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Jim McDonald Q&A – How to address a horse pawing on the trailer

“My horse paws on the trailer once I load him on there. He loads and unloads calmly, but once standing on the trailer seems anxious and won’t stop pawing. How can I address this behavior?”

First lets recognize that it is natural for a horse to be anxious while confined in a small space. They are naturally claustrophobic because their sense of self preservation is completely taken from them. So we must help them learn that they are not at risk in the trailer. Another thing to keep in mind is when driving take it slow especially on those turns!

The first thing to do is to have your horse go into the trailer and take him off before he paws. Gradually extend the time in the trailer before you take him off before he paws. I know what you are thinking “what if he paws before I take him off” don’t worry he will! If he paws watch carefully and when he stops pawing then ask him to come off of the trailer. Do not take him off while he is pawing. It is also good to feed him in the trailer and make it a place where he wants to go. What is important is that you make this part of a daily routine and then when it is time to go somewhere life will be better for your horse and you too by the way!


Q&A With Jim McDonald: My horse runs away from me

“How can I get my horse to stop running away from me in the field? Treats helps me catch her sometimes, but she starts trotting away when she sees me coming.”

This is one of the most common questions I get.  I know how frustrating this can be.  The first thing we must do as always, is to look at this from the horse’s point of view.  If we go out to “catch our horse” our energy is something that the horse reads as not good.  Every fiber of the horse’s DNA says don’t ever get caught.  Remember they are animals of prey. I tell my students to just go out to be with their horse.  It’s as if you are just going out for a visit. That creates a much less threatening body language. It’s also important to actually do this some times when you are not going to ride and in fact, actually go out just for a brief visit.

If your horse walks away from you when you approach, the moment that he turns away from you, stop immediately and you turn away from him. When he stops walk directly toward his shoulder.  Every time he walks away from you stop and turn away from him.  Pretty soon he will stop and look at you and at that point you want to step back a couple of steps.  You will be able to get closer and closer and when you are close enough to pet him just rub him and put a neck rope on him.  It is only after this that you should give him the treat.  Pet him again and walk away or just leave him until the next day.  As you repeat this process he will learn that being with you is a good thing and he will seek out your company and not want to run away.  Take whatever time this takes because when it is done you will never have this problem again and your relationship with your horse will be much bet.


Jim McDonald Saturday Mini Clinics at Graham Equestrian Center, Glen Arm, MD


Work on your goals with your horse in a focused 2-hour session with Jim McDonald, AQHA Professional horseman and CHA certified instructor.

You can bring your own horse or use one of ours. If you work with a horse the tuition is $55.00 or you can audit for $35.00

Small group sessions will be held Saturdays on August 15th, 29th and September 5th and 19th. Hours are 10AM to noon. Pre-registration required.

Contact Jim at or call 410-627-4243 for more information and to register.

Location: Graham Equestrian Center, 10301 Harford Road, Glen Arm, MD 21057

August 15, 2015 – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

August 29, 2015 – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

September 5, 2015 – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

September 19, 2015 – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM


Jim McDonald Guest Speaker on HITM Radio 5.19.2015

On this month’s Certified Horsemanship Association episode by Cavallo Horse & Rider Jim McDonald and Chuck Mangan discuss choosing, training lesson horses. Listen in…PROFILEPIC

Listen to the Podcast here!


Jim McDonald Guest Speaker on HITM Radio 1.20.2015


On this month’s  Certified Horsemanship Association training episode we take on bad habits and vices.  Guests Christina Schumacher and Jim McDonald take on the why and how of spooking, bucking, cribbing, weaving, rearing and a host of other undesirable habits.  Listen in…



Contact Jim McDonald at


Join me for the Introductory to Horsemanship Clinic

Ever wanted to ride horses or just wanted to be around them? Or are you a horse owner and have wanted to build a better relationship with your horse?

This is a great event to do just that! Purchase your tickets for August 15th (Friday) from 10am – 2pm to receive a full introduction and explanation of horsemanship as well as a hands on demonstration/mini lesson to implement some of the horsemanship points discussed.

We look forward to seeing you!


Our mission is education. Help us raise money to do just that! 0

Our mission is education! We are replacing frustration with joy. People are learning the joy of true horsemanship. Interacting with horses in a way the horse understands. as a non- profit we are dedicated to helping people enjoy the rewards of safe, effective and fun horsemanship. We are raising funds to build a covered arena so we can continue our mission even in bad weather! Please help us your contribution is tax deductable: