Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sometimes We All Could Use a Little Dale Carnegie

I received a very interesting forward from Fugly today. She thought this would be a better post from my side of the tracks. I suspect she’s laughing her butt off waiting to see just how I’ll tackle this one. This is an interesting situation. I am sure there is an absolute nightmare going on at this barn. I’m just not sure which is worse. The bad training, which is obviously happening, or the venom spewing out of a woman who I think really wants to help. This is a classic case of needing to try a little honey instead of toxic waste.
Her un-edited letter is in green, the rest is all me….

There's a lady at our stable who is a trainer. From the first day I saw her riding, I was not impressed. She was yanking on her horse trying to do some half ass sidepasses.The first questions I would ask are,
What kind of horse is she training?
What discipline does she study?
Just "Western or English" isn’t going to cut it here. Does she train pleasure horses, reiners, trail horses, western riding, what?
Where did she study?
How many years experience does she have?
Who did she study under?
How many horses has she trained?

Everyone who takes lessons with her troddles along with 2-inch long cowboy parade spurs.I am not sure what “parade” spurs are. I do know that I use spurs. I understand their purpose. I understand they should be the difference between the poke of a finger (spur) and the punch of a fist (heel). I also make sure that any horse I train moves forward off my seat and legs with or without my spurs. I’m not aware of any troddling, but you’d have to ask my clients.
I would need to ask the trainer a few more questions.
What are the spurs for?
Can she ride her horses without them?
I would check any horse she rides for bumps, welts, scars or cuts in the spur area.
If there were any of those things, I would take photos of the injured areas. While I’m checking for spur marks I’d be looking for sored mouths. I’d be taking pictures here too.

All the horses she "trains" have draw reins 24/7 not to mention a big honking western bit.In my own personal experience--a good trainer can ride a horse sucessfully in a snaffle bit.

Draw-reins and big western “honking” bits have nothing in common. Incredible damage can be done with bad hands in a snaffle bit. Incredibly beautiful things can happen in a big western “honking” bit when the horse is well trained and understands the purpose of the bit, especially when ridden by educated hands.
Draw-reins are a tool. They are supposed to help a horse pick up his back. In my opinion, they are a cheater tool, which is usually ineffective. Although I have used them to retrain a horse that was trained by bad hands to ride with his nose in the air. Once the horse understood where I wanted his nose I took the draw-reins off. It took ten minutes.

A good trainer always uses pressure and release and tries to create a comfortable, relaxed ride for the horse. A trainer masters the horse on the ground first before getting on top and cowboying around.
A good cowboy knows when to get on a horse and ride. Most of the cowboys I learned to ride from did believe in a pressure and release method of training. I would be proud to have them “cowboy” my horse around. Actually, they taught me to “cowboy” my horse around. Using
pressure and release. Yee Ha!
I need to add a little here. The pressure and release approach is based on the theory of making "the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy". When a horse is doing the wrong thing a good trainer makes it difficult. It's the horse's job to find the comfortable relaxed place. This is on the ground or on his back.

It's sad because she gives lessons as well. She walks around our barn trying to order people around, and has gone as far to grab someone's horse from them to show them the right way.
If a trainer is in the arena with a client it is her job to order them around. If she is walking around the barn it is her job to keep her mouth shut unless somebody asks her a question. If somebody grabbed my horse I would notify the police and then the stable management, probably after I “cowboyed” her around.

Lately I've been really heated after watching one of her proteges' attempting to train a client's/boarder's horse. The little 16 year old snotty brat was on him, a 3 year old, with big honkin spurs, constantly yanking with the draw reins as his mouth was open and she was constantly over correcting him. She was also repeatly spurring this horse.
I hate draw reins. I used to ride my older mare in them because I didn't know how to control her and ride her because she was as hot as can be and always ready to go. I regret using them on her now, now that I've had more education on headsets.
I wonder. Did you become educated because somebody called you a sixteen-year-old snotty brat? Or because someone was kind enough to point out your troddle?

