Anon said : Mugs - speaking of Larry Trocha what's your take on him? I have always wondered. I have been reading his stuff for awhile and mostly dig the guy. Do you have any personal experience with him?
I CAN'T BELIEVE I FORGOT TO ADD THESE
Part of why I did the Larry Trocha spiel was to share these videos.
His colt starting is very similar to mine, except I don't do the longe line part. I'll get somebody to pony me sometimes.
Notice there's none of this lope the first ride stuff? I like that too. I have loped my first ride, but only if that's where the colt chose to go.
I like the way he gains control using turns on the fence. It seems more productive than my way of bending in circles. That little horse is already using his hind end.
-Smoke, 3rd time saddled:
being ridden on lunge line:
firt ride with NO lunge line:
the 7th ride:
also wrote a "Horse Training Tips Insider" newsletter about the "Time Frame"
of training a colt.
You can read it here:
I have been a supporter and promoter of Larry Trocha for many years.
When I first started training horses "officially" I was in way over my head. I was riding a bad tempered, poorly handled stud and the only thing I knew about the events I was supposed to ride him in, or stallion management, was that I didn't have a clue.
I was working with a competent trainer, but I felt like a complete gunzel and desperately wanted some more input.
I read every book and horse magazine I could find, but it wasn't enough. One day I read an ad in a magazine for a free training video. A cutting trainer in California, Larry Trocha, was offering a free video called "How to Slide, Stop and Spin."
Free was in my budget so I sent away for the video without any high hopes. How good could it be for free?
I was delighted. I completely understood his approach and was able to apply a lot of what he said to what I was learning with the trainer.
When tax return time came around I looked at his video packages and couldn't quite find what I needed, so I called Trocha training stables to see what it would take to get what I needed.
Larry answered the phone, which kind of threw me. "It's a slow day and the gal who takes care of the business side of things is off today. How can I help you?"
I told him the situation I was in and he helped me put together a great video package. Before we finalized the deal he asked me what my background was. I told him I had studied Monte Foreman's training methods under Mike Craig and had spent one long summer cleaning stalls for Monte in exchange for one, 8 hour day riding with him.
He laughed and said, "That sounds like Monte."
I asked if he knew him and it turns out he was a student of his.
No wonder I got all his concepts about rhythm and timing! We got to talking some more and it turns out we were both there the same summer. I was shoveling and he was riding. He was one of those kids who kept his horse there and rode with Monte daily. One of the kids I was so jealous of I would have spit if I hadn't been choking on my own bile.
The tapes helped me immensely and as the years passed and I finally became competent, I still bought his videos. I've used Larry's tapes for cow work and hackamore training. We have emailed back and forth occasionally and although I don't know him, he's always come across as a friendly, accessible guy.
I would kill to actually ride with him someday.
Larry and I don't train the same, but he's as close as I get to somebody you can buy a video from. I think he's easy to understand and honest in his opinions. I also get the impression he doesn't give a rat's ass about public opinion, he just wants the horse to get trained and for everybody to stay safe.
So here's where I make a slick segue into my next subject - keeping it honest.
One of the biggest traps we trainers fall into is trying to keep everybody happy and to act like we know all the answers for every situation.
Just because I know how to start a colt and train a cowhorse does not mean I can watch a rope horse go and understand why the horse had a slower time than the one before it. Beyond, 'it runs out of the box and the rider catches the cow,' I'm ignorant. I could no more help that rider improve his score by watching his run than I could teach a Mahout how to cheer up a grumpy elephant.
If I keep it honest I could help a roper with horsemanship skills, trouble shooting and behavior issues. I could help limber the horse up and teach him to take both flipping leads, if that's what was wanted.
If I was smart I would get the roper to help me build a loop, explain the difference between a good run and a bad one, why they ride long in the stirrup and what's different between their roping saddle and my cutter.
This still wouldn't make me an expert, but I would have an idea of what was involved in the sport and could provide better training if I got a rope horse in to work.
The next side of keeping it honest is to find my "holes." I just love finding holes. I found a great one this past summer while I was out riding with the Big K.
I have been having a heck of a time with the right side of my horses. From the nose, to the rib, to the haunch, Madonna and Odin have been slow, stiff and sticky. Fence turns were slow and awkward to the right and smooth to the left. When I was cutting, Madonna was stopping short on her cow to the right and kind of slinging herself through the turn.
I knew it was me, but I couldn't figure out where it was. I had friends and family watch me ride and nobody could see anything. My hips were straight and my legs were even. I rode looking through her ears like I was supposed to.
I emailed and called the Big K but he couldn't figure it out either. It was really frustrating.
Then I went to visit K at his ranch.
Five minutes into our first ride he said, "Why Janet, you're crooked."
"Yes you are."
Turns out my hips and legs, head and neck are even. But my right shoulder has begun to curl in and has also dropped a couple of inches. Kind of like I'm looking to the left, but I'm not. This was causing me to very effectively block my horses right shoulder.
"I wonder what caused that?" I said.
"I don't care, just quit doing it," Mr. Communication replied.
If I had fallen into the easy trap of hiding my weakness it would have caused me all kinds of problems down the road. Hiding a problem I'm having from my clients (back in the day when I still had clients) and especially from myself, can only hurt my horse's performance, physical ability and mind.
I'll use my weird twist as an example. If I had been dishonest with myself I would have blamed my horses. I would have rammed and jammed on them and forced them to work their way through my weakness. They would have eventually done what I said, but it would teach them to tune or what I was saying to them with my body.
Why listen to any of my cues when they only meant something one way? I would have ended up relying on hands and spurs more and communication less. This creates resentment on both our sides and eventually is how horses are labeled untalented, difficult or sometimes, dangerous.
You also can't get in the money riding that way.
Over the years I have learned the hard way to keep it honest with my horses. I've paid my price for thinking I had the answers when I didn't, and by learning to ask for help, I've started to get the answers to quite a few of my questions.
I just love finding holes.