Best Horse Training DVDs / Videos

Best Horse Training DVDs / Videos

We can all use a little extra help with our training. When you live in a remote area or don’t have access to a trailer, though, help can be hard to come by. Sought-after trainers might not have the time to venture a ways away to help a single client and while clinics are an incredible resource, a) it’s not always feasible to get to them and b) Murphy’s Laws of horse training dictate that the toughest issues will always happen when no clinicians are in the area.

Training DVDs and videos can be a handy, cost-effective way to fill the void. To give you a bit of inspiration, we’ve picked what we think are the 3 best horse training DVDs/videos.

Note: The following review contains links to Amazon.com. When you purchase something after clicking these links we earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Ingrid Klimke, Basic Training for Riding Horses, Vol. 1 – 3


An overview of basic training for equine athletes with a variety of exercises to keep horses happy, fit and moving forward correctly in their training.

Features & Benefits

  • 3 DVD set
  • 270 minutes
  • Exercises for flat and jumping

Pros

  • Useful for many disciplines
  • Presents exercises for a range of experience levels

Cons

  • Western riders and riders who don’t jump might find this set less helpful
  • Product is a PAL-SECAM DVD and requires a universal DVD player
ingrid klimke - basic training for riding horses - best horse training dvds/videos

Ingrid Klimke, Basic Training for Riding Horses

Rating: 8.5/10

Editorial Review

For those who don’t know Ingrid Klimke, she’s a 3-time Olympian who competes in eventing and dressage. Her approach is to foster the horse’s physical and mental well-being by incorporating variety into the horse’s daily work, whether that be jumping, pole work, hills or a good gallop outside the ring. In a Dressage Today interview with Silke Rotterman, Klimke explains, “the rider has to set the goal of training a horse who is content, thinks for himself and works as independently as possible.”

This DVD set takes riders through the basics of training an equine athlete. In Part 1, Klimke offers exercises to encourage rhythm and relaxation on the flat and over poles and cavaletti. She focuses on correct contact, suppleness of the horse and effective half-halts. 

Part 2 takes riders through the concepts of straightness, relaxation and impulsion with more advanced dressage exercises. The jumping exercises include pole work and grids. The focus is on keeping the horse loose and building strength with relaxation. 

Part 3 is the most advanced, featuring dressage work like lateral movements and collection and jumping exercises that involve turns, distances, skinny jumps and more. Her continued emphasis is on developing suppleness and rhythm.

What Others Are Saying

Reviewers appreciated the audio and video quality of this product. Some footage is taken from lessons Klimke has given and some portions have been translated from the German, but the audio quality is still strong throughout. People praised Klimke’s logical, progressive method and the calm way she deals with training issues when they arise. Generally, people find Klimke clear and easy to follow and the exercises fun both for them and their horses.

Buck Brannaman, 7 Clinics with Buck Brannaman: 1-2 “Groundwork”


Hours of footage from clinics and lessons that focus on teaching riders of all levels how to communicate effectively with their horses through basic groundwork exercises.

Features & Benefits

  • DVDs 1 and 2 in a series of 7
  • 152 minutes
  • Footage taken from lessons and clinics

Pros

  • Useful for many disciplines
  • Gives insights on many different kinds of training issues

Cons

  • If you’re looking for help under saddle, look to the later part of the series
buck brannaman - 7 clinics - best horse training dvds/videos

Buck Brannaman, 7 Clinics with Buck Brannaman

Rating: 9/10

Editorial Review

If you’re not familiar with Buck Brannaman, he’s a trainer who works in the vaquero tradition, travelling the world doing clinics on natural horsemanship. His approach is always to gain cooperation and trust from the horse and never to use force to try to solve a disagreement. As he explains in an interview with Marjorie Skinner for the Portland Mercury, “you have to make sure that the relationship between you and your horse is something kind of special, so it’s something he looks forward to and enjoys.”The footage for this DVD set is a compilation taken from clinics Brannaman gave while making the 2011 documentary, Buck. These first two DVDs focus on the basics of groundwork, from leading and halter work to saddling, bridling and basic movements on the ground.

What Others Are Saying

Reviewers often say they these DVDs helped transform the way they communicate with their horses. They praise Brannaman’s kind, logical and horse-centred approach. Most found him to be an excellent human communicator, in addition to having a clearly honed ability to communicate effectively with horses. According to users, the variety of horse/rider combinations and issues the DVDs cover make this set worthwhile for all riders, regardless of discipline or level of experience.

Some reviewers found the work more basic than they needed, but most reported that they go back to these videos time and again to refine and refresh their techniques. A few also mentioned that the camera work can be a bit busy.

Uta Graf and Friederike Heidenhof, The Joy of Dressage


A detailed, in-depth look at Graf’s training philosophies and practices, which centre on riders and horses finding harmony and joy in the work they do.

Features & Benefits

  • 3 DVD set
  • 220 minutes
  • Covers training at home and at shows

Pros

  • Geared towards beginner as well as intermediate riders
  • Holistic approach to training the horse

Cons

  • More advanced riders might find parts too basic
  • Not a straightforward instructional video
uta graf - the joy of dressage - best horse training dvds/videos

Uta Graf and Friederike Heidenhof, The Joy of Dressage

Rating: 8/10

Editorial Review

Uta Graf and Friederike Heidenhof, for those who aren’t familiar, are successful Grand Prix dressage riders. Graf is a trainer and clinician who’s made a name for herself for emphasizing confidence and positivity in her training. Her philosophy is holistic and her training methods include building trust, incorporating variety in a horse’s work and ensuring the horse has plenty of turnout and socialization. She tells Equine Wellness magazine, “the combination of positive training and natural horsekeeping generates a ‘happy athlete.’”

Part 1 of this series is about motivating the horse in and out of the tack. It covers basic equitation, care and handling. Part 2 is more about the rider. Graf explores how riders can foster motivation in themselves and how they can better bring that positive energy to work with their horses. Part 3 focuses on training for competition, including guidance on training at shows, warming up and riding the test.

What Others Are Saying

People are drawn to Graf’s concept of riding with joy and keeping riding fun for both horse and rider. Reviewers noted that the quality of this video series was very good. They appreciated being able to watch Graf and her horses at work, schooling or tackling training challenges. 

Some reviewers wished the series had taken more of a “how-to” approach. While they felt Graf’s ideas were worth listening to, they had hoped for more direct instruction and more specific ideas on how to motivate their own horses.

Our top pick is Buck Brannaman’s 7 Clinics series. With a range of horse and rider levels and a variety of challenges, there’s likely to be something in the series that resonates with you, no matter your level of experience or confidence. Happy watching!

Image: Juanjo Menta

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