Welcome to the Cardinal Points Farm blog !

Dear friends and fellow animal lovers, here it is ... a blog to discuss training.

My specialty is horse training and dressage, but I’ve applied to my horses many invaluable lessons from other animal trainers. Together we can create a greater awareness of the unlimited potential for greatness that your animals (and you) possess, once you acknowledge that many animal species are intelligent and capable of reasoning and communication.

So let’s get started ! Let's share insights, lesson plans, techniques, videos, pics, stories ... what have you.


Sian Min The
Cardinal Points Farm

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If you'd like to post your training stories, send your stories to me for consideration. Please specify how you'd like the attribution to read, i.e. your full name or your online name.

A “good” horse gone “bad”?

Having always been obedient, sweet and generous, Orion quickly became my favorite horse to train. Any mistakes he made were honest (e.g. bird-in-the-bushes spooks) ... until recently.

The work had been getting harder: I’m requiring more engagement of the hindquarters, more strength, and more stamina. So lately I notice he’s been pouting, and finding “excuses”. Yesterday he actually ignored me (gasp!) when I asked for a trot. When I insisted, he gave me a half-hearted but defiant buck before complying. And he gave me that “look”.

What happened to my Perfect Boy? The answer is, he WAS the perfect boy. I never reprimanded him because I never needed to. He loved everything he did, so I never had to force an issue. In other words, I had neglected to teach him to accept and constructively address the “unpleasant” things in training.

My mare Chipper didn’t hesitate to test the boundaries the first time I rode her. She’s a brat, but as a result, she knows my rules inside out, and she is now fun to ride. She will always be an opinionated horse, but I enjoy working with her because of her confidence in the rules, and that I, too, will follow them.

So, what to do with Orion? Push on. Teach him how to accept and actually make the unpleasant tasks work in his favor. Show him that, while the schooling exercises may be boring and hard, he will have successes. And as he gets stronger, they will become easier. He’s still my Perfect Boy, and I’ll show him how to stay that way.


  1. Oh those horses are sneaky that way! Great site here - have you read Dessa Hockley's "Is your horse a rock star? Understanding your horse's personality? Great read, thought it was interesting.

  2. Thanks, CountryGirl.
    I'll try to find the title you suggested.

  3. Okay, question. A friend of mine has a perfect horse who would do anything and everything. The horse recently turned "bad" (the horse lunged at my friend) and me, having experience at training yearlings and rescues, offered to help re-train the horse. Is there anything specific that I should know before I work with her? Like, all the horse I work with, I have free reign over and all the time in the world to work with them. But I don't have forever with my friend's horse and i don't want to screw it up. Is there any like, do's and don'ts with a horse that you don't own?

  4. When horses do potentially dangerous things that seem out of character, it's crucial to find out why. Often, the cause of the particular behaviour is not apparent to us, or even incomprehensible to our human mindset.

    If the horse has been otherwise safe, sensible and "good", I'd first look to the circumstances surrounding the incident: what happened before, has she been sick/lame. Good horses rarely do things without a reason.

    Good luck, and let me know how you get on.


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