Boundaries – Foundation in working with your horse.

Today’s Tip is Setting Boundaries!

(This works with horses as well as all aspects of life)

This is an excerpt from the connection and groundwork training series. I wanted to share this as our training tip today as boundaries are the foundation in all work, experiences, and interaction with horses.

Plus, boundaries play a crucial role in all aspects of our lives to be happy and have healthy relationships with others.

The Boundary RULE

The boundary rule is the single most important rule to remember.


That gives you the right to set a boundary if a horse is approaching you.

You decide how close you want to allow the horse to come and you get to set the boundary of where you want the horse.

If you are approaching a horse, they have the right to set the boundary and tell you where they would like you in relation to them. This is giving the horse the ability to communicate and be listened to. It gives the horse the ability to say no. That can be a new idea for some, but if you are aware and pay attention to the cues the horse is giving you, they say no it is just if we listen or not.

At times it is also the extent that the horse says no. A lot of times someone getting bitten or kicked is an escalation of a horse setting a boundary and people ignoring it. The horse must then escalate to set a bigger boundary as it is not honored while it is small. Try and set your boundary while it is small, but also pay attention to the subtle and small cues of others as they try and set a boundary while it is small.

(This is gone into more in depth in the Mutual Awareness exercise.)



How To Set A Boundary

Imagine a circle around you about two feet out and all the way around you. I call that your circle of comfort.

That is a good healthy boundary space between you and another.

It is up to you if you want to invite your horse into your circle, or ask them to stay out. You get to choose who and when they are to be in your circle of comfort. You may invite your horse into your circle and if they behave a way you feel violates your boundaries, such as try to grab your jacket, you can decide to ask them back outside your circle.

You may have to set a boundary over and over for a while. When setting your boundary, you must believe and mean it. The intention behind your action is very important.

If you tell your horse to stay outside your circle of comfort but perhaps don’t own that feeling, your horse will think you don’t mean it and perhaps push the boundary to test it. Know in your heart that is your boundary you want, see your horse staying outside your circle and set your boundary. Thinking and imagining your result that you want is very important when working with horses.

See the result that you want, feel that result and then work to that result. This is a foundation concept to apply in every aspect and with every time you ask anything of your horse.

You start small and relaxed. You may have to increase the energy and size of how you set your boundary. You can start with a whoa, as your horse approaches your circle. You may then have to say whoa and take a step towards your horse. You will increase the energy and level of your body until your horse stops advancing. You then return to your start position of your circle of comfort.

You may have to set your boundary a couple times until your horse respects that they are to stay out of your circle. I suggest drawing a circle around you in the sand or dirt so that you have a visual idea of what your circle looks like. Safety is always the most important so you can carry a rope, or a small whip with you whenever you are working with your horse so that you have an extension to  help set a  boundary and keep them out if you need to for safety.

Never strike or use anything as a weapon. If you feel your horse is pushy enough to warrant having to get that big for safety, I suggest asking a professional for some help through that in person.

(Contact us- for coaching is available as well.)

Healthy boundaries and setting good boundaries is what is needed in any relationship!

Practicing good boundaries sets expectations, keeps you happy, safe and feeling joyous. The easier you set what you want and don’t want the easier your communication will grow. It is essential to remember to listen to the other partner and what they are telling you when they set a boundary. If you listen a great dialect can develop.

Today’s tip is an excerpt from the Boundaries section at Horses-U and it can be a helpful tip today for you in every aspect of life.


Here are some posts we highly recommend for your reading pleasure.


I’m Jen.

Most days you will find me with a coffee in one hand, hot pink manure pick in the other with my mind bubbling over dreaming up ways to help my horse girl sisters find their true selves & ride their best life every. single. day.


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