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Why Learning from Different Trainers is Detrimental to You & Your Horse’s Progress, Potential & Confidence.

The Many Advantages of Studying One Method - Holistic Horsemanship. (Learn why it teaches you everything you need to know about horses.)

It matters who is teaching, training, handling, and riding your horse.

While we all agree that having a good trainer is crucial, having too many different trainers, teachings, different ways of handling and riding will have a negative effect on your horse, period.

Training methods that do not benefit the horse.

It doesn’t matter what level of experience your horse has. Too much of the wrong thing is not good. In time it will not only undo what you’ve created, it can cause permanent emotional, mental, and physical damage to your horse.

Unfortunately, I experience this more often than I’d like with my students. Whether it’s an email from halfway across the world crying out for help, or someone close enough to bring their horse to me, too many horses (and owners) are getting screwed.

For one, there is a lot of disinformation out there in the equine training industry. Whether consciously intended (bait and switch) or through pure ignorance, there are too many equine professionals calling themselves trainers and instructors.

For starters, I would not take any advice from any equine professional under the age of 35.

I don’t care how smart they are or how talented they are with horses. There’s a difference between book smart and hands-on experience.

While book smart refers to formal education and academic knowledge, hands-on (street smart) refers to practical knowledge gained through experience and the ability to navigate real-world situations effectively.

Hands-on experience takes time and in the horse training business, every good trainer knows the first few hundred horses are sacrificial. Meaning, if you’re going to be any good, you’re going to need to work with hundreds of horses and at all levels of experience before you can even begin to understand horses and develop your skills.

Too many trainers is ineffective and detrimental to your horse

Also, American horsemanship is very different from European horsemanship. The Europeans have a saying about American horsemanship, and it’s spot on – we’re all about quick results.

An example would be American dressage. We call dressage competitive dressage whereas in Europe, dressage is called classical dressage.

So much of it is about mindset. While America is young, impetuous, and free from centuries of tradition, Europe is steeped in deep traditions that are centuries old.

I believe both have much to offer, however, when it comes to developing the horse, slow, steady, and progressive is always right.

Apprentice learning from a trainer. Holistic Horsemanship, Natural Horsemanship

So, this brings us to what an education in horse training means. If you follow the European training system, you are required to go to a university to get your horsemanship degree and then apprentice after until you become certified by the instructor you’ve been studying under.

This is called being a journeyman. The closest thing we have here in the states is our farrier and vet schools. And even then, practice and experience are what gives one the experience needed to become well-rounded and effective at what they do.

In America, however, you can watch YouTube videos, practice on your personal horse until you (and they) look good and call yourself a trainer.

It’s easy to weed out the best trainers in the US. Every one of them shares one common value – education. They know and respect the value of a strong and solid education, one that provides them with the foundation needed to pursue their potential and specialize.

A good quality education means many things. For one, it provides the right amount of training needed to develop you and your horse’s potential.

And developing potential doesn’t happen overnight nor through various training methods and styles. It happens when you follow a method – a curriculum designed to teach you what you need to know to develop yourself and your horsemanship.

“I encourage people who are learning and asking questions to find someone whose mental process they can follow from beginning to end.” - Stacy Westfall


Our horse’s education is just as important as ours. A young, or green horse is impressionable, which means they can be easily confused.

The correct stages of a horse's education (when raised from weanling):

The first stage of learning is called elementary school. (Age: Weanling to 4 yrs) We don’t rush anything during this time. We begin the foundation for shaping behavior and learning with confidence. Education includes basic handling through slow, light, and easy work on the ground. Nothing too repetitive, too long or too complicated. Quality over quantity.

In elementary school, it matters what you teach, how you teach it and who is teaching it - you don’t want more than one person teaching, training or developing a young, green horse. As the saying goes “too many cooks spoil the broth.”

When it comes to young horses, I am very protective. I don’t let anyone else work or ride them. Especially if they don’t follow my training system or method. In the end, my horse comes first so why would I jeopardize their confidence or well-being?

The next stage of equine development is high school. (Age: Typically between 4-8 years) You can go faster, stay longer, and add new things to a horse’s repertoire. A horse doesn’t stop growing until the age of 7 and most horses don’t fully mature mentally until 9 or 10. Again, we don’t rush this stage. The magic here lies in putting in the time and following the curriculum. When you do both, and build a solid foundation, your horse is set for life.

