Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Clinics and Such

Before I get into clinicians I want to get back to GoTucker Go....She asked about what I mean when I say sit still on her pluggy horse -

Once he trots just sit quiet, no squeezing, pumping, bumping, nothing. Quiet weight, hands, legs. When he walks and just sort of dribbles to the gate, sit deep, exhale and make yourself as much dead weight as you can. If he stops, big praise, then ask him to trot out again, squeeze, bump, make him hustle....then sit quiet again. If he doesn't stop until the gate, don't worry about it. Still exhale, praise, then go again. You'll start building a whoa off an exhale while you're sitting quiet. Always a good thing. The key here is getting your horse to respond off a soft cue. Once he will trot off with energy and stop off your exhale you can work on sustaining the desired gait.

So onto clinicians.

I think clinicians are pretty valuable. We don't have access to the big ranches and farms who used to produce decent broke horses. There just aren't enough left. So we have a pretty large population of people who want to ride and a fairly large population of horses, but neither the horses or the people have the education they used to.

Lessons are great. Being able to put a horse in training can be great, especially if the owner gets the opportunity to ride the horse in training.

But there's a serious expense that goes with lessons and training. For the most part the owner will need a trailer, lots of extra money, time and luck to guarantee the right instructor or trainer. Unfortunately, once you own a horse your extra $$ flies right out the window and into the feed tub.

Also, as far as I'm concerned, the primary purpose of a clinician is to get the horse owner to think. Think about the horse as a horse, not their child, their dog or their boss. To help a horse owner understand and function in the equine world in relative safety and to be able to gain and develop their own philosophy and approach to horses.

If you can avoid the hype that tends to go with a popular clinician and simply glean the information you need to be safe and happy with your horse, than none of them are a waste. I personally refuse to buy anybody's stick, halter, mecate, T-shirt or ball cap. I just won't do it.
I go to clinics to watch how the clinician rides and works the horse, hear what he has to say and go home to think about it, not buy their crap.

If I ride with a clinician I do every single thing they say. I never tell them what I think or what my old trainer said, I NEVER tell them how they differ from the last clinician I went to. I usually ride a horse I am confident on because I want to be able to watch and absorb, not worry about getting tossed. I will ask about a problem horse, but I rarely ride one in a clinic. I don't believe in quick fixes, so insight is what I'm looking for over immediate answers. I stay and watch every rider, every day.

In the year before I retired some of my students became enamored with Clinton Anderson. I have never seen the man, as I don't get the RFD channel, but I had read a few of his articles and he seemed OK.

As a rule I would encourage my students to go see whoever they wanted, then come tell me what they've learned. Often I would have them ask the clinician about specific things we were working on, because hey, maybe they could help.

One of my students, Lyn, couldn't get enough of the guy.

"I know you don't want to hear this," she told me, "but he sounds just like you."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"He has a bunch of the same approaches you do, it's just wild."

I looked at her new Clinton Anderson hat, halter and mecate and sighed.

"If he's just like me why don't you save some money and just show up for your lessons?"

Greed aside, the point I made to her was of course we sounded alike, at least in some ways. Because horse training is what it is. Not rocket science by the way. Everybody has to approach it in a variation of the same way or the horse won't get trained. And in my part of the country every trainer has been influenced by Tom Dorrance or Ray Hunt. Every one of them. Including Clinton Anderson.

The standard clinician method of starting a colt is based on the Dorrance/Hunt teachings. And guess what? They didn't invent it either. Basic horse sense is essentially the same the world over. So it comes down to learning to listen, think and apply what works for you and your horse.

Things branch off once you begin to specialize. Then your mentors become the trainers who are the tops in their field. By the time you get to them they expect you to know how to handle your horse. But the discussion still revolves around the mind of the horse and how to get in there.

GTTYUP asked what clinicians I liked. So here goes. If I don't mention some it doesn't mean I don't like them or disapprove of them (although there are plenty of those out there). It simply means I'm telling you who I like. You should know, I think reading a clinicians books or watching their tapes are every bit as valuable as seeing them in person.

Monte Foreman. The reason I'm a trainer. His Balanced Ride methods helped me learn to use rhythm and timing to get my results. My riding is still heavily based on his teaching, almost 40 years after the fact.

John Lyons. He's great for a beginner. He will help you think. He likes people to take many, many steps. He might bore you to tears but by God, you'll know how to move a horse around by the time you've finished step 97b.

Monty Roberts. Yes I know he's politically incorrect. But he taught me more about reading a horse's body language than any of them.

Julie Goodnight. Smart, sensible and creative. She can teach you to handle your horse in a sensitive manner without going all "mystic unicorn magical puppies and kittens" on you.