Is there anyway you can write a blog on headsets, draw reins, spurs, overcorrecting and more importantly--How to tell if you have a good horse trainer, and the long term effects of overcorrecting.
There is a terrible risk of permanently damaging your horse with the wrong bit and misused training equipment. Over correction with draw reins will create a horse that travels with his head to his knees, his neck breaking over in the middle instead of at the poll and riding over the bit. Draw-reins also push a horse on his front end, making them travel with a hollowed out back and no drive from the hind end.
Often a trainer will attempt to compensate for the trailing hindquarters by driving the horse forward and into their hands, I guess this is where the “honking” spurs come in.
In my experience this creates a crooked frame and false collection. The horse may achieve the desired look, but will be taking small, stilted steps and often develops unnatural mannerisms (tongue wagging, tail wringing).
It completely destroys all hope of getting any kind of stop.
Over-riding can also stress the horse mentally to the point where he will explode or just quit. At the very least this approach leads to a shortened life in the show-pen. Chronic back and leg issues will develop from too much pressure on to young a horse on top of the unnatural methods of developing collection.

The 3 yr old's owner received a call from me to let her know. She said she could tell her horse was acting like he didn't want to be ridden anymore.
This means the owner is open to a better way. In my mind that’s a great first step.

There are several other horses's down there falling prey to the hands of this idiotbitch. She drives the other boarders insane with her cocky ass attitutude, you swear she has a dxxx or something with the way she acts.
My guess is some of the horses and their owners (or at least their husbands, sons, or boyfriends) are similarly equipped. I know some of the cowboys who taught me the pressure and release method of training were. What’s your point? Making friends?

I'd at least like to let the unsuspecting public know the truth about horse training. Please write something I can print up and leave at the stable.Start with the list of questions I offered at the top of this letter. As a matter of fact, I’ll type up something you can post. Then tape up the photos of the bloody mouths and spur marks.
Most of the people riding with this woman feel they are learning the right way to be horsemen. I completely agree she seems horrible. But attacking her will only make her clients protective. Nobody wants to be told they are stupid or cruel or snotty when they think they are doing the right thing.
I would use my riding ability and perfect angel of a horse as an example. I would be happy to tell people how I learned to train in a different, gentler way, when they asked. I would keep my anger under control. If I treat people like they are idiots they aren’t going to listen to me. If I show them a different way that succeeds and creates a better relationship between the owner and horse, they’ll come on over.
I would ask the stable management to let you organize a clinic featuring a trainer you approve of. Then I’d ask some of the people you are worried about to help you organize the clinic.

You can beat a horse into submission as sucessfully as meeting the horse halfway. I'm definetly no PETA lady, if my horse does something bad, I smack her. But honestly, my horse hasn't done anything bad in YEARS. She's a prefect angel.To be honest, I don’t think you can beat a horse as successfully as you can meet them halfway. I found it works the same way with people. Good luck. I know your heart is in the right place.

_Questions For Every Trainer From Every Horse Owner

What kind of horse do you train?
What discipline do you study?
What is your specialty?
If you show, what have you won?
Where did you study?
Who did you learn from?
How many years have you been training?
How many horses have you trained?
How many horses are you currently riding?
Can I speak to some of your past clients?
Can I watch you ride a finished horse you have trained?
Can I watch you ride a young horse you are starting?


  1. Great questions. I agree completely. I would add that some very effective trainers can look harsh at certain moments on certain horses. The bottom line is how are the horses trained by this trainer doing? Do they perform well at whatever their event it pleasure, reining, whatever. Are the people who own the horses happy with them? Do the horses seem relaxed and content overall, even if they are sometimes worked hard and disciplined firmly? This is what I would be interested in. It sounds like this particular trainer would flunk my test. Unless she wins regularly at some event her clients are interested in, or is willing/able to get on unbroken horses and do an effective job of putting the first few rides on them, or is good at retraining problem horses, its hard to think of a reason why anyone would be taken in by her. Other than the usual, "you can never overestimate the gullibility of the novice horse owner." Which is sad, as many of these ignorant folks are well meaning, and as you correctly point out, just need a little help to tell right from wrong.

  2. Why has this person remained in the stable, watching all this abuse?

    Just asking?

    Sounds pretty shameful. Without physical picture proof, it could be an awful situation, or someone just pissed off about something. Draw reins, 24/7, isn't quite possible, is it? I'm hoping not, OK?
    If she wants to "out" someone, Trojan Mouse's blog has been looking for bad actors.
    If physical damage is being done to the horses, a call to the SPCA should be attempted and pictures taken.. I'd hate to have this be a Christina Wel's story.

    Just a suggestion.
    Novices don't know the difference.

