them through it. I know what I was looking for when I first started and I created this course with that in mind. Together I hope we can help save even more of the world's amazing wild horses.

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