Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Man From Snowy River Horse Training




This video is making the rounds on FB. There are lots of wows about how cool it is, and "Someday, I'll get my horses to do that too!"

There I was, jumping up and down, hand high in the air, yelling, "I know how! I know how!"

Didn't do me much good, since it was 6:30 a.m. and I was sitting alone...in the dark...on FB.

Anyway, this is Man From Snowy River training and is sooooo 1970's. No, Man From Snowy River training is not a real method, especially since it was actually filmed in the early '80's. Which is when  the whip cracking thing became popular.

The "get the horses to come running" trick was a popular thing to do when I first started training. I was a teenager and, you guessed it, it was the 70's.

It was back in the days before we whispered, there were no carrot sticks, the games we played on our horses didn't involve clickers and usually required riding them while we played. We didn't wear helmets, shoed only in the summer, and our horses were wormed with a tube jammed up their noses and down their throats.

Training took longer, a colt was started over three years instead of three days, but the first thing we did with them, once the buck was off, was hit the trail. This video is a great way to explain how the kinder, gentler trainers did it back in the day.

Here's how to teach them to come running and jump in the trailer - Man From Snowy River Style.

Our trailers were front loads and they were SMALL. We didn't think twice about jamming them in there and having them spilling over the top of the butt bar. Our horses learned to cope, probably because nobody asked them how they felt about it. I was told (and believed everything the feed store guy told me) that the horses needed to fit tight to be safe...so we hauled them saddled.

Thanks for sending the pic of your trailer Becky!

I taught my horses to load by feeding them in the trailer. I could back it to the gate of their pen or leave it open in the pasture (my preferred choice). It usually took three days. I put grain on the floor about two-feet in the first day, then to the middle, then in the feeder on the third day.

That was it. If they weren't jumping in to get fed by three days, I just waited. It never took more than a week, even with the trailer sour ones. They loaded themselves in, then got themselves out.

Once they had it down, I closed the doors, put the grain in, and didn't let them eat until I put on a halter and threw the lead rope over their back. This also taught them to let me catch them in the field.

 When we were kids, my mom had a bell, kind of a modified school bell, she would ring so we would come home. If we heard that bell we all came running. We knew there was dinner waiting and if we didn't get there quick enough we might not be asked to join the others at the table. In my family, when it came to food, dawdling was a bad idea.

I did the same with my horses. Hung a bell and rang it at feed time. Each horse got fed as he came in. After a while, only the horses that came at a run got grain with their hay. The dawdlers were left with just hay. That was all it took. If I rang the bell, they came in at a dead run.

If I wanted my horses to run into their trailer at liberty, I would have them loading and responding to the bell training (Mr. Man From Snowy River Wannabe cracks his whip). Then I would start putting the grain in the trailer and ringing the bell.

The thing is, Mort would jump into any open trailer he passed. With me on him or not, didn't matter. If I wasn't paying attention, in we'd go. Which is why I never taught him to RUN in.

The end.
You're welcome.

So, so 70's.





27 comments:

Allison B said...

Pavlov at his finest :)

Becky said...

I'm happy to share pics of my stuff... after all, I understand why you didn't want to post a picture of your trailer.

http://portland.craigslist.org/clk/grd/4259316366.html

mugwump said...

Hey! I painted that myself!

Cindy D. said...

I did see that video on FB and although it was nice to see such good ponies running into the trailer, the thing that I thought was the most interesting was that the guy was hauling those two big horses with his little station wagon.

mugwump said...

Cindy D. - It's that 70's thinking again. There wasn't much a good Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser couldn't do...

Heather said...

Thanks for the trip back to the '70s. I remember those days. Bareback with a halter and absolutely no helmet. Helmets were for those snobby english kids! Oh, and going to a trail ride and seeing all those horse butts hanging out of trailers. Watching a teeny two-horse Miley trailer disgorge a 16 hand quarterhorse - it looked like one of those snakes popping out of a can.... We didn't whisper at horses - we yelled at 'em. Back when I was skinnier and didn't fear getting pitched. Oh how I miss those days. :-)

Anonymous said...