    I hope the story isn't true. That's why I like to write fiction. It isn't as painful, when you make most of it up. I just channel old, painful memories, and write around that:)

    Sad to read, even sadder to experience, as I have, first hand, as well. I left the barn though, long story, boring, health related.

    A novice rider is a herd animal.

  3. Oh man, the title of this post made me laugh.
    Good questions, great advice. I hope the original correspondent just needed to vent, because as you so sapiently note, she's not going to get anyone to listen to her like that.

    But then, likely she won't get anyone to listen anyway - these situations always remind me of an arabic proverb I once heard, and never forgot:

    I told him it was a bull - he said "Milk it!"

    I find lot of people are like that once they get an idea in their heads.

    Ugh draw reins. *shudder* Sadly, you see far too much draw rein use in the dressage world (at least in my opinion and experience - I'm assuming it's the same in the US as it is here and Europe - I doubt the people can be too different).

    Sadly, it's just SO tempting for people to 'shortcut' to the correct frame without understanding that you can't force it.

    Unfortuanately, GoLightly, I have seen people who only ride in draw reins. I have seen people who use them a lot like the low neck set QH people do tie downs, or the gaited horse folks use their gimmicks.

    In inexperienced, or heavy hands, they're the easiest way I know of creating (best case scenario) a horse that's behind the bit, or (worst case scenario) creating a rearer. Gives me cold shudders just thinking about it.

    Incidentally, I have used them, and still do use them when required - they are in experienced, careful hands a useful means to an end - as a temporary teaching tool, not a training method. As an example, I used them on an ex-steeplechaser, who had his ears around your nose all the time riding cross country and had bloody-nosed his unfortunate new owner three times by throwing his head up and back over fences before he asked for help.
    After lunging and free jumping to improve technique, I schooled him over cavaletti in them (in a happymouth mullen snaffle nb) using the draw reins to prevent the reflexive head fling. It only took him a couple of quiet sessions to work out that ridden or not, he didn't need to jump like deer and it wasn't going to hurt to have his head down over fences. That learned, his original rider could come back to learn how to continue the job. He needed the draw reins for oh, three 20min sessions? If that, as I only needed the leverage for the last 3 strides or so. The rest of the time, I rode off the snaffle reins alone.

    As a dressage person, I think draw reins / similar tools are the biggest single area of "training aid" abuse I can think of - is there a similar theme in the western world?

  4. FD-OH yeah. Draw reins are a big favorite in western show pens. WP, reiners, cowhorse, I've seen them everywhere. Ironic, since it pulls them on their front end and creates a whole new set of problems. I have also used them with success, but each time it was to correct a stiff necked mess created by someone else.
    I've only seen running martingales in the cutting pen, but I'm not an experienced cutting trainer.Do cutters use them? Laura?

  5. In all fairness, I think people e-mail me stuff all the time they wouldn't say to someone's face...but I still agree with your post. Show them a better way and they will jump on it. Or if the trainer is the barn's trainer and it's her way or the highway, move'll never be happy watching stuff that drives you crazy.

    >>A novice rider is a herd animal<<

    So true. VERY true. That should be a bumper sticker!

    A running martingale is a pretty mild tool...I have one of those surgical tubing training forks and I love it. It has so much give that it's never just gently reminds the horse to consider bringing their head down and their nose in. I've had that fork work really well on TB's that come off the track with the upside down neck and the nose in the air. They can't brace on it like they might a standing martingale. It's more of a teaching tool because it gives.

  6. "Unfortuanately, GoLightly, I have seen people who only ride in draw reins."

    Wow, No other reins, attached? NONE? I've known ammies that "always" rode in draw reins, but they at least had a normal rein too. Yuck. And, mostly, they knew they were ammies, at least. LOL! I rode a solid red chestnut TB mare that shook her head and made terrible faces at draw reins. She was such a smart mare.

    It was the 24/7 draw rein comment that I took literally, I take everything too literally. Talk about morning macramé! Yup, tie 'em up in t'evening, and hope for the best.
    Ok, please tell me THAT doesn't happen.

    (fugs, psssst, wanna buy a bumper sticker? cheep, cheep?)

  7. Yup, just draw reins, no snaffle rein. I have also seen people riding in a double bridle with draw reins on the curb, and dear lord, talk about rein macrame.
    I wouldn't have the nerve personally, assuming there was ever a horse I felt needed it - and I can't imagine a situation where that'd happen.