Ray Hunt. If you missed him, than read him. Very dull, poorly written (but better than Tom Dorrance) and loaded extremely important food for thought.

That's it for the basic clinicians.

On to the specialists.

Don Murphy. He's the Reined Cowhorse god. No shit. He spent ten minutes explaining how he wanted me to approach my hackamore horse and it changed my entire training philosophy.

Sandy Collier. She is consistently a top ten finalist in all the major reined cowhorse events. The first time I rode with her I understood why. She can place a horse between her reins and legs more effectively than anyone I've ever seen and is very generous with her information. Again, she can help a woman ride from a woman's point of view.

Martin Black. I have just started reading and watching Martin's videos. He is intent on teaching and training true bridle horses. So far, I'm impressed with his approach.

Larry Trocha. A cutter from California, Larry has been incredibly generous with his information over the years. He is Monte Foreman based, so I understood his approach from the get go. He has been a great resource for me not just in cutting, but in reining basics too.

Now that I've gone through the big names, I'll share a few secrets. I prefer to get a group together and approach a local trainer who I admire. They will jump at the chance believe me. We're all horse poor.
I'll get with a reining trainer for reining input, a cutting trainer for cutting, etc. I don't need them to be approved, graduated or certified. They just need to know something I don't. Because I'm like this I have a pretty good range of contacts.

Another money saver is to get the same group together, buy a few tapes from a clinician you're into and study them as a group. Practice their techniques and help each other.You'll save loads of cash and you won't have to buy a single specially designed rope halter. Not one, I promise. If you add a pitcher or two of Margaritas to the mix you'll find yourselves talking about your horses and how to ride them, train them and love them well into the night. That's what I would call a clinic.


Fyyahchild said...

Seriously awesome post with great ideas. Thank you for addressing the positive way to look at clinics/clinicians. Thank you, Mugs.

badges blues N jazz said...

I have personally just recently discovered C A. (thanks to RFDTV) Now, I am in NO way thinking he is GOD, and I have not gone out and bought any of his "training tools", but I am very pleased with just the basic groundwork he teaches. He is a no nonsense, easy to understand kind of person. THATS what I like. I like a trainer/clinician that is easy to understand.

Its funny, I've ridden with a few people and had lessons, but ONE in particular has been amazing. I GET what she is teaching. It makes sense, and I understand it. I think when choosing a clinician or trainer that you need to make sure you "click".

If you cant understand what they are trying to teach you, then its time to move on and find one that speaks in a way that you "get". Thats my take on picking a trainer..

Tammy said...

Julie Goodnight was just at the Nebraska Horse Expo. She filled in on Sunday for Ken McNabb. We were impressed enough to invite her back for next year! Very well received, well spoken and easy to understand.

GoTuckerGo! said...

Thanks Mugs,

Weather permitting I'll be going out to work with him tomorrow morning. We are forecasted for rain for the rest of the week and the ring will be a mess for a day or two after that. Once we get a few sessions under our belt I'll give you a progress report.

Thanks so much,

Sarah said...

I went to my first clinic this last weekend. It happened to be at the horse expo I attended. I would have gone to every single one they offered by my friend got bored (after only 6 hours in the cold, quitter!) and so I was nice and took her home. I found it interesting. He was showing how to get a horse through things that scare them on a trail ride. Now I don't know how many tarps you come across on a trail ride- but I got the general idea. He was trying to sell crap. Luckily (?) I don't have a horse so I didn't get suckered into buying stuff- but I did find his ideas (mostly rehashed, from what I've been reading) interesting. It did make me think though- plus I got to see it in action. I gotta say, your blog is so informative, I really really love it. You make me want to get a crazy horse. Your training seems fantastic, but seeing it done was something else.

Justaplainsam said...

Good advice as always. I truly love reading stuff by John Lyons. Read every article by him as a kid, and was really (plesently) suprised when he had a new article in Horse & Rider. Good advice for real world situations.

Im personly not impressed with CA. His stuff always seems a little too gimicy for me...(use my clippers, tie ring, rope ect.)

kel said...

