How to safely put on fly spray

How to safely put on fly spray

Summer heat, long days, and many flies and bugs. How do you protect your horse if they’re afraid of fly spray?

It’s all about teaching your horse the elements that are involved.

Step #1: Give your horse the right foundation

Before you approach with the spray, it’s important that your horse knows how to relax. I use the TRT forms to teach my horseshow to release tension in their body. 

Step #2: Train touch, approach and sound

Fly spray is challenging to horses because it’s a combination of three elements in our human environment that horses can find scary. With the tools, I can introduce each individually and teach my horse how to respond. The TRT forms will guide your horse back to relaxation. 

Step #3: Introduce the spray bottle

Practice the motion of stretching out and pointing the bottle towards your horse without actually spraying. This is also the moment where I touch my horses with the bottle, looking for sensitive and least sensitive spots.

Step #4: Simulate fly spray

Practice the motion of stretching out and pointing the bottle towards your horse without actually spraying. This is also the moment where I touch my horses with the bottle, looking for their most sensitive and least sensitive spots. In those, I simulate the spray by exaggerating the approach and the sound of spray.

Step #5: Spraying!

Repeat all the steps and guide your horse into the TRT forms to release any tension in their body. Soon you’ll be spraying your horse all over!

Watch the video to find out more:

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TRT Rescue – The Horse That Attacks You

TRT Rescue #S1E1

The Horse That Attacks You

In this first episode, we meet a very talented horse that had found out how to scare people on the ground. The horse is attacking people and it is starting to get really dangerous.

Olympic dressage rider Antonia Ramel, has tried all kinds of things to change her horse’s behavior. This is not her first challenge when it comes to dealing with horses with behavioral problems, but this horse is a special case.

During this first episode of TRT Rescue, Tristan takes on the challenge of getting Antonia and her horse back on the right path together. 

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What to do when your horse jumps off the trailer ramp

Does your horse jump off the ramp of the trailer and do you not know how to solve that problem? Follow me as I help a young horse overcome his fears of the ramp.

Teaching your horse to stand relaxed in the cross ties

There are many horses that feel tense and uncomfortable in the cross ties, who don’t want to enter the space, who struggle, who protest. The anxiety can also be disguised – impatient pawing on the floor, weaving or even whinnying.

Does your horse really know the trailer?

Does he really know the trailer?

It is a question I often ask myself.

‘He is just missing parts of information that he needs to know how to be relaxed about traveling.’

This is what I think when someone tells me of their trailer loading problem or horse.

Some of you may have seen the Brett Kidding’s trailer loading demonstration from the live TRT event. Where he showed some of the things we can all recognize, ways resorted to without training when we just try to get a horse on.

The simple idea of just thinking you’re going to ‘put’ or ‘make’ your horse go in the trailer is what often leads to failure or problems in loading or traveling later on.

Like everything with horses I like to teach to them before doing to them.

I try to begin with always having the thought of ‘how can I teach my horse everything he needs to know about the trailer?’ And how can I teach him to start to ask if he can please go in the trailer today so I can take him somewhere.

Trailer loading as a training session

Creating the right mindset in myself is easy. I just think that the trailer loading will be today’s lesson and something I will devote time to teach. Just as I would teach an exercise in the riding.

I always leave plenty of time to train so there are no time restraints. It is not necessary to have it perfect in one lesson, for some horses a number of sessions may be necessary to give all the information and to consolidate each stage with the appropriate break down for that horse.

Leaving the lesson until the time you have to really go somewhere with your horse, like a panic situation when he gets a bout of colic and you have to rush to the clinic. Or an already stressful morning before going to a competition, having not trained him before and just hoping he goes in, often sets you up for failure.

And sometimes a long painful loading time to come home, or even maybe a long walk home from the show.

These are all times where you will most often cause issues of anxiety with the trailer for you and your horse and future loading problems.

What does he have to learn?

So when you have planned your trailer loading session and you have enough time, what do you want your horse to know about the trailer?

The learning already begins five to six meters away from the trailer. If you’re approaching the trailer and your horse is already leaning back with his head in the air, looking everywhere except to the trailer, it’s not really a good start.

Your horse needs to know how to take the right confident posture in his body for the right confident approach to the trailer. A confident good approach to the trailer is really important, it creates a positive mindset for being able to think further about the next step.