    I could tell you that the 24/7 head tied down/in thing doesn't happen GoLightly, but I'd be lying. One of the sadder colts I ever saw came from a 'breaking yard' like that - he was kept in a surcingle and side reins in the stable, and ridden either in side reins or draw reins. Apparently that was their standard practise, although not normally so extreme. They told me he was rebellious, go figure. Funnily enough, my client didn't buy anything from them.
    I tried reporting them, but this was before the law in the UK changed - had to at the time have clear evidence of physical damage suffering, and he was reasonably well fleshed and shiny enough. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that he ended up with permanent muscle / spinal damage though.

  8. fugs-I agree, I think people write you to vent.And venting is a good thing when it's got a purpose, your blog proves that.Hopefully she'll find some value in my response.
    I hadn't thought of that one, if she's bucking up against an established trainer in a barn full of clients it will be a long uphill slog to fight her.
    It was the confusion between the training tools and how they're used that jumped out at me in the letter. It's hard to get people to pay attention when anger jumps track like that.
    Your martingale is a good example. There's nothing wrong with it, but put it into the wrong hands and it's a whole new game.

  9. I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with a spade bit. But they're pretty big wonking bits. I watched a trainer (not the Big K)ride his horse in a spade bit and draw reins right before the NRCHA Worlds. It was the most horrifying thing I've ever watched in my life. She skunked him at the World Show, so there was a little satisfaction.

  10. Mugwump, I never knew cutters to use draw reins...yes, some would use a running martingale. Doesn't mean no cutter ever used draw reins...I just didn't see it. Reason? In my opinion, because cutters don't (in general) try to teach horses to be "broke in the face". I've ridden many cutters who had won prestigious awards who could not/would not give their heads at all. Its a different method of training. That is, the old school "Texas style" version of training cutting horses. You know, they could cut a cow, and that was their one skill. I told you the story of the kid who asked the famous cutting horse trainer why his horse was loping in the wrong lead. Famous trainer (truly famous)relied "I don't give a F-- what lead he lopes in." And then the horse won the cutting. This is a true story and an illustration of the point of view that would find draw reins and what they can do irrelevant. And by the way, I take the middle road. I've used a method of checking up that is much like draw reins, though I don't like draw reins and don't use them, and I want my horses a lot broker in the face than these traditional cutters I'm talking about.

  11. I just want to say that first, I think ANY bit can be gentle or harsh. It all depends on the hands holding the other end of the reins.

    I've seen riders using some really nasty bits, but riding like they had reins made of a single thread. This was probably 100 years ago... long enough that I don't remember where or who, and I wasn't smart enough to question the type of bit, just impressed by the lightness of the riders hands.

    Conversely, I've seen idiots with an eggbutt snaffle raise their arms straight up in the air and start see-sawing like their life depended on it.

    Either way, the rider has GOT to understand bits and bitting principles. I think any trainer, english or western, who's worth their salt will take the time to explain how a bit works, the mechanics behind it, and the uses of it.

    And hello, draw reins as the primary and only rein? I've ridden with draw reins, only as a secondary aid. I don't know a lot of western riders who are super comfortable with double reins, but if you're going to ride with draw reins, you'd better figure it out.

  12. AND, the only times I've used draw reins is when I'm trying to get a horse to engage his rear end and work more "round", not keep his head down. If transitions don't work, if half halts don't work, working uphills, ect, if all else fails, I'll try draw reins.

    It's worked on some, not on others. If it doesn't work to try and engage them with your legs and half halt them to get more collection, I might try draw reins.

  13. Just throwing this out there but - what about the chance that the letter writer is just over-reacting? I know of a few people who think they know oh so much about horses but are really just complete beginners. Just because you've owned/ridden for years doesn't mean your skill level/knowledge has grown.
    Is it possible that she (?) doesn't know much about spurs, draw reins or "big ass bits"?
    To the uninformed a spade bit would be pretty dramatic.
    We have animal rights groups trying to make trouble for our barrel racing club over riders wearing spurs.
    As for the draw reins, if she used them and didn't like the results maybe SHE was the one using them incorrectly.
    Remember we're hearing one side of the story, with little to no information about how knowledgable the source of the info is.

