Did you run into any of the following problems with your horse?

  • Your horse is unconfident and very spooky
  • It is hard to catch him in the field or paddock
  • Your horse won't go into the trailer/water
  • Your horse is very restless during trail riding
  • During riding, your horse is very fast, keeps speeding up, it's hard to stop him
  • While leading, your horse is unmanageable, pulls on the lead rope
  • Your horse escapes through open paddock/stable doors
  • Your horse won't stand still while mounting
  • Your horse doesn't pick up the legs while cleaning the hooves

These are cases of
Find out how to solve them:

  • Your horse is nervous, protests with the front leg, rears and kicks
  • While riding, your horse is tilting/shaking his head
  • Your horse grinds his teeth, his tongue hangs from his mouth (over the bit)
  • Your horse is swinging his tail nervously
  • During particular exercises, your horse threatens with his ears back
  • Your horse bites and behaves very aggressively
  • While tied up, your horse pulls and rears
  • During saddling, your horse is pinning the ears back

These are cases of
Find out how to solve them:

  • Your horse has no muscles in spite of daily riding and lunging
  • Your horse is doing exercises better on one side than the other
  • Your horse is very heavy on the hand, leaning heavily on the reins
  • Your horse is galloping in counter canter
  • In sitting trot, it is very hard to sit on your horse
  • Your horse is irregular in all three gaits
  • During riding, your horse's neck doesn't stretch down and forward
  • Your horse is falling on the inside or the outside shoulder on the circle

These are cases of
Find out how to solve them:

Klara Poljšak

(translated from Slovenian)

  • 5

"Blick is a 6 year old Oldenburg gelding, who keeps me company for a good year and a half now. He was started under the saddle, he was kind, but a fearful and distrustful horse. And I'm a stubborn and persistent 19 year old girl, who has lived for horses all her life. Take a minute and read our story. After two months of training with Blick, I mounted him one day, and he reared and bucked two times, so I literally flew off him. The ambulance took me to a hospital, where I stayed for two days. As luck would have it, I suffered nothing else but a concussion, which is why I don't even remember the fall. But ever since, I couldn't get rid of an unshakeable fear that settled inside me. After half a year, I did mount Blick again. He was calm and caused no problems at first, but every time I rode him, my heart was pounding so loud, that the neighbors could hear it. Blick felt that fear inside me and started to become tenser by the day. After another half a year, he no longer allowed me to mount him. The negative experiences caused by the fear I felt every time I rode him, made him so afraid of me, that he would run away as soon as I tried to put my foot into the stirrup. Everybody told me to give up, that Blick is a waste of time and money. I didn't listen to them, but kept searching for a solution, even though nobody agreed with me. I knew I needed professional help. I've been following Nastja on Facebook for a while now, plus I heard some positive rumors about her, which is why I decided to ask for her help. I could choose another trainer, but I didn't want Blick to be tied up and ridden forcefully. I like Nastja's approach much better, because she builds a relationship between a human and a horse in a correct way, depending on the character of a horse (Blick is an extremely sensitive horse). Nastja took in Blick for 14 days, she trained him every day. I joined a couple of sessions, so she could teach me how to keep working with Blick on my own. Blick was completely transformed, he became a different horse. Very calm and manageable. There was no desire to flee and fear in his eyes, instead he started showing love and compassion for humans. He realized that humans aren't beasts, and that they won't attack as they try to mount him. We're now working on the ground every day, and I actually mounted him! He stood calmly and didn't move a muscle. But the thing that means the most to me, is that I grew personally, that I became more determined around Blick and got rid of the fear. We're still working together with Nastja and she helps me to rebuild complete trust with Blick, so I could eventually take him into dressage competitions again. Overall, I think we can be too narrow minded. Why force your horse into anything, when things can be so simple and fun for us and our horse? Every rider should work with his horse on the ground first, and get into the saddle only after they've build a relationship based on trust and love, instead of anger and use of force. Every person and every horse could benefit from the techniques Nastja taught me. Thank you, Nastja!"

Correction of mental, physical and communication problems

To successfully and permanently correct just about any kind of problematic behavior, the horse must learn how to build a true partnership with humans, one that's based on mutual trust and respect. I build this bond with "Basic Manners Training", a series of practical exercises that are designed to eliminate communication and mental problems, which makes daily interaction and work with your horse a lot simpler and easier. The correction of physical problems can begin after the Basic Manners Training is completed (at least level 1 or all the way to level 2 or level 3).