When your horse has fear or resistance when approaching the trailer, you should solve the approach first before starting to teach your horse to go into the trailer.

Control each step

The next step is to have the horse take the first step on the ramp. It’s important that this step is not a made step, it should not be a step where the horse is pulled on.

The first step should be a step the horse takes for himself and that he takes full responsibility for. It sets the way for the rest of the steps and the lesson that the horse feels from the beginning it’s on his will not on our want.

The next thing I want to teach my horse is to take controlled steps from the beginning of the ramp to the front of the chest bar. I don’t want a horse to jump in or run in, Instead I want to be able to control each step he takes.

So I want to be able to let my horse take as many steps forward as I want to, stop when I want to and  be able to ask for as few or as many steps back as I want. So you have the feeling he waits for what the next step might be. For each step forward and back and the stop I use a voice cue, to again avoid the feeling that the horse is being made to make the movements.

This control gives you the option to change your mind at any time to keep your horse safe and to stop your horse from learning to run or rush off.

Horses also need to learn how to move in the trailer. I like to be able to move left and right with the back open so they have the option to go out and don’t feel trapped. The moving left and right gives the horse the feel of the space in the trailer and creates stability and body awareness to be better balanced in the trailer while traveling. It also avoids ‘frozen feet’ and a fear to move.

Closing of the tail gate

The closing of the tail gate, the ramp, is also something I like to train. I like that I can open and close the back and the horse does not think or want to come out until I ask him to. So that he learns to wait and does not press up against the tail bar.

I also do the same with closing the top, if it is a tarp curtain or flap. I train this with the same process as I do with any of the tools in the ground work. The horse must know the sounds both the ramp and the flap makes when opening and closing and what it means. I don’t ever want the meaning to be that he goes in we close him in so he feels trapped and we drive away.

Meaning of the destination

Finally, I also like to train the meaning of a destination. After the loading training is done and he loves to be in the trailer, I take a small trip of maybe 3 minutes and come back to a different parking place but still at home.

I don’t ever go to a new, strange place that becomes a distraction to the meaning of the training the first time.

I open the trailer with still the feeling that he waits for me to ask him to step back. As I want my horse to step back one step at a time, he gets to realize he’s still at home. It is at that moment the horse sees, feels and knows the meaning of travelling in the trailer.

Happy travels!

Click here to learn more about my training method.

Create a willing mindset in our horses

We all want our horses to enjoy their daily work. That each day they are enthusiastic and energetic in their attitude towards their training. We want to create a willing mindset in our horses, but how do we create this?

It of course starts with the right mind set of the rider, which begins with the right focus.

Traditionally riding or training horses for sport begins with a focus on studying or applying a technical aspect of riding, executing a sequence of steps and repeating them to form a certain movement.

I recently had a student come to me with a horse that he was having trouble doing sequence changes with.

The student said: “He starts with the first change okay and then he just ignores my leg. So then I made him really sharp on the leg so I hardly had to touch him for the change. But then he started running off with his head in the air after the second change. So I put the draw rein on him to hold him and now sometimes he’s just stopping and rearing.”

Me: “What is he thinking?”

Student: “He’s just running through the aids.”

Me: “No, I said what does HE think about it?”

Student: “What do mean? You mean him? The Horse? What is he thinking??”

Me: “Yeah”

Student: “Well, I don’t know??? I just want him to do it!”

If you ask yourself ‘what is he thinking‘ before you start the changes, you will know what the reaction will be before you enter the movement and you won’t have to force him to make the mistake.

When you know what he is thinking about it, it is only then you will know what you need to train first. You can then change the approach, go back and gain the missing ingredients to be able to be successful in the changes.

Who is my horse and what it he thinking’ is what I always try to remind myself of.

Changing the mindset of the rider to think not what is the horse doing but why is he doing it, alters the whole vibe of the training session. It opens the rider’s mind and shows what information the horse really needs at that time to progress easily towards the goal.


Setting the right feeling through the training each day determines how your horse experiences his education. Does he feel it’s an education? Is it something that motivates him? Where he seeks the little rewards and the feeling of accomplishment and that it’s easy?

Or does he feel that it’s just hard work and that the time he spends with you is full of confusion, frustration and fear.