I have been to a couple of Clinton Andersons clinics and I own the magic halter. :) the deal is that Clinton didn't make it magic for me but an old frenchman did. I had a horse that was beyond cinchy and he took that rope halter and had a coming to jesus meeting with her and now whenever you put that halter on her, she stands quietly for anything. He never laid a hand on her. I know it would have worked with any rope halter and I have tried several brands - even tieing my own but none just fit like old Clintons. :) I like what he has to say and his humor. Am I a huge follower...nope. I glean what I can from all of them.
I have seen John Lyons, Al Dunning, Bob Avila, participated on horse back in the Craig Cameron extreme horsemanship clinic, (it will kick your ass) and rode 2 days in a Richard Winters clinic. The Richard Winters clinic was supposed to be an advanced horsemanship clinic wtih cows and I was kind of disappointing because the the majority of the riders were not advanced and had never worked cows.
So here are a few questions that I will ask when I do another.
How many riders will be in the clinic?
How will you determine the riders skill level?
Will the clinician have helpers? If so, how many?
Is the clinician bringing his own horse or is he riding one that is provided? (That is important, it is hard for a clinician to demonstrate skills on an untrained horse.)

I wanted to ride in either a Martin Black or Jack Brainard clinic this year but it doesn't look like I am going to be able to. Glad to see Martin on your list, I have heard alot of good things about him.

Another clinician that I would like to see is Curt Pate... any thoughts?

Stelladorro said...

Funny that you got on this topic today, I just found out some big name paint western pleasure person is coming to give a clinic at my barn. (Yes, I have already forgotten the name.. whoops!)

I'm not into paints or western pleasure, I'm more of an arab/english person. However, I'm planning on sitting on the bleachers and watching all weekend. I've learned more training my horse listening to my barn's western pleasure trainer when she decides to throw me random bits on information then I have in many 'Arab' trainers. So heck, I might as well try someone else's methods, especially since I can listen in for free!

Deered said...

I always did as told at a clinic and had an interesting session once - the poor clinicial is brilliant (Plympic medals in showjumping) and can get a tune out of anything - however my red headed mare was having issues with one exercise - it was something that she just hated, so I had found a different way to do it that worked - however I did as told for the lesson, and she resisted and I got to look at the her blaze - was told I was doing it wrong and he'd show me how - so he got on - 10 minutes later he got of and said something along the lines of "I've never had that happen - do what ever you were doing cos it seems to work for her!"
I've never been to a NH style clinic - they weren't here when I was riding - or were only just getting here, but I learnt a huge amount from the old guy down the road, who was a cavalry man during world war I. I think he had forgotten more about horses than most will lever know.

Esquared said...

Hmm, this is a very interesting post for me. At this point in my life, unless its extremely close by and free, you won't see me at a clinic (hence, I've never been to a clinic). Simply because I'm not going to pay practically the same price to take my horse someplace for a day as it cost me to buy said horse... not that my horses are crummy, I just like buying young untouched bargains... I do however buy their books sometimes and such, usually used/or off ebay (what can I say, I'm a very thrifty teenager), so this list does in fact help me. I hate to tell you mugs, but I did in fact buy one of clint's 'special sticks' and halter... this was prior to my discovery of ebay and I had no idea how to make my own (I didn't want to smack them around with tree branches...). Anyway, it has worked out nicely for me. I never did use the halter as his halters run small and there was no way I was paying %20 restocking to exchange it. However, he was the first to show me the value of a long lead rope and a rope halter... my education had been sadly lacking. Still somewhat is, but every time I start another horse it seems to expand.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Oh I so love getting together with trainers and talking horses! I really wish I had more opportunity to do that with more people.

Due to the competitive nature in MN, it is hard to find trainers who are interested in a "new" colleague-friend.

Yes, anytime I ride for another trainer and/or at a clinic, I do it exactly like they tell me to. Even if I need to suspend my disbelief a little bit.

For me, I learn more if I keep an open mind, open ears and a closed mouth. Although I definitely need to school myself at it. Practice makes better.

Heidi the Hick said...

Thanks for the list! I've read the John Lyons book so many times, and it really helped me with the concept of breaking it down into manageable steps. Especially when struggling with anxiety and lack of confidence, small steps are essential!

I like your suggestion of getting together to watch training vids and have discussions. My coach is getting a few of us students together who all have a goal of getting our certification. (Around here it's getting very important to have that.) We each take turns teaching a short lesson, then critique each other. It's amazing, truly enlightening, to learn from each other this way. Plus it numbs us to the pain of being tested, and watched while we're teaching.

See how many ways there are to learn?

justride said...

I just love Sandy Collier. She has done a clinic here last year and is coming again in May. After watching her or riding with her you are so motivated to ride the next day! If you ever get a chance to ride in one of her clinics, you will NOT be sorry.

SkyBar Farm said...

Great post Mugs!

I have learned over the years with clinicians that I take a little from here and a little from there. I use what works for my horse and me and discard the rest. Never do I disagree with someone whom I have paid good money to teach me. I just smile and take it in.