Osnovno vodenje konja


Most horses brought in by my customers are unmanageable, have no respect for a person's personal space, or they simply don't realize that they have a person beside them, who is trying to lead them. Because of this attitude, a horse can step on you or even knock you down, especially if they're suddenly frightened by something. A lot of horses I work with simply can't calm down and stand still, they are nervous, they try to rush into the pasture, run up to other horses (especially stallions around other horses and mares). In basic leading training, I teach the horse to respect your personal space and to start following you around as his leader. This level of training is complete once the horse knows how to walk behind you, follow you everywhere you go, all while keeping a proper distance between you and himself. If the horse ever gets too close to you, you send him back with a simple command (it's entirely up to you to decide how big your personal space will be). Your horse will stop being pushy or impatient, but will become very calm and manageable. You will no longer have to hold him very close to its head, but you'll be able to lead him even on a long and loosened lead rope. No more fear that your horse will pull itself out of your hands and run away. Or that it will drag you away as you try to lead him into the pasture, the paddock, or when passing other horses. You horse will wait calmly for you to open the door and it will only enter after you invite him in. After entering the paddock, the horse won't rush forward or start kicking (we all know how dangerous that can be) because its excitement over grass and freedom. Instead, it will respectfully wait for you to take off its halter. The basic leading training is a must for horses that are dominant and tense, that keep rushing forward and that always want to be ahead of the human or other horses (during leading on the ground or riding).

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Napredno vodenje konja


During advanced leading training I teach the horse to respond to your body language and the moves of your body's center of mass, which is a prerequisite for the correction of numerous problems on the ground and during riding. Teaching the horse to respond to movements of your body's center of mass is extremely important for riding, because these ground exercises prepare the horse for responding to the tiniest movements of your body in the saddle. Advanced leading, as an upgrade of basic leading, is very useful for teaching your horse to go into the trailer and handling of various obstacles (puddles, creeks, stone walls, polythene sheets...) And just like with basic leading (where your horse walks behind you), your horse must respect your personal space and follow you around in advanced leading. And even though the horse walks beside you, it never "crosses" you, instead it stops whenever you stop. Advanced leading training is especially recommendable for spooky, afraid and unconfident horses, because having to walk beside you (as opposed to being able to "hide" behind you) is quite a confidence builder for your horse. Your horse will learn to adjust his speed to your speed, regardless of whether you're running or walking slowly, without you having to think about monitoring and correcting your horse. Advanced leading is also an ideal prerequisite for lunging, because you can make smooth gait transitions using only your body language.

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Desenzibilizacija konja


The desensitization of your horse is extremely important for boosting the level of trust your horse has in humans and his overall mental stability. As your horse learns to stop being afraid of different items, his trust in human leadership increases, it becomes more confident, braver, and more curious. The more we expose the horse to new items, sounds, and situations, the more immune the horse will become to things that used to throw him right into panic mode. During desensitization training, I teach the horse to stop reacting as instinctively (usually with a strong flight response), but to stop and think whether that plastic bag on the ground really is a threat to his life. We all know how dangerous panic reactions can be, whether you're on your horse's back or standing next to it. A panicky horse can hurt you, itself, or others (this can lead to a serious accident or expensive damage of property). During desensitization training your horse will keep facing different items and new challenges on a daily basis. Like I said, your horse will not only get used to new objects, but will begin to trust a human leader a lot more than he used to. As soon as the horse realizes that he has a calm and stable leader beside him, it starts feeling safe even in completely unknown situation. Desensitization training is crucial for trail riding, because the horse doesn't have your direct support as you sit on its back (because it doesn't see you standing next to him on the ground), which makes it all the more important that the horse doesn't react with panic in unpredictable situations.

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Ana Stariha

(translated from Slovenian)

  • 5

"I decided to ask Nastja for help when I ran into some problems with my young horses. They were extremely attached to their herd and they basically ignored humans, even when it came to the most basic handling. I had the most problems with my mare Zarja, which I bought for my riding school. The change of environment was very stressful for her and she developed numerous character flaws as a consequence - whenever she was tied or left alone in the paddock, she'd dig holes with her hoofs, during lunging she'd run into the fence, she was constantly focused on other horses, and would start shaking at the slightest unknown noise. After just a couple of training sessions with Nastja, the mare relaxed, she became more focused on the person leading her, started approaching people on her own and showed the willingness to cooperate. Later on, the problems with mounting were gone as well. My gelding Challenger, who also started cooperating better with humans, quickly started developing muscle mass, which was very important after his leg injury. I have nothing but positive experiences with Nastja's work, and I think what she does is awesome for preparing a horse for riding school, where it is especially important that horses are calm, tolerant, and respectful."