The next and last level of education is college level. (Age: Typically 10+ years) This age depends on the individual horse’s maturity level. If you are following a slow, compassionate, and progressive training system, a horse can be ready for college level academics as early as 8. At this stage you’re ready for refinement, specializing or just enjoyment of the partnership that has been built.

When the foundation is solid, it will last a lifetime.

If you do things right, you can stop developing your horse after high school. Horses are smart and when taught correctly (without stress), they won’t forget a thing.

I learned about all of this when I got back into horses 20 years ago. Mostly through reading about the training systems the great masters of classical dressage followed, and studying many of the great masters, including the late, great master of footfall and flying lead changes, Jack Brainard.

The great masters of horsemanship would agree... creating a foundation with your horse is always the answer, providing easy problem solving and success. Too much advice, too many different methods, and you not only create confusion, you create holes in your foundation. However, when you follow a system, a curriculum, it’s easy to back track, retrace your steps and find the weak or missing link when there is a problem or roadblock. Not to mention, it’s easy to build back even better.

The core principals of Holistic Horsemanship taught at the Tao of Horsemanship

This is why, and how, I developed my own method, Tao of Horsemanship. After years of following various methods and different disciplines, I found the two things that were missing and what makes being successful with any horse: holism and foundation.

While I liked learning from many different schools of thought, styles, and techniques, and believed at the time this would give me the experience I needed to develop my horses well, none of them worked in the long run.

Sure, I learned great tips, techniques, bits and pieces here and there, but as I expanded my knowledge, I needed more tools in my tool box, and the pieces I learned weren’t good enough to carry me forward.

That’s because none of them taught holism - a holistic approach to developing horses and problem solving with ease or the level of education needed to develop a solid and strong foundation in me and my horse.

Foundations are developed through a method, a curriculum and building blocks. The building blocks are the steps, the puzzle pieces, the connecting pieces of knowledge. It’s one thing to learn one lesson, or one way of doing something, like teaching your horse to stop on a light cue. But that one lesson, that shows you how to stop your horse on a light cue, didn’t start there.

Hell no. It started hours and weeks, maybe months before and through a training system designed like a roadmap that lays down the steps to developing a horse that will stop on a light cue.

And that, my friends, is the big takeaway from this. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And a journey of a thousand steps begins with one step.

Strong and solid foundations take time and the correct building blocks. They are a product – a result, of following a method and a curriculum that teaches you everything you need to be the best teacher, trainer, and partner for your horse.

The advantages of my Tao of Horsemanship training system are many. For one, you follow a very comprehensive, progressive (step-by-step) and compassionate method. A method that is designed to develop you and your horse together and includes everything needed to develop from the inside out, ground to riding, start to finish, rehab to recovery, novice to pro.

There's nothing out there like my method. It’s that complete and inclusive, and as much about you as it is about your horse.

I can't emphasize how easy it is to develop any horse (no matter what the experience, the trauma, the goals) when you consider the whole horse.

I promise I can teach you how to achieve it all with your horse and in a way that feels great for you both. Join my free miniseries below to begin, or see the full program here.


You are personally invited to join my free 7-Day Holistic Horsemanship Mastery Miniseries where you can experience my groundbreaking and transformational training method for yourself!

Free Holistic Horsemanship Mastery Mini-Series

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Join our FREE 7-Day Holistic Horsemanship Mastery Miniseries to learn why people are saying, "Tao is the way to all things possible with horses,” and the most holistic, empathetic, and effective path to training, re-training, and rehabilitating horses.

If you’ve been searching for a deeper way to be with horses, a better way to train horses and in a connected and safe riding partnership, the Tao of Horsemanship Academy is for you!

With a comprehensive website of holistic horsemanship information, as well as free resources, support and a complete online learning program, you can immerse yourself in the world of consensual partnership with your horse and love the journey as you learn together.

May you always be one with your horse,

Caroline Beste

Founder, Tao of Horsemanship

1 comentario

Hey Caroline and fellow TOH peeps. This is so

Spot on. I haven’t been participating online but rest assured still practicing TOH. I am using a

Cavesson “when they need

Their hand held” but mostly at

Liberty. A jiggle jiggle

Of a

Muscle here and

There in between or a nice stretch of a limb. Love you Caroline!💕🌺🌸

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