  14. That is what bugs me the most about some cutters in todays world. My mare that I had was extremly broke in the face and broke to just about anything. My new horse on the other hand isn't. He is 10 and doesn't know how to flex or move different parts of his body seperate from the rest of his body. He is stiff as a board. I am now doing lots of bending exercises and getting him to 2 track. Its amazing what he doesn't know! One day I was working him on a cow and I went to lightly bump his nose to the cow because he was looking the other way, and instead of looking in the direction that I bumped him, he moved his butt away from the then that created a whole new problem, so now when I am going across the pen(and my timeing is right! LOL)I lift up and forward with my hand and bump him with the cow side leg...that has made a huge difference! He bends his body away from the cow and it gets his head toward the cow. But the only reason that he is doing that now is because I have done quite a bit of work teaching him how to BEND. This horse was(in my opnion)never taught "How" to lope or trot. He swings those legs around wildly and does nothing but go really fast! It seems to me that the trainer just got on him and let him go, not caring what he was doing, just as long as he worked the cow good...and he can do some pretty darn cool things on a cow!

    As for draw reins on cutters....I have never seen them used before on cutters. Headsetters, yes. And I cannot STAND those things. My trainer uses draw reins on his cow horses, but I certainly don't see him use them very much because he said that they will get a horse heavy on the bridle and if used too much, they will get the horse loping on the front end.

  15. Another thought on cutters in draw could cause a truly monumental train wreck!
    cdncowgirl- I see your point and then some. Let somebody go to one little clinic and figure out some body language and Oh My, you've got a trainer.
    I have spent my life dealing with that mind set. On the flip side of the coin, I also worked in a field where you never admitted using ANY on-the-ground philosophies, much less let anyone see you using a round pen for anything other than working a cow.
    So I try to balance it. My list of questions is one that I think should be used. It's also one a trainer should probably ask herself before she gets too righteous.
    I also understand how upset this woman could be if she's watching some really bad stuff....but like Laura pointed out, if she's at a barn watching an uppper level trainer work it could look really cruel simply because she doesn't understand what's going on. Which is why I suggested looking for spur marksand bloody mouths. The two things that really set me off.

  16. Mugwump, you hit the nail on the head. This woman who wrote the email says some things that to me brand her as a (probably) not terribly experienced English rider with a gentle horse. She might (perhaps) see any competent reined cowhorse trainer, or cutting trainer, or rope horse trainer as cruel, because all of them will routinely use spurs, none of these disciplines can be done (in their finished form) in anything other than a shanked bit of some kind, and many of these folks don't do an inordinate amount of ground work before getting on the horse. And by the way, many people who do all this ground work are simply afraid to get on and don't have the skills to ride a colt if he offers anything other than perfect compliance. They justify this as better for the horse, but in my opinion, it is not at all better for the horse, just safer for the not-competent rider. Anyway, to get back to my main point, a competent trainer might look just as cruel to your email complainer as an ignorant jerk of a wanna be trainer. That said, as I know you know, many competent trainers are cruel, even to the degree of bloody sides and mouths. I've seen it; you've seen it. Its part of the reason I quit competing, and it is in part the reason you gave for starting your blog. I have sincere doubts that a person can win at the high levels in reined cowhorse (and most other events) without being in some ways abusive to the horse. I used to show cutting horses with Tom Dorrance's wife; she had a nice, very correct mare who had never bveen abused (you can imagine). She could only win at the lower cutting club levels. The mare worked as a cutting horse should, but as you know, the ones who win at the high levels do a lot of extra fancy stuff they don't really "need" to do to hold a cow, and guess how they are taught to do this? I know you know. Its a conundrum, and as you've already pointed out, sorting through it is part of the purpose of your blog.

  17. All novice riders are herd animals. Love it. And most "horse people" are self proclaimed experts on all horse related aspects, nutrition, training, innate equine social behavior, you name it. As a novice, it is hard to tell who knows anything real, and who is making it up, or repeating what they heard at a clinic. A large grain of salt is crucial. And a skeptical mind. Assessing a trainer by his/her trained horses is the best standard.

  18. Because the individual in question is both a trainer and a teacher I'd add one more question to the list:

    What have your *students* won or what have they done?

    it is one thing to know (or not) how to do something, it is another altogether to teach that to someone else. Even if the individual in question was an outstanding trainer, if s/he cannot impart that knowledge to others, her teaching is useless.

