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Leadership through Awareness

- December 2nd, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

A client whose horse I had in training some time ago returned for follow-up instruction. After watching me work with her horse for a few minutes, she made the observation that he respected me more than her. She said that when she took him home from training, he was attentive and respectful, but after a period of time, she lost it, Now she wanted to know how to get it back.

How do you get respect from your horse? You have to lead. What exactly does it mean to be the leader that your horse is looking for?

Character vs. comfort

- November 8th, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

Character is forged when you dare to leave your comfort zone. It is built by being aware and true to who you are, by reaching to be better than you were yesterday, by having a willingness to grow, and by doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

Working with horses has always been a source of inspiration to know better, to be better. As quoted by Robert Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company: “to know what I don’t, and trust what I do know.”

Well-broke horses take time

- October 1st, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist


There are some youngsters who sail through the training program, and they are what I call “born broke.

They take each step easily and with confidence, and their progress is measurable each day. They can be ridden within the first couple of weeks of their arrival. They’ve been handled properly all their life, carried a saddle, ponied and introduced to new locations and environments.

And then there are the others, the ones that take more time. I’ve had a number of these over the years and these are the ones that have taught me the most. I have committed each one to memory, both successes and setbacks alike. I’ve learned when to be more creative in getting a step introduced, how to listen, and especially patience. These are the ones that have taught me the most in how to develop feel for different situations. I’ve learned it takes time. There are no shortcuts. Just as in life, there will be setbacks. But even in the setbacks, you learn.

Tools of the Trade

- September 3rd, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

The round pen: A great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

The round pen has been an invaluable training aid for me over the years. It offers a confined space (60 feet) to safely start colts as well as to resolve dangerous behavioral issues like rearing, bucking and bolting. It has its purpose, it is a training aid just as the snaffle or driving reins are training aids.

But, just like any aid, it isn’t meant to be overused or lived in. If you stay in there too long it can work against you.

It depends…

- August 1st, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

My first initial response to most questions asked that relate to various behavioral issues is, “it depends.”

There is no pat answer that applies for starting colts or resolving issues. The many variables are broad and wide-ranging.

Take this trailer-loading issue:

A young horse has been purchased and loads in the trailer willingly, without any issues. As time progresses under the new ownership, the horse begins to refuse to load. The resistance increases with each attempt. After considerable time and effort, the owner experiences only momentary success after endless coaxing brings forth just enough forward movement to get all four feet inside the trailer. However, relief is short-lived. When reaching to tie the lead rope, the youngster bolts out backward. They return to square one. The owner’s confidence is undermined, and frustration seeps into all further efforts. The plans to be somewhere are derailed.

What’s the fix? Well… it depends.


If at first you don’t succeed…you’re normal.
—Rick Warren


If your training is producing unwanted results, or if you gave a less-than-stellar performance at the last show, congratulations—you’ve just learned what doesn’t work.

I believe failure occurs when people blame. By blaming, the only pay-off will be attracting other people to your circle who also blame.

As Warren says in the first sentence of his book, The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about me.”

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

According to author and motivational researcher Carol Dweck, Ph.D. of Stanford University, there are two mindsets. Some people think their basic traits are fixed for life. This is just who they are. They are defined by their past insecurities and traits such as shy, cautious, fearful, etc., and are limited by them.

The people who fall into this category are referred to as having a “fixed mindset.” According to her book Mindset, fixed-mindset people cope with failure very differently than the “growth-mindset” people. Fixed-mindset people feel that you are either gifted with ability or you are not. You either win or you lose.If they try something that is out of their comfort zone, they feel awkward and uncomfortable at not performing at a certain level. If they have to struggle with a new concept or skill, that spells failure. They are concerned with the approval of others and fear that showing their lack of ability in a new area will compromise how they are viewed and regarded by their peers. For those with this mindset, the risk of being vulnerable is too great, and often they quit.

Starting a youngster

- May 1st, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist


Whether starting a youngster or working with a troubled horse, training takes time. The minimum time I will take a 2-year-old for starting under saddle is 90 days. The older the horse, add an additional month to the 90 days for each year older than two.

For instance, a 4-year old would need a minimum of five months. Yes, it is an expense—good trainers aren’t cheap (cheap trainers aren’t good). But your youngster’s foundation is not something to cut corners on. If there is a hole in the training, you may not find it tomorrow, but there will be a day that it will make itself known, and hopefully you will not be caught unaware.

Go with the Flow

- April 1st, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

There isn’t one pat answer that will always be effective in resolving an issue the rider is experiencing. What may have worked for you in the past may not work any longer, and you’ll have to come up with a new game plan.

This is a thinking man’s game. All factors need to be considered which includes both the horse and rider together. I do receive a number of texts and emails regarding issues owners have with their horses, and as much as I would love to help, I may not be able to if I am not familiar with how the horse and rider interact together—how they “flow.”

Why we Train

- February 1st, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

I’ve owned Lil’ Joe since he was four years old. Now 25, he was the catalyst for my seeking help that ultimately led to a career change

During the first years of ownership, I allowed some behaviors to go uncorrected. I wasn’t paying attention to the smaller details. He began to balk at my requests in certain circumstances, which developed into more emphatic refusals. Later, his refusals developed into crow-hopping, and the crow-hopping evolved into a buck.

Then one day I hit the ground. Once he had unseated me, every bucking episode from that day forward continued until I came off. He had my attention now.

I kept trying to ride through the behavior, but no improvement was being made. I was taking the issue with me whenever and wherever I rode. It was time to get help.