Dvigovanje nog


As responsible horse owners we know how important it is to regularly care for and trim the horse's hoofs. But none of us want to lose our nerves every couple of months, because we know in advance that the horse will start causing trouble as soon as we try to convince it to pick up its feet. The problem is, horses can feel vulnerable when standing on three legs, because this makes it a lot harder for them to run away if any danger should arise. Besides this, they also have to learn how to keep their balance standing on just three legs. But just like with all basic manners, I teach a horse to be respectful and to gently lift the correct foot when you ask him to. I also teach my horses not to pull out their legs from your hands, instead they wait for you to release their foot to the ground. Sudden and unexpected pulling or kicking can be quite dangerous, especially when the trimmer is holding a knife in his hands or nailing on a horseshoe. The calmness, manageability, and the trust I build when training the other basic manners, helps a lot when it comes to teaching your horse to be respectful and to stand still during picking up feet.

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Krtačenje konja


Most horses enjoy brushing. But horses, who haven't had much contact with humans, must get used to being touched all over the body. Horses can be very sensitive on certain parts of their bodies (the back, the loin, under the belly, and on the neck). Such horses can act very tense, swishing their tails nervously from side to side, while some dominant horses are even prepared to bite the person brushing them. On the other hand, some horses can be too focused on their surroundings during brushing (they play with the lead rope or halter, they step in place, they step on your foot, are impatient and can't stand still). Such horses can't really relax and enjoy their brushing time with their owner. Once I build the horse's trust in human leadership and presence, the horse no longer perceives brushing, cleaning and getting touched all over his body as something stressful. Instead, your horse will relax completely and start enjoying the brushing, which gives you, the owner, the perfect opportunity to better connect with your horse. Instead of stressful entries (for you and your horse) into your horse's personal space, brushing and grooming can turn into a true act of love towards your horse.

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Sedlanje konja


Just like with brushing, a lot of horses haven't learned to stand still during saddling. Especially young horses need to be taught to accept the saddle and gradually get used to the pressure of the saddle girth. A lot of horses I work with can be very nervous, grind their teeth, they want to bite and swish their tail during saddling and tightening of a saddle girth. This is usually the reaction of a horse who has always had a saddle girth tightened too quickly. Once I start tightening the girth slowly and gradually, the horse quickly relaxes and gives up their rebellious habits. Of course, some horses also need to learn how to stand still without trying to move his rear end away from you during saddling. But just like all other manners, calm and safe saddling of the horse can only be reached after I establish mutual respect and trust with the horse.

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Sabina Adamlje

(translated from Slovenian)

  • 5

"I own two mares: Stella, a 5 year old Haflinger, and Lady, a 15 year old Quarter Horse. I couldn't ride the younger mare Stella, because she was kicking and being very stubborn. Everyone, who tried to break her in to become manageable, tried teaching her by using force, some people even hit her. She didn't like this and has always looked for ways to get back at me (by trying to bite or kick me...) The other mare, Lady, was very unconfident and spooky. So I began searching the Internet for someone who can teach horses in a non-violent manner. I found Nastja's ad and she came. Now, both of my mares are calm and have a completely different relationship with me. The changes were rapid. I can now ride both mares without a bit and a saddle and they still behave very nicely. I learned that you need to have a good relationship with horses and show them respect - instead of using force when working with them."


Nalaganje konja na prikolico


Trailer loading can be a nightmare for a lot of horse owners. Usually, they try to drag their horse onto the trailer, while the horse resists, rears, tries to pull himself away and escape the frightening situation. Some people use a whip, a broom, a lunge line and similar things to force the horse into the trailer from behind. This usually makes the horse even more panicky, scared, or rebellious. Even if we try to bribe the horse with treats, trailer loading of a few hundred pound animal can drag on for hours. Needless to say, this can be stressful for both the horse and its owner and it can be especially annoying if you're in a hurry to attend an important competition, while your horse refuses to step into the trailer. After your horse learns proper trailer loading, you'll be able to quickly load your horse onto the trailer, without having to get up 4 hours earlier, a whole army of assistants or a bunch of unnecessary accessories and treats. Just the feeling of pride and satisfaction as your horse confidently walks into the trailer practically on its own.

