If a horse feels the need to bolt, rear, buck, and resists leaving his buddy or the barn, then negative human interaction has caused him to be that way. Don’t blame the horse.

Is your horse a tense, nervous mess? Then it’s some human’s fault.

Is your horse mentally sound and confident? Then it’s some human’s fault.

A horse that easily tolerates a human being on his back and willingly yields to cues with lightness and sureness is the product of positive human interaction.

If your horse has a tendency to buck, there are 4 top reasons why. Find out what they are here: How To Stop A Horse From Bucking

Is The Horse To Blame?

Our tendency is to place the blame anywhere but where it belongs, especially when it comes to horses. A horse naturally just wants to get along and be okay. But when the human steps in without first learning how to communicate with the horse in a way he can understand, things go downhill fast. Then the horse is blamed and unfairly labeled as disrespectful or stubborn.

When a horse is running you over, is inattentive, spooky, and has no speed control, don’t place the blame where it doesn’t belong. I often hear, ‘Well, that’s just him. He’s a Arab, or she’s a mare, or he’s a barrel horse”. But no matter how many excuses we come up with, it’s never the horse’s fault.

Which type of horse do you have? Can your horse check off all the boxes on this Mental Soundness checklist? Find out here: Mental Soundness Checklist

Blame The Approach

For example, I once had someone say that their horse would not let them spray him with a water hose. They were convinced that the horse was deathly afraid of water. But when it rains outside, the horse calmly grazes in the pasture as the rain drops pour down on him.

So, it’s not the water that is the problem. It’s the way the human is exposing the horse to the water. The approach is wrong.

We need to stop blaming the horse and realize that everything a horse does, good or bad, is the result of how a human interacted with that horse. 

It Wasn’t The Horse’s Fault

A horse is the most moldable creature on earth. You can take a lazy horse and make him hot. Likewise, you can take a hot horse and make him dull. With good horsemanship, you can take a ‘crazy and dangerous’ horse and make him into a kids horse.

One of my personal horses is a great example. The story goes that this horse was dangerous and actually attacked people. They were afraid to even be in the pen with him because he would immediately lay his ears back and come after them. He had good bloodlines and the plan was to use him as a barrel horse, but they couldn’t do anything with him. So I offered to buy him for much less than he would have been worth had he been mentally sound, and I brought him home. Today, that horse is the one my little niece rides. He’s the most people-friendly one in the bunch. The moral of the story is, it wasn’t the horse’s fault. He didn’t deserve the blame. Somewhere along the way, this horse had been convinced that the way to be okay was to go on the attack.

Take The Responsibility

If the approach you are using with your horse isn’t working, don’t blame the horse. Change your approach. Take the time and put forth the effort to learn and implement effective communication. Learn how horses think. Understand their basic instincts and use that to your advantage. Try to make your idea become their idea. Apply the fundamental principles of good horsemanship which will work with any and every horse. Above all, become the leader your horse needs. THEN you will have the positive results you want and will have no one to blame but yourself.

For more info about how to change your thinking and approach, go here: Think Like A Horse | The Ultimate Guide.


Carson James
Carson James

Carson James' background is in Vaquero Horsemanship, and for the majority of his career, he worked on cattle ranches where he rode horses all day, every day. His knowledge comes from real life experience using traditional Buckaroo horsemanship to train horses and fix problems. He is now taking all of this knowledge and experience and sharing it with horse owners through his blog, his Insider list, and his Buckaroo Crew. He has a unique way of breaking things down where they're easy to understand, both for the horse and the human.