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  • Writer's pictureKristie Cotton

The Methods Behind Integrity Training


When hiring a trainer, it is important to think about what you are trying to achieve.  I base all of my training on the foundations of Dressage Principles.  This means it is important to me that the horse is mentally and physically prepared to do what is asked of him. A confused, tense horse is not going to absorb much education.  There are many misconceptions in training but especially in Dressage. The sophisticated movements of Dressage were meant to be for therapeutic purpose, conditioning the mind and body to perform at it’s best potential no matter what riding discipline.

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Intense studies of the physiology of the horse has allowed me to become more proficient in educating horse and rider. This means when you hire me to help with the horse that won’t soften or yield to bit pressure, we are going to find the root cause, not introduce gadgets to place the horse in a ” frame. Once a vet has cleared that the mouth is ok, we are going to assess proper use of back muscles. This goes a little deeper than getting the horses head down. I am not going to tell you to work your horse with mechanisms that will force its head into a position.  We are going to go through the process of inviting, not forcing. Muscle imbalances can be addressed using in hand work, this is different to “ground” work as you are actually tapping into the horses physical and mental coordination.

If you follow Natural Horsemanship, be sure to hire a trainer that aligns with your beliefs of this type of training.  Natural Horsemanship is not a method that I 100% agree with or incorporate into my training.  Any groundwork that I do is based on the methods of Linda Tellington-Jones. The use of her methods create a relaxed and calm mind.These methods have helped me train horses to be successful on mountain trails.


The Ttouch has also been a successful method of helping horses that were mistreated or submitted to harsh training methods.

I have also acquired the knowledge of General Decarpentry’s in-hand technique. This helps educate the horse on correct gait kinematics as well as horses that have developed improper use of back muscles.

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We will also check for proper fitting tack, and  assess the physique of the horse and how he moves and carries himself with and without a rider.

Hiring the right trainer for you and your horse is so important. Be particular about who is working with your horse. Empathy should always be first and foremost in educating horses.

Take part in the journey so you know if you like the methods used on your horse.

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There are many trainers out there today and there are many gadgets to mask the root problem.  Take the time to find the right fit.  Dressage was meant to be an art.  Any masterpiece takes time and patience to create,  especially when re educating a horse corrupted by misguidance.

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“There is no better proof of the riders method and program than that his horse becomes more beautiful in the course of training.” -Charles De Kunffy

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