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Enostavno zajahanje konja


Until your horse accepts human leadership and trusts you 100% on the ground, it will be hard for him to accept you on his back and is likely to cause problems (like rearing, trying to escape as we step into a stirrup, he'll move or turn around...) During simple mounting training the horse learns to approach the rider on his own, because this means a much more pleasant experience for your horse, he actually becomes motivated for you to mount him. In this way, all the resistance disappears, because your horse voluntarily allows you to climb on his back. Even if I mount a young horse for the very first time, the horse stands still, remains completely relaxed and has no panicky reactions because of this approach. I have proven time and again that it is possible to mount a horse for the first time entirely without running, jumping, kicking, rearing and similar attempts to get rid of the rider. Just take a look at the video, where a "problematic" 3.5-year Lipizzaner mare (read more about her in the testimonial below), how she reacts to a small gesture, voluntarily approaches the fence, and then calmly accepts the weight on her back.

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Aleš Štular

(translated from Slovenian)

  • 5

"Even though I've never met Nastja in person before, I've been following her work on Facebook for a couple of years now. I contacted her when I was looking for a trainer for my 3.5 year old Lipizzaner mare Trompeta XXIV. According to two trainers before Nastja, each of whom trained Trompeta for about 2 months, the mare was supposed to be a problematic horse. Nastja immediatelly took Trompeta into care and training, even though I was completely honest about the problems two other trainers faced. The first results were visible after no more than 10 days, when Nastja was able to lunge her without resistance and she began following her orders. In a month and a half, Trompeta was gently and properly broken in without a bit. After returning her to our stable, we worked with the mare in the riding arena for a while and soon began trail riding with her. We ride her in the classic manner, with a bridle and a bit. The mare has a kind character, isn't spooky and is easily manageable. Nastja has proven that a correct approach can lead to excellent and long term results."

Why should you trust me to train your horse?

Nastja Pungračič
Mind Body Horsemanship trainer

The path to "Mind Body Horsemanship" and what I can do with horses today led me through many falls off the horses' back, a concussion, and some injuries that my body keeps reminding me of even today. About 15 years ago I started wondering why can't working with and riding your horse can't more be a pleasant experience, something to look forward to. Why does trying to gallop with my horse or even riding him in the open pastures have to be a traumatic experience almost every time? I would give anything for someone to explain to me, even before I mounted a horse and began riding for the first time, how horses think and why they act the way they do.

But the more I researched and the more I understood how a horse's mind works and what their body language is telling us, the more of the problems I had with my horse I was able to solve. Today, for example, I know that "problematic" horses don't rear because they have a bad character, and that they don't throw off the rider because they are mean. After more than a decade of studying both human and horse psychology, I learned how to direct and lead the horse with nothing but my body language and how to build a respectful partnership with a horse. The result is a calm, manageable and obedient horse in every imaginable situation, both during leading and working on the ground and by riding in the arena or on trails.

Željana Drožđan Mateljan

(translated from Croatian)

  • 5

"When my daughter wanted to sign up for riding school a little over a year ago, I decided to take her to Horse Resort Stariha. I saw on their website that two nice girls teamed up there - Ana and Nastja. We met Ana first, and she immediately became a riding instructor for my girl, but Nastja was still working with a Belgian horse trainer, perfecting her horse training skills. I saw Nastja's videos of her work with her horse Vizir, and I thought how I'd like to work like that with my own horse - should I ever get one. Naturally, I had in mind a calm gelding/mare that would be easy to ride, and Nastja would teach us about liberty, some dressage elements and similar stuff. As it turned out, instead of a horse like that, I became the owner of a 9 year old stallion, who spent most of his life neglected in a stable...not exactly the perfect horse for someone who's only dealt with horses for about a year. Even though my horse wasn't aggressive, I was afraid to take him out of the stable and tie him up, much less do anything else with him, because Chip didn't really know a lot things, so we contacted Nastja for help. Naturally, as a true rookie, I thought Nastja would bring the horse in order, and then I'll have a nice and calm horse for riding. But I quickly realized things weren't going to be as simple and that I too will have to go to school with Chip. Chip quickly mastered the basics with Nastja and I learned to control my fear and built a relationship with Chip that allowed me to start training with him. Chip can't be ridden yet, but I hope that it will happen in the near future - it will be a special day indeed. Nobody would ever recommend a horse like Chip to a beginner, but with proper leadership, such a horse can teach a beginner a lot more than some calm, obedient and completely broken in horse-because in this case, you simply don't have a choice but to learn. Just find yourself a good teacher like I did."

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