The horse becomes a direct reflection of the rider

Aside from a method of training or steps on how to archive the moments with your horse that seem effortless with a clear confident understanding of the exercise, it is the mindset of the rider to think what is my horse thinking and not what is he doing. And also why is he doing is?

The way the horse experiences his daily training determines the effort and motivation he will willingly put forward the next day, creating a patterned momentum of self-improvement in the horse that generates excitement and energy about his work.

Do you have problems with tension and spookiness? Check out this FREE video series to help you solve these issues!

3 mistakes when there’s a scary corner for your horse

If your horse is suspiscious of one particular scary corner, it can be hard to overcome that. How can you help your horse feel comfortable in the corner?

Training a young horse: when to start?

A horse’s learning begins the moment their feet hit the ground. The learning of how they should perceive the world they are born into, listening to their instincts and following the behavior of their mother. They are being shaped by their environment and their experiences.

Left in this process to grow up with other horses in the field or in a free stable with other young horses, they will develop perfectly with the natural instincts that a horse will need for nature. All knowledge and skills that would suit perfectly for a horse who’s future was just to be a horse in the wild.


But through this common process it becomes a huge disadvantage for the horse and the human when the time comes that the horse is plucked out of the safety of the group and introduced into the real world he was born into. That is being the human world as a riding horse and not the instinctive horse he has been working so hard on mastering.

Usually this happens at the age of 2.5 or 3 as the horse is leaving the free stable and the herd to begin the “real” training to become a riding horse.

So when should the real training ‘really’ begin?

Normally at a few hours old the horse is old enough to stand and when he’s old enough to stand, he’s old enough to learn. Horses are learning from the beginning instinctively. They do not need time to develop a part of the brain for learning. Teaching the foals a state of relaxation and trust around humans from the beginning is the perfect foundation for setting a positive mindset for the future.

3 key things to teach a foal
There are 3 key things I always start with when working with the foals in the early training.

First is the ‘approach’ that the horse can approach you confidently and you can approach him confidently. Start with touching the foal from all angles and all over the body. When the foal moves, move with him. When he stands still, move away from him. In the stable together with the mare is a good place to start the approach and touch.

The second step I like them to learn is to move away from pressure this is where I start the first pattern from the TRT Method, giving the foal the understanding of the when, how and why he should move from pressure. It is the beginning of a greater body awareness for the horse and better coordination. The third step is following pressure and the beginning of leading, to follow the rein or a rope.

Movement, touch and sound
After a few weeks when these controls are well understood and established, I then introduce the 3 main elements that trigger the flight reaction in the horse, which are movement, touch and sound. Introducing these elements at an early age gives them the knowledge from the beginning of what things they will encounter later in life.

From this point on the young horse will go into the field together with the knowledge of the basics, what not to be afraid of and with a good level of trust and understanding around humans. This makes all the necessary routine care of the young horses before riding, like the farrier, worming and maybe a visit from the vet, an easy and stress-free experience.

The basics of understanding body control and groundwork, how to respond to pressures for guidance and how to respond to pressures in the environment are repeated through the years 1 and 2. This way you’re giving them the information that they will need leading up to the day that they are strong enough physically for the riding. They are prepared for their future.


Take time to save time
Taking the time in the early years to prepare the horse and give him an understanding that there is nothing life-threatening in a human world and relieving them of the fears of survival imbedded in their natural instinct, is in preparation for when the riding process begins.

Taking short amounts of time to teach the horse in the years before the age of 3 means they have all the information of how to respond to the steps necessary for the riding when they are 3. When the horse has the knowledge of what to do, he is not forced to use his instincts of flight. And the process of starting a horse under saddle will a smooth, stress-free process for both horse and rider, giving the best possible outcome for the horse to be successful.

If a horse is left to “be a horse” with little to no training until he is 3, you will have to deal with all the flight survival ‘natural’ reactions the horse will give when trying to ‘break him in.’ You’ll be spending a large amount of time struggling with a much more mature animal that is fighting his 3 year developed flight survival instinct.

Breaking in
The process of breaking in will then take a lot longer with greater risks of injury for the horse and trainer. There’s also a greater risk of a bad incident or experience that could leave the horse difficult with problems or totally unrideable.

Often in this process we fall into the pattern of lunging, putting unnecessary km’s on a young horses’ muscles and joints. Some horses in this process can have 2 to 3 months on the lunge to tire the natural flight instinct or to suppress it by a process of getting used to the situation and environments.

