Training That First Horse

I remember training my first horse.  I didn’t enjoy it and I blamed the horse for all of our problems.  I was a teenager, and you know how that goes, a lot of muscle and only a little patience.  I don’t know if the frustration on my part would have been the same if I had broke my first horse as an adult.  What I do know, is that at least I had enough sense to learn from my ignorance.


The lessons I learned from training my first horse I take with me for the rest of my career with horses. Here are the most important lessons I learned.


  • It’s not the horse’s fault, it’s my fault.
  • The horse is a reflection of myself.
  • If the horse can’t understand me, I am the one with the problem and I need to find a solution.
  • I need to problem solve, and not keep doing the same thing over and over if it’s not working.
  • Enjoy the journey and don’t be frustrated with the learning process.  You only ever train your first horse once.
  • Stay relaxed, calm, and soft.
  • The horse wants to learn so it’s my job to be a good teacher.
  • When I think I know it all, I know nothing.
  • When there is a problem, there is a hole in my training and I need to go back and find it.  Example: if the horse won’t lift his shoulder at the jog, I better go back build up the horse’s strength to lift his shoulder at the walk.


The best part is, once you get that first horse trained, the rest should be easy. Learn from your mistakes, relax, keep learning and move on.


About Deanna Castro

Deanna Castro has been training horses and riders professionally for over 18 years. She trains riders in Horsemanship, Western Pleasure, Showmanship and Trail Riding. Deanna is married to Native American Horse Trainer Fredi Castro and she is the author of "Six Weeks to a Better Horse".
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6 Responses to Training That First Horse

  1. Sabrina says:

    LOVE this post!! AWESOME! :)

  2. Theresa says:

    Oh yes! And have fun while you’re doing it!

  3. dcastro says:

    Thanks Sabrina!

    Yes, definitely have fun for horse and rider. Teach the horse to like his job.

  4. Mary H. says:

    What a great post, I really like it!

    I love one and three:

    “It’s not the horse’s fault, it’s my fault. and, If the horse can’t understand me, I am the one with the problem and I need to find a solution.”

    It’s not the animal’s fault if the animal doesn’t understand or don’t obey a cue. It just means we have a few holes in our training. As easy as it is to say this, I think it’s one of THE hardest bits for trainers to put into practice.

    I recently found your blog through blog catalog and am enjoying reading through it! Keep up the good work. (BTW, I think blog catalog still has the link to your old site.)

    Mary H.

  5. Suresh says:

    Hi Deanna,
    I have nothing specific to comment I have just started to learn about horses and found your blog interesting.I’ll surely give my expert comment once I become one :) . BTW which country are you from.
    Happy blogging

  6. dcastro says:

    Thanks for the kudos Mary! I’m going to have to check out blog catalog. I forgot all about updating my links!

    Suresh, so glad you found the blog. I’ll be looking forward to your future comments :) I’m from the USA, but travel abroad quite often. Where are you from?

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