I have ridden with Al Dunning. I was in the beginner portion and my friend was one of the advanced people, she felt I should have been in the intermediate. I just wanted to be on safe ground doing things I knew my horse would easily do so I could pay attention. I took a lot out of that weekend, there were several others though who were disgusted and that felt he was very rude to them. These were riders who had signed up for the advanced class. They wanted to learn flying lead changes and such. Unfortunately, their horses could not even stay straight or ride a circle without falling in or out. I know Mr. Dunning was beyond frustrated with a lot of those people. My advice to anyone riding in a clinic. Be absolutely honest with yourself about you and your horses abilities. You are not there to impress anyone, you are there to learn.

I had the opportunity to ride with Richard Winters as well. He and his wife are very sincere, honest, down to earth people. I did the big no no though and took a horse who just was not comfortable away from home yet, nor was I comfortable on her. She was just a little over 2 and a local "trainer" begged me to take her. Mr. Winters was very calm and patient with me. He would give me something to do, and I would go off to the other part of the arena and work on that while he would work with the other 3 participants. At the end of the clinic, he told me how brave I was to ride that little yellow mare who was a tad explosive. I smiled and said do not mistake bravery for stupidity. He got a good laugh from that. That little yellow mare of mine is still with me and still just a tad explosive at times, but I am way more comfortable with her, mostly due to the stubborn part of me that hears Mr. Winters in the back of my head.

Anonymous said...

I have a question. I'm trying to word it right.

You've been very clear about how you approach learning, ie. be quiet, don't bug the trainer and only ask specific questions if they apply, and listen.

I want to know if these clinicians that are at the top are the same way? Do they use this technique to learn also? Or are they all different? If your personality is different when approaching learning, is it ok to be yourself? Can talking more help get more info out of a clinician and so on?

I'm just curious about the top riders and what they like. I'm trying to understand something.

I am not striving to be a top trainer or something like that, I'm just wondering about approaches. I have used your technique, however I find myself pushed to the side while others who are more talkative get more attention and more info?

Is this more a "cowboy" culture?

Sorry to ask so much, just want to get the most I can out of the clinics I attend. Thanks.

Laura said...

Good post - you really summed up a good approach to clinicians!

John Lyons books really helped me with a couple of little problems I had a with a gelding of mine...

I have a stupid question - what exactly do you mean by a bridle horse? I've heard the term a bit, but I'm just not familiar with all of the details... Anyone care to explain?

heater said...

I got to see Monte Roberts when I was a teenager, right when he was just getting popular. My Wise Old Fashioned Aunt told me afterwards that people like Monte were using techniques and methods that had long been used by other trainers, and that he (and others like him) were simply profiting from it. OK, oh well. I listened to her, but I have to admit I did play around with "join up" when my guy was younger. I was amazed at how easy it was. Maybe that's because I'd already worked with the little guy on how to lunge, and done tons of groundwork with him already. When we played with "join up", Finn just looked at me like "Well DUH mom!"

I haven't been to a clinic since that one time. I'm lucky to be able to board with my trainer and get regular lessons. Sometimes I tell her about your methods Mugs, and most of the time she agrees.

I do have a question...
What is the signifigance of the rope halter. All the NH types use them, but so do non NH-ers. I've always used a thick nylon or leather halter, with a stud chain close by if needed. I understand a lot of people hate stud chains. I was raised (horse wise) and groomed by my Wise Old Fashioned Aunt who grew up working at race horse breeding farms & on the hunt field. Stud chains were the norm for her, and thus for me as well. My Finn knows about his stud chain. If he starts getting silly, spooky, or strong on the lead (usually on windy show days), the chain goes over his nose and he won't even think about putting any of his white stripey feet out of place. I don't even have to use it, it just has to be there. So why do many western types (I'm sorry to stereptype) or NH-ers prefer a rope halter?

mocharocks said...

Mugs- I bought Ray Hunt's book a while back when you had posted about some of your favorite training books. And yes it's a bit dull and written in a stream of consciousness style, but "a lot of important food for thought" is an understatement. I'm finding just about every individual sentence gets the wheels turning in my head :)

Redsmom said...

Mugs, You know I love Larry Trocha since you turned me on to him. Yes, he kinda drones, but everything he says has value and makes sense to me. I like how he advises to get one thing under control before you move to the next step, like timing your sitting down in the saddle, then getting your hands right, etc. for each new maneuver you are learning/teaching your horse.

Kel, Please, please describe or point me to the instructions for the rope halter plus Come to Jesus meeting about cinching. I already have a nylon rope halter from the feed store that fits Dude well.