Just breeding a good horse does not, of course, mean he is naturally going to be a good riding horse. A horse to be comfortable in our human world will need to learn more than just to wear a saddle and have a rider on his back.

If we want a horse to reach his full potential to be well-mannered and happy in his work, it is our job to prepare them and teach them all the things they need to know before they are faced with these tasks.

Do you want to learn more about the three steps of the method that I apply when dealing with these problems? Check out this FREE video series!

‘My horse explodes all of a sudden.’ Are you sure?

I often get the question what to do when a horse all of a sudden ‘explodes’. Before the explosion it seemed as if everything was under control, but then you get a burst of tension that you didn’t expect and it felt like it came out of nothing.

It’s a very unpleasant situation, because how can you prepare yourself and your horse for a situation that you don’t feel coming?

Protection through a state of readiness
Even though it seems as if your horse explodes out of nothing and has gone from a pressure level of 2 to 10 in a split second, there’s often something else going on. Very often, the pressure has been slowly building up in your horse through his posture.

Tension builds up in the body as a means of protecting himself. A tension or posture gives a heightened state of alertness or readiness to flee. When the pressure or threat in the environment becomes higher than the horse coping level, it’s then that the explosion comes.

Some horses can become almost comfortable in this heightened state or readiness in their body through a feeling that they are protecting themselves to a certain level and therefore seem relaxed and normal while under there’s a pressure level barrier.

Often the biggest contributor to this pressure barrier being created is desensitizing where the horse becomes desensitive or numb, ignoring the pressure in his surroundings up to the level he was desensitized to or gotten used to. Everything will be fine until the pressure in the environment passes that level.

It can be difficult to notice that building up of pressure when riding. Because it’s not easy to ask all the right questions in a safe position from the saddle, we go to the groundwork. On the ground you can see more clearly all the signs from the horse.

If he is acknowledging all the questions being asked of him and making good, positive decisions in the reactions in his body. Or if he is mentally going to another place in the back of his mind, ignoring or blocking out the pressures in his surrounding.

Staying present
As soon as I start to present the horse with an object to begin to ask a question I want to see that the horse is present and gives an answer even if it’s the wrong one. At least then I can continue teaching him what is right and what is wrong. What we don’t want to see is the horse standing like a statue, staring into space hoping that if he ignores the pressure that it will go away.

It’s of importance that a horse stays present and that he doesn’t shut down and ignores the situation. I often find that the longer a horse shuts down, the more intensive the response will be once he can’t ignore it any longer.

You want a horse to be looking for the right answer and looking for the right way to handle the situation. It’s alright when it’s not the right answer straight away. It’s alright if a horse first tries to move away from the pressure. You then have the opportunity to tell him that’s not the right answer and teach your horse what a better response would be.

You don’t want it to be like someone who’s in the classroom thinking to himself: ‘don’t pick me, don’t pick me. When this question gets any harder, I’ll run out of the classroom!’ I often say that not giving an answer is not the right answer.

Find that switch
When you have a horse that explodes all of a sudden, try finding a way that you build up the pressure in such a way that he has to give a reaction, but not too much of a reaction that he runs off. So carefully look how much pressure you should give for him not to be able to ignore it any longer, but also not that it becomes too overwhelming and that you get the explosion.

With the TRT method I first teach a horse how to relax himself in the body giving him good body awareness and how he can find that relaxed place in his physical state. Then I start asking questions to the horse of how he would respond to each individual pressure he will face in our human environment. I’m teaching him the right physical action in his body that gives him the ability to control himself which gives him an empowering feeling of stability and control in his mind.

Even though you might only have the problem while riding, try fixing the problem first on the ground. You might say: ‘well, he doesn’t explode on the ground. I can wave a flag all day and nothing happens.’ Make sure you’re then applying the right type of pressure for that horse and the right amount of pressure to try and encourage active participation in the horse.

It has no use to wave a flag all day and not get a response. Get a different tool or use it in a different way so that you find that pressure level that creates the switch in his body. Invite your horse to go from not wanting to give an answer to giving the wrong answer. You can then show him what the right answer looks like.

Good luck!

Do you have problems with exploding, tension and spookiness? Check out this FREE video series to help you solve these issues!