  19. NagonMom
    "Assessing a trainer by his/her trained horses is the best standard."

    Unless he's just bought them recently, and hasn't had a chance to screw them up yet.
    I agree, as long as the trainer has several YEARS of trained horses to show you.

    Happened to me:(

  20. fugly and mugwump both... dale 'd be proud of both of you.. .for asking the ??? and being so tactful :) yikes more damaged horses and riders both from "trainers" that really arent

    happy trails all

  21. Well handled. I'm not a huge fan of yanking horses around, unless they absolutely need it. A big grade filly I work with at my rescue does act up sometimes, I learned to just make a loud noise to get a horse to stop something, and it works famously for me. Rarely do I yank down on her halter. That's the one bit of the blog I could relate to! But I have seen a lot of trainers train, and after a while you can pick out the cocky-don't-really-known-what-they're-doing trainers from the legitimate ones.

  22. "big wonking bit"...
    The best broke horse I ever had could do amazing things whether he had my pretty Garcia spade bit in his mouth or was wearing his girly purple rope halter, lol. With the spade bit, I could pick my hand up, and he would immediately break at the poll, and collect-just by me picking my hand up. *He also LOVED to roll the copper roller...incessantly!* LOL to the point that he used to drive the riders around us crazy!!
    Draw reins--not a fan. I see these *barrel racers* who's horses are completely dependent on them. Well, either draw reins or a tie-down. I use a tie-down on my finished barrel horse when we're making a competition run, just to give him a little more balance coming out of his turns. Otherwise, he doesn't wear one. It makes me sick to see 3 and 4 year olds doing exhibition runs before jackpots with a full set of draw reins....I understand their purpose, but by the time the horse is finished, they should be done with the draw reins. What kills me is the "finished" horses that are supposed to be open-caliber horses that are run in draw reins...I hate it. The only time I've ever had a *crazy* barrel horse was back in high school. I bought him as a make over type project, hoping to fix some of his issues. Unbeknownst to me, he'd never been around the barrels w/out draw reins. He could barely pick up a lead if he couldn't push against your hands, he had become so dependent on that pressure. He found a home as a happy go lucky trail horse--he didn't like barrels anymore.
    Anywho--the gal at the stable should probably try and look at it from the trainer's perspective if she can. If it was me, I'd try to go to some of the other local area barns and see how the other trainers treat the horses/students. Try to make a comparison as to how some things should and shouldn't be done. Just my opinion though...

  23. *O/T--
    Miss Mugwump...I need an opinion on unbiased opinion.
    I have a really nice filly that's coming 3 in April. She's halter broke, knows how to pick up her feet, etc.,has her basics. Never really been messed with, just been a horse. Ate and pooped for the most part, lol. She's Hard Twist on the bottom, Bugs Alive in 75 on top. My original plans for her were to try and aim her toward the Ft. Smith barrel futurity her 4yr old year....and here in lies my dilemma. I didn't want to push her, so I've put off any sort of under saddle training at all. She's good sized, good minded, everything a prospect should be. I found out in August that I was pregnant, so there's not going to be much riding for me in the near future, lol, not till maybe the middle of this coming summer anyway. I know she's really talented, just by watching her, and knowing her dam and her sire. I wanted to be the one to start her from the ground up, but it's not going to be happening that way...should I let someone else get the basics done and pick up where they leave off when I'm ready, or just let her hang out until I'm ready to do it all? I'm kinda over the futurity idea, unless I wanted someone else to start her on the pattern and haul her to finish her enough. I think it would break my heart to see someone else taking her through the pattern....if you were in my boots and she was a cow horse prospect, which way would you go with her??? I have all the faith in the world that she can make an awesome horse, not just a good barrel horse. I've moved past the futurity idea for the most part because I'd really like to see her have a long career as a good all around horse, not just a 2 or 3 yr career as a barrel horse b/c she breaks down from too much too soon.

  24. Very interesting post, I quite enjoyed it! I am a new blogger and am enjoying the experience! Do you have any sites or recommend any reading for getting my horse off of his forehand and getting impulsion from behind both while lungeing and while riding? I have a green AngloArab and am not a trainer! (But I guess I am now;) so I am working hard get his headset which I know comes from behind....thanks for any advice you may have!