Janet/Mugs, this ties in more with your Not so Nice Post, but I was wondering if, when you get a chance to do another training questions post, you could address 2 questions, please.

1. standing still for mounting (Matt, old, spoiled). I have tried swatting him in the chest with the lead rope, backing him up while thumping on his chest and when that didn't work, swatting him on the rump with a whip. He doesn't care. He moves off every time you put your foot in the stirrup. Sometimes I keep up with him, sometimes I have to jump back down. The bad thing is, it would be easier on his back if he would let me mount from the block sometimes. Per your recent post, I have begun watching very closely his disrespect and countering it in all areas, such as ears at feeding time. Will mounting come along once I gain his full respect? P.S. he does this more at shows than at home because he knows he won't get the snot beat out of him on the show grounds I suppose.

2. Different horse: Cinchy. Dances in place if tied. Has escalated to trying to kick me the last time I cinched him tied to a trailer. Walks in a circle around you and dumps the saddle if cinched while untied. (slightly younger, old, spoiled). I tried being "nice" to him for a year which ended up with him trying to kick me. Same story different day, huh? So, now I am going to start all over with him with ground work, leading, tying up, yielding on the ground, etc. I want to get him where I can ride him enough to see if he can do reining/cow work. Old Matt is getting too old to be worked so hard. Dude is yonger and more bulldog QH/cowy than Matt.

mugwump said...

I'm going to whip through these and then go to work, I'll check in later -
Kel, I like your questions. Good points.
Stelladoro - Good thinking. Some of my best training secrets are basic pleasure training techniques revved up to cowhorse speed.
Deered - If you had an old guy down the road, that's all you needed. If we all had one the clinicians would be out of business.
Everyone thinks - Competetive nature is everywhere. It's standard for a new trainer to be closed out for awhile. By a while I mean more than a few years. I was cannon fodder for the open classes for probably three years or so before I even got a nod from any of the pro's. Then I started getting a little help. Then a lot. Then I started winning some and I became a peer. It takes a long time.
Heidi - When I first started training I studied all my tapes with my clients. It was incredibly educational. I never have been one to pretend I know how to do it all. They would collectively groan when I would say, "Guess what I learned this week?"
SkyBar - I would love to ride with Al Dunning! Bob Avila is on my list too. I've heard the "arrogant" comment about both of them. I personally don't mind arrogance, not when somebody has success like those two. And you're right, "impatience" is probably a more accurate definition of what Al was feeling.
Anon.- I can't speak for any clinicians. I can only tell you what works for me, whether I'm riding with someone or giving the clinic myself. If listening, doing what you're told and only asking questions that apply to the situation are getting you pushed aside then rethink your strategy. Or your clinician.
heater - 1. Rope halters are cheap and you can make them yourself.
2. They are "bitey".
Laura - A bridle horse is a horse who has been trained in the traditional vaquero method, ring snaffle to hackamore to a two-rein to a bridle with a spade bit. I have a post back there somewhere that gives a good website.
Redsmom - Quit making things so hard. I have seen people have success with carrying a step with them and simply moving it every time the horse moves too. I have trained horses to stand by the mounting block by grooming them there until they stand still. I make standing still about something other than mounting.
When I teach a horse to stand while mounting I simply step up and hang off the side with all my weight in the stirrup until they are quiet. Then I get on.
If they move after I send them out and we lope or trot a few circles, then I whoa and see if they'll stand. It works for me.
Cinchy - I don't pay any attention to it. If a horse tries to kick me I'll take my crop to the offending leg and make it clear that's not how things work. That's about kicking, not saddling. I always saddle in three steps. I cinch just tight enough to keep the saddle in place, then put on their boots, then I check it again, then I bridle and lead them to wherever I'm getting on, then I tighten one more time, then I get on. I just put it on. No matter what the horse thinks. If he is aggressive towards me I get after them.
Yes, my saddle gets dumped. So I use my colt saddle.
If you don't have one, practice with a bareback pad, a surcingle or a rope.
If you keep it to the point, don't get rattled and just get it done the horse will knock it off.

Redsmom said...

Thanks, Mugs. I will try to relax and not whine. I have no horse to ride this week and I have Spring Fever! I'm sure trying to lunge Dude will take the starch out of me soon.

Oh, another thing Larry Trocha said that makes a lot of sense is to make sure you are asking the horse correctly before you assume he is not obeying. As you have said, Mugs, a video can really help with this.

kel said...


The rope halter that CA sells has a couple extra knots on the nose that really get the horses attention.

The old Frenchman was Pedro Pedrini... google him, he is a spectacular saddle maker. Pedro just asked for a rope halter and the one that was handed to him (by the BO) was a Clinton Anderson rope halter. The cinchy mare was a real piece of work. She would go over backwards when you tried to saddle her. She would start getting goofy when you put the blanket on her and by the time you got to actully tightening her, she was truly dangerous. Pedro watched the BO and I try to saddle her and she went over backwards in the cross ties. Pedro took her into the arena and put the rope halter on her, pushed her hip around and she started to get pushy with him. He took the rope and put it around her front leg and took her leg away from her. I wouldn't recommend anyone trying this if you haven't seen it or done it before. He didn't lay her down but he let her know in no uncertain terms that he was in control and that she was to be submissive. He worked with her for about 15 minutes, she hopped, reared, ran, leaped, struck at him, everything she could think of. He never lost his cool, never hit her, never said one word the whole time. Keep in mind that Pedro is probably about 5'3" and maybe 140 lbs. She worked herself into a sweat and finally started to give in. He first asked her to lower her head with a slight pull on the lead and of course she gave him attitude and he went right back to taking her leg away. When she would give her head and put her nose on the ground with a light pull on the lead he asked for the saddle. We put the blanket on and she lost it, again he went right back to taking her leg away. And so on until we had her saddled. I am sure that the whole thing took no more than 30 minutes and we had her saddled and cinched (not tight)a dozen times. She stood still with her head down without being tied. He gave me a quick lesson on how to take her leg away and not get killed and said do if for a couple of days until she just gives her head in the beginning and stands. He said always give her the chance to be good before you take her leg away. It was scary to do by myself but the second time was way easier and the third time easier yet. She is a firey, flighty mare and to this day if you put a flat nylon halter on her she won't stand still for saddling.

That is why I call it the "magic rope halter"... you put it on her and her entire dispostion changes.

And yes... I ordered the CA rope halter the next day.
Since then I have tried alot of the knock off brands of rope halters and CA's just fit better without any adjustments ( I don't want to have to re-tie the damn things to get them to fit). I see alot of ill-fitting rope halters and it drives me nuts when tack doesn't fit. CA halters last too. I still have the first one I bought like 5 years ago and it is like brand new. The price of the halter isn't that bad, but the lead rope prices are ridiculous.

A friend of mine uses the Parelli rope halter (and everything else parelli). IMO it is a limp, soft piece of crap. It has no body or "feel" to it.

ps: the mare was cinchy when I bought her. I bought her as a bred broodmare but I knew she was broke to ride so after she foaled I decided to ride her and boy was cinchy an understatment.

Amy said...

I like Clinton Anderson... but my rope halter is a $7 special from the feed store. And I do have a stick, but it was a generic for $20... a little more than I'd like to pay for a whip, but I like the weight of it and the reach I get with the lash... it feels more stable to me than a regular lunge whip.

A friend gave me some Parelli DVD's... not something I would pay for, but seeing as they were free, I'm checking them out. Some things are useful, others, not so much. I honestly don't see how much of what they do is all that much different from what other trainers do. But it's easier to sell DVD's if your way is "different."

Rope halters are more narrow.... meaning, like Mugs said, more "bitey." I found this to be good for getting respect... bumping with the lead means nothing if the horse can't feel it... also, if I lunge in a flat nylon halter, my mare leans on me. It's uncomfortable for her to do so in a rope halter.

Fyyahchild said...

Good timing. I just found out that Julie Goodnight is coming to my area in a couple of months. I think I'm going to go watch to see what I can learn.

kel said...

When I go to clinics I "keep my mouth shut and my ears open". Unfortunately when I went to the Craig Cameron clinic he is a clinician that wants you to be vocal. When a rider makes a mistake he wants the other riders to "Honk" at them. All of us were there to learn and I have a hard time ridiculing someone for trying and making a mistake. I didn't want to yell "honk" so I didn't until the last day and Craig was riding and made a mistake... I was the only one that yelled "Honk" talk about embarrassing. He took it all in stride and gave me a hard time for taking 3 days to get with the program.

mugwump said...

kel-I would HATE that.I would crumple in a ball, fumble my way into idiocy and make one mistake after another if I was waiting to be honked at. I couldn't do it to someone else either.

kel said...

mugs... I wasn't real impressed with Craigs teaching style. IMO.. he kind has that short man syndrome going on. I don't ever want to make fun of someone for trying. And I don't appreciate it when someone makes fun of me for trying. I am pretty easy going so I can / do take it all in stride, but it never makes for a positive experience. I did learn alot of helpful drills and patterns from him. It has helped to break up the standard routine of just doing circles and has helped with my "guide". One thing that I noticed he did (which I appreciated) was that he complimented each person on something every day. I guess it was to offset the "honking". :)

Redsmom said...

Kel, thanks. My friend, the little vaquero, also Pedro, wanted to put hobbles on Dude, but that was a year ago and I said "Oh no, you will traumatize the precious thing." Now, I'm past ready to shoot Precious. LOL. But, I do think I will put him in training with another guy I know who is strict but, not mean and see what he thinks.

kestrel said...

Clinics can be great. Got to see one of the tops, but he uses a rope. Now hand me a lariat and I can hogtie myself in record time! It was interesting to see that he was using a different tool to achieve the same exact results I work for, except my tools are different.
Did go to one that I had to leave before it was over, didn't have enough cash on hand to bail myself out of jail if I couldn't restrain myself from flattening him...he uses a running W on EVERY horse, chases them around whacking them with a polo mallet, and all the amateurs were soaking it up. Sad deal. Look for a clinician that consistently turns out good horses and riders.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

I think one of the marks of a good trainer/teacher is someone who keeps the rider and horse's safety in mind.

There are lots of methods for changing different behaviors but all are not necessarily a good thing for some people to do.

Me, I have never learned to tie up a foot. I actually would like to learn it - for the knowledge, understanding and perhaps someday I'll find it usefeul. But no one is going to catch me just giving it a shot without some coaching!

While Lyons is boring, he will never get anyone killed.

Parelli however, I've personally witnessed the wrecks and near-wrecks with people trying to use what he teaches. All the grand standing annoys me.

I'm sure what he does works, or something, but it's not ideas to teach the masses.

mugwump said...

Everyone thinks - Yes and yes.

Justaplainsam said...

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers -

Ive found the more established the trainers were the happer they were to help, explain, and lend a hand to a 'newbie'. The trainers that have a barn FULL of paying clients who have been with them for years, will be the best people to aproach. Its the "locals" that are always snooping for clients that will give you the hard time.

Me and a friend recently leased ring time at a local barn. We showed up to "oh you're riding again?" trainer who then stood on the rail the entire ride watching us.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Coming to think of it, you are right. It is the smaller trainers grabbing at clients that are no fun.

I worked at a barn with 3 other trainers, one was extremely immature and egocentric. One day she threw a lariat at a horse I was riding and claimed poor aim.

I have since moved on and I am lucky to be "mentoring" with a cutting trainer. I lope many many circles every day. He has a wealth of knowledge and I'm thankful for the opportunity.

But I do miss jam sessions over dinner.

Just - Sorry to hear you are having to deal with another one of those trainers - but on the other hand, you are leasing with a friend so at least you are not alone.

I've schooled myself on not taking things personally and not getting emotional but I still struggle with that piece.

Deered said...

Mugwump said
"Deered - If you had an old guy down the road, that's all you needed. If we all had one the clinicians would be out of business."

Yeah - between him and my Mum - who learnt a lot from her Dad and 2 old Irish guys (who were teamsters when teamsters drove horses) the basics were covered well. I nearly fell over when I picked up Monty Roberts book when I was at college - and found him saying what Mum and Old Lou used to say.

I know learning from your parents isn't cool, however my grandad was the guy who took 9 hours to catch and load a horse once - My mums youngster who was sent to the best horse braker in the area to get him off to a good start - it was anything but.
The Shah charged the gate when Grandad went to get him, and then ran to the other end of the paddock, once caught he wasn't going near the float, despite having walked on fine when he was taken there. he had lost all trace of trust in people and his defense was to charge. Grandads way of getting him to associate people with good things was to put him in a smaller paddock, while Mum was riding her pony, he would muck out the paddock and leave small "treats". The Shahs curiousity was such that he started getting closer and closer, until he would stand beside Grandad. Mum said it took a long time to get him sorted out.
Mum learnt at age 13 that you don't win by forcing a horse - and forcing can take a long time to undo.

I was taught that there are times when a horse is scared and you work out the best way to get THAT horse over it's fear, and sometimes a horse is trying to see what it can get away with - that may get a good squeeze, a whack of the whip (crop) , a growl, or for one pony of mine - getting laughed at!

Deered said...

Oh - and the course I was at was a jumping one - advance - all combinations had to be competiting at approx 4ft level. I should have said that my horse was an OTTB with a flexion issue on one side, she just didn't bend as well - the chiro couldn't find anything to fix, neither could the vet, we just knew exactly how much she could bend and didn't push it too far - the exercise asked to much and made her unhappy - and I was told that she should be able to do it and would learn to flex with more work... I had instead trained to to jump off angles so that if we couldn't bend hard we could still get round the corner and jump balanced - she wasn't always pretty, but she more often than not paid for the desiel!

