Our training notes often show schooling at the farm but may also
include cross country schoolings and trail rides away from the
farm. Go back through our notes to see how we train our off-the-track
Thoroughbreds and prepare them for new careers as sport horses.
Natural Horsemanship can help with the transistion from race
horse to sport horse.
When horses come off-the-track they do not know what to expect.
Their only experience has been race training and racing. It is
not uncommon for a horse to either be "hyped up" or really
quiet when they first come home. The true personality of the horse
will come later when he is no longer sore from racing and he has
a full belly.
The more love and discipline you give the horse from
the start, the more he will bond with you. The horse is nervous
and scared like a kid at summer camp for the first time. He will
look to you for comfort and support if you take charge. This
is where understanding the principles of Natural Horsemanship will
help with the ground work and teach him to respect your space.
We believe in doing lots of ground work at Bits & Bytes Farm --not
because you can't ride the horse the day he comes off-the-track,
but rather to gain the horse's trust and respect. This will be
very valuable when mounted and the horse becomes scared or confused.
You will have established yourself as the "herd leader" and he
will look to you for confidence.
A Testimonial from multiple OTTB owner - Allison Bennett
Hi , E!
Thanks for the info, I am totally immersed
in this natural horsemanship movement and have been using it for
the last 6 yrs. I think that it's great that you're hosting this!
We're real familiar with Ed Dabney up here. I think maybe he has
worked with a neighbor of mine over here in Royston, a lady by
the name of Del Wideman. She hosts and teaches these techniques
at clinics frequently. I have brought 8 young horses along under
saddle using these techniques, and so far, none of them have bucked
, spooked, or done anything out of the way to give me any trouble.
I also used some of them on Urbs to get her to try to deal with
some of her "anxiety
issues", it works like magic!
Keep pushing these programs (especially
with the dressage crowd) because it really helps develop a better
partnership in the end and doesn't take any longer than the "old methods" .
and Gens (General
Shanray) are doing great
and might decide to make Urbs a mommy this year!
I currently have several very nice Hanoverian crosses for sale,
if you know anybody that might be looking!
Stay in touch! :)
Natural Horsemanship from Robin Cannizzaro, DVM
Robin Cannazzaro, DVM and her OTTB Vicky
Vicky Vicky aka "Victory".
I first became interested in Natural Horsemanship when I heard
of a clinic being held in my area. I am open minded and do not
fit a specific description of horse discipline. I ride and compete
in dressage. At the clinic I loved the idea of my horse respecting
me and my space, and the light responsiveness. The presenter
was on his horse with no bridle or halter. I really like that.
He turned his horse loose with all of us in the arena and she
gladly returned to him after a brief run around the arena.
Robin Cannazzaro, DVM and her OTTB Vicky Vicky Vicky aka "Victory".
I have always been the type of rider that performs my personal
best with my partner, ribbons come second. I have always bonded
with my horses and they are true partners to me. When I was showing
hunter competitively as a child and young woman, people marveled
at how calm and unspoiled I was. If my horse gave his best, I
had a winning day, even if the ribbons did not show that.
Robin Cannazzaro, DVM and her horse Alchemy.
Natural horsemanship is actually not very different than how
I was fortunate enough to learn how to ride from Emerson Burr
from the Fairfield County Hunt Club. He taught me turn to a stop.
I do not think Natural Horsemanship occurred to him, he just
had a tremendous ability to communicate safety and feel of your
I did not need to learn Natural Horsemanship with Alchemy (my
Oldenburg gelding), he had no issues that demanded fixing. I
was interested in knowing what more I might do to communicate
and bond with him. I can now ride him bareback with just a string
around his neck or nothing at all. All because he respects me
and is bonded with me enough to allow me to do this.
When I purchased Vicky, aka Victory and Vicky
I knew the first thing I was going to do was ground work and
She had no boundaries, she was pushy, had little use for me in
general, had no reason to trust humans. She was high, reactive,
spooky. For the first week of her training I spent a lot of time
rubbing on her, desensitizing her to the stick (carrot stick),
and moving her out of my space.
I next worked on yielding her hindquarters. This helps to disengage
their hindquarters, they cannot kick you, you can stop them if
you take the power away from the hindend. Vicky was resistant
at first but gradually worked together with me after some struggles.
Depending upon the temperament of the TB you purchase will depend
how cooperative they can be. Vicky is an alpha mare, so she was
less willing and had had bad experiences at the track. All horses
will come around if you give them the chance, be patient, and
have fun. Vicky took about one week to do groundwork sufficient
enough for me to get on her.
Patience cannot be emphasized enough and keep changing your exercises
to keep things interesting for them and always finish on a good
note. The last thing we do is what they remember when you get
them again to play. Smile a lot, that helps you relax and release
hormones that sensitive horses will pick up to release tension
both in yourself and your horse. I did this a lot with Vicky,
even laughed at her silliness, she laughed back!
Natural horsemanship is something I begin every ride with to
help supple my horses, help them build and begin in the proper
frame of mind, and help build their confidence. I will not get
on the horse until I know that I have all my steering, stopping,
moving sideways forwards and backwards intact. If not, I will
not be able to respond if an emergency arises. I open gates and
close them behind me on all my horses, while mounted. I require
they stand still when mounting and dismounting for as long as
I say so.
They come to me in the field, Alchemy even comes across the field
to me, Vicky thinks about it, and does come some of the time
and is no problem to go to in the field. She has come so far
in her willingness to give me whatever I ask. I credit Natural
Horsemanship in my ability to be competitively showing in Training
level and qualifying for regional championships in just one short
year off the track. I have been riding now for well over 30 years
and horses teach me new and fun things every day. Let them teach
you how to laugh at yourself and take life with a lot more fun!
A horse that is bonded with you through Natural Horsemanship
is a horse that will give more than any other training method,
no matter what your discipline.
Horses do not have to do anything for us, they are bigger, more
powerful, cunning, and dangerous. The danger is by their mere
size and it is important to understand their language, speak
their language, smile, laugh, have fun and appreciate all that
they do for us. They are partners that lifelong will give all
they can for us even if they are sore, stiff, or uncomfortable.
I am always impressed with how much they give to us and I appreciate
them, love them, rub on them (you cannot do this enough), and
smile at them every day.
Happy Natural horsemanship and bonding.
Robin L. Cannizzaro D.V.M., C.V.A.
Wholistic Veterinary Care