  25. barrelracer- Now you know why I've become an "armchair trainer". It's a tough call. IF I had someone I knew could start a colt the way I want I would get my horse started. Congratulations on your baby! Anyway, I would feel better if my young horse had the basics, especially if I had a baby coming. When my daughter was born she became my whole world. Still is in many ways and she's seventeen. It took me awhile to get back to thinking my horses were all that important. If I had a promising horse I would get a good start on her, even if somebody else does it, and then feel free to lose myself in my child. Your horse will be sound and ready for you when you are ready to dive back in.
    Personally, when it comes to finishing a horse I don't want anybody else on board. But I wouldn't want to wait too long to get her started.

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  27. barrelracer--I just have to say that I agree with mugwump. I'd have someone I trusted start your filly. I had the same experience mugwump did. When my little boy was born he became my whole world and I didn't do much with my horses for years. I had one colt that I had put six months riding on, and he got farmed out to others for the next few years. If your filly gets a good start as a three year (thirty good days) you can pick her back up later and it should work well. The horse I bought in college was five years old, and had had thirty days as a three year old and no other riding. He gave me no problems in training, remembered what he'd learned as a three, and went on to stay sound until he died in his late thirties (and yes, I owned him the whole time). Congratulations on your baby!

  28. ::SIGH::
    LOL-thank you for the good advice ladies, and for the congratulations on our new little girl. After our son (now 3 yrs old) was born, I didn't ride for almost 2 years...just got back into the swing of things earlier this summer. My husband said he's up for doing the basics with her, getting her started well enough under saddle that she should be ready when ever I am. He's said it's up to me, but I feel alot better knowing that my own personal trainer will start her right here at home, where I can watch all that he does with her. We've had a few offers from other folks to take her and start her, but I just couldn't do it.
    Our little boy started riding quite a bit this summer, so I didn't go as much and as often as I could've, mainly so that he could have a good time and actually learn how to ride...the few times I did get to go just made me want to go more, lol. Just as my new barrel horse and I were starting to click, we found out about our new baby! Talk about timing, lol! Anyway, thank you for setting my mind a little more at ease-I've had a few *friends* that have marveled at the fact that my filly is almost 3 and isn't even broke to ride yet....I suppose I'm an abomination to them, but, hey--I bet my horse will be sound longer than theirs are!! :p

  29. barrelracer, as I've gotten older and gotten away from the mindset I had when I was competing at reining and cutting (you know, the three year old futurity mindset) I have come to the realization that thirty days of riding at three, ninety days at four, and six months at five, with turnout in a big pasture in between, is my ideal program. At six the horse becomes a regular using horse. They really do stay sound, and are mentally good, too, when trained this way. But I am training (or used to) rope horses for my own pleasure, and don't have to fit into anyone's system. My old reining and cutting buddies would be aghast at this program.

    Its so funny, I started riding again when my little boy started riding, just like you, and all my riding since has been with him. No, I never went back to competing...right now we ride the trails together and I'm loving that. Who knows what the future holds.... I'd have my husband start your filly under your watchful eye, if it was me. Always hoping this didn't lead to divorce....(I'm kidding).

  30. LOL! This will be a test for our marriage, that's for sure! If he can last through me sitting my round self in a lawn chair while he tries to teach my little darling some manners, lol, we can make it through anything! *He's done alright w/her so far-he halter broke her and got her to load in the trailer this w/end when she was absolutely convinced there was no reason for her to go in the trailer. I guess we hadn't heard about the monsters that live in stock trailers that eat sorrel fillies....
    I have two nice older horses, one that's finished, and another that needs more pattern work to be solid. I'm hoping by maybe next fall I can get back to at least just riding, and not take a 2yr hiatus like I did after the last baby!

  31. >>What have your *students* won or what have they done?

    it is one thing to know (or not) how to do something, it is another altogether to teach that to someone else. <<

    Absolutely. And sometimes there's a real discrepancy...I can TEACH better than I can DO. I have always been that way. I am simply not a natural athlete, so I have turned out some riders who were FAR more talented than I will ever be. I had the eye for other people's riding, and I could explain in simple terms. Didn't mean I could do it myself. To this day, the inner trainer screams at me nonstop about my own riding. I know what I do wrong but I can't always get the message from brain to body, especially in that 2 seconds where I realize something is seriously going wrong. Sometimes I hit the ground before the message goes to my body to correct the situation that is about to plant me there. It's annoying.