Amy said...

EveryontThinksTheyre... (god your name is long!)

"Parelli however, I've personally witnessed the wrecks and near-wrecks with people trying to use what he teaches. All the grand standing annoys me."

Just out of curiosity, could you explain some examples? As I'm currently watching the DVD's... I do ahve something of a sense of self preservation. I can't wait to get to the part where they teach you to ride in one leadrope and toss the rope over the horse's head... The DVD is a taping of a like week-long clinic of some serious, sweious "I don't know how to catch a horse much less ride" beginners. I sense some *facepalm* will be appropriate.

Not that I'm much more advanced... I'm still a beginner... and I'm open to learning, from whatever the source... but I also temper that with common sense.

Joy said...

I had to read this post and comments a couple of times. Very good post and excellent comments. Sometimes I learn even more (sorry mugwump) from all the comments.

I haven't had much experience with clinicians. I've seen John Lyons. Like watching paint dry, but very easy to understand and seems extraordinally patient with the horse.

I've also seen CA. He was interesting. Mostly it was common sense he was talking. But a huge chunk of his time was spent talking about the blocker tie ring. That I could do without.

At the equine affaire in Pomona several years back, I went to see (don't laugh, or go ahead and laugh) Pony Boy. Yes his looks is very gimmicky. But he was funny and he really had a way of explaining what he was doing that made sense. He did a good job with the horse he was doing the demostration on.

When I first became a re-rider it was because of a dear friend of mine who has since died. She was amazing to watch ride a horse. That girl could ride anything. Her start came from a man named Don Blazer. He and his daughter gave my friend her first horse and he was, essentially, her trainer. I like his way with horses.

(I would cry if somebody honked at me, seriously. I don't understand the point in embarassing someone for making a mistake.)

Andalusians of Grandeur said...

hey, Redsmom. E-mail me. eschlenker@cox.net

mugwump said...

Hey - I'm a little offended. Not with Joy, since the whole idea of these training discussions is to um, discuss, plus I get tired of listening to myself too.
No, my offence is here :>>Its the "locals" that are always snooping for clients that will give you the hard time.<< and
>>Coming to think of it, you are right. It is the smaller trainers grabbing at clients that are no fun.<<
I would like you to know that I was one of those money grubbing, insecure, small time, barn sharing trainers and I was lots of fun, thank you very much.Still am dammit.

mugwump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Hi Amy - yes, I know my name is long. When I created it I never thought I'd be posting more than once (or blogging) or anything of that nature.

But it's so true and IMHO so funny (even still, I crack myself up).

Anywho, Parelli. I should say that I have not seen any Parelli videos so I can't tell you what step, what place or use the exact verbage.

I have seen one half of one Parelli clinician at an expo and I have seen the trainer's challenge he did with Josh Lyons and Craig Cameron.

A really good video, I recommend it.

Okay, so one of my biggest annoyances with a Parelli trained horse is that they want to "dance."

So, that means when I want to go walk back behind my horse to tie his tail up before we work a cow (so he doesn't step on it and pull it out) the horse wants to walk back with me.

Likewise looking over legs - the horse always thinks it's supposed to move with you and, no, I just want it to stand there.

Okay, so that's an annoyance and quite honestly easily fixed. I wouldn't call that so dangerous.

But I always know where that came from.

The danger piece comes in with the use of the long line and the carrot stick.

The tapping of the horse all over it's body with this stick - I'm not sure if it's some kind of desensitizing or what.

But what I have experienced with people doing that is horses being unable to bear it (apparently the people are missing the message or the quit point or whatever it is that is supposed to be accomplished) and bolting, coming free of their handler, with a long rope trailing behind.

I can think of four separate situations where this occurred, where I witnessed and one time where all I could do was stop my own horse so the TB could pick it's way around us.

Whatever Parelli is trying to get through to people, it is apparently very easy to make mistakes.

Now, I think it's easy to make mistakes training horses anyway - shoot I think that's part of how WE learn. But it seems like when people make a Parelli mistake, it is a really really big one. Unlike a Lyons mistake where a person may not release on a tiny give or something of that nature.

I suppose a person could say that if you are moving forward at a slow pace, your setbacks will small and slow too.

But, the biggest, most annoying, in my opinion irresponsible, is his marketing and grandstanding.

Full page ads picturing a woman jumping her horse bridleless and bareback in the middle of a field.

Riding bridleless period.

It is one thing for an accomplished horseman to take it to that next level for their own self actualization but it is a whole other thing to use these ideas as a way to sell a training method, insinuating that people can buy