More Behind the Scenes Stories

Training the Horses of the Circle D Ranch at Disneyland Park: Building Trust

Donna Fisk

by , Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort

In the second of a series of videos designed to go backstage at Circle D Ranch at Disneyland park, you’ll see Lead Equine Trainer, Jennifer Gable, working on groundwork skills. Consistent groundwork is important to build trust between the horse and trainer, and it also allows for new concepts to be introduced to the horse in a safe way. Another important idea behind groundwork is acknowledging the horse’s instincts. As a herd animal, horses naturally look toward the herd leader for guidance and safety. As the horse’s trainer, the goal is to take on the role of the leader, resulting in a horse that’s respectful, responsive and relaxed.


  • The “stick ” is used as an extension of the arm as horses have long bodies and humans have tiny arms. It often replaces the pressure of a leg if you are riding or the reins if they are pulling. The trainer uses it to touch the animal in specific places as a communication tool.

  • This is such a cool video. I love the horse on Main Street. They are so well trained.

  • What do you need the stick for?

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