I can relate to pretty much everything you write...don't know if that's good or not but I'll go with the good.
Mom started using a whistle to call us home when she had laryngitis and kept using it after she got better. Boy, the teasing we got! But it worked so well that the neighbors would occasionally get her to whistle us home so their kids would come too!

Heidi the Hick said...

Fantastic!

I cringe when I think about hauling my pony to the fair in my dad's 1955 F -100. Not a big truck by today's standards or even in the 70s. Good thing she was tiny! Dad backed it up to a hill and walked her onto the truck bed, and then after the fair we sort of... lifted her onto it since the hill there wasn't quite bumper height. Geez. So, cringe, but also really cute and funny. On account of nothing bad actually happened.

This video is a neat party trick with useful practicality!

gtyyup said...

Just watched that video this AM on FB...it WAS cool...should have known you'd be the pro at that too ;~)

mugwump said...

Heidi - I used to envy the kids that would show up at the gymkhanas with their horses riding in the back of a pickup. No panels... just in the truck. There were only a few, but they just jumped in!

Anonymous said...

In relation to the vehicle, it looks like a standard Australian/NZ SUV rather than the baby monster trucks that you find in the US - the trailer (better known here as a horse float) is a lot lighter than the ones in the US, and the tow vehicle would (without seeing the make and model badges) be a 4 Liter or more diesel - a standard towing set up for here.

Shadow Rider said...

Those were different times. I've hauled a pony in the bed of a pickup truck. I've also led a pony home by sitting in the back seat with the window down, and leaning out to hold the lead rope. I remember when everyone had bumper pads under their halters because horse trailers all were small with low ceilings. I also remember going to events and seeing ponies piling out of a stock trailer like clowns out the car at the circus. (and all tacked up too)

Shadow Rider said...

Those were different times. I've hauled a pony in the bed of a pickup truck. I've also led a pony home by sitting in the back seat with the window down, and leaning out to hold the lead rope. I remember when everyone had bumper pads under their halters because horse trailers all were small with low ceilings. I also remember going to events and seeing ponies piling out of a stock trailer like clowns out the car at the circus. (and all tacked up too)

smazourek said...

Damn, I seriously need my own trailer.

smazourek said...
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Russinka said...

The whip cracking thing is pretty common out here regardless of era. I know several young (and dumb)teenagers who stand on the backs of their (very tolerant) stock horses cracking a stock whip or chasing kangaroo off the paddocks at a full gallop with the whip cracking on both sides of the horse. I never mastered the skill but all of my horses are totally bombproof to the sound and feel (having a whip cracked off them and being flicked lightly with the end of) to the stock whip. Shooting also doesn't seem to bother them.

IndyApp said...

Ahhh,,, Food. They Great Motivator of horses.

Robin said...

I had a horse in the mid- to late-60's that LOVED traliers! He would load at the drop of a hat and was frequently used to show other horses it was OK. The funny thing was that if you actually moved the tralier with just him in it, he went nuts and tried his best to get out. But he would always load like a prince no matter what! Great horse!

dehda01 said...

Oh... The video is no longer available. Bummer!

antelope19 said...

SO glad you're still blogging!!! I love these stories.

zebradreams07 said...

Mine are trained to a whistle. I rarely feed grain, just whistle when I throw hay and they'll all stampede in from the back pasture. They are VERY easy to catch.

Heidi the Hick said...

I can't whistle very loud so I just yell HEY YOU GUYS and they run in. It took a few years for me to realize that I'd accidentally trained them for something useful!

Heidi the Hick said...
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Heidi the Hick said...
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Lori said...

My dad built panels for his truck to haul my horse. He LOVED to go for a ride and would just jump into the back of he truck and off we would go with his mane flying and him neighing at every horse we passed. When I was about 13 my friend and I rode to town for a pop. There was still a hitching rail in from of the general store. As I rode past a pickup, loose reined and relaxed, he jumped into a parked truck that just happened to have the tail gait down. Shocked the lady sitting in the passenger seat, me and my friend. I had to turn him around and convince him to get out because he could not go for a ride. I was always more cautious after that.

Anonymous said...

Woah... That how I taught my mare to load! But I think she's in time for a tune up, so I'll be doing the whole thing again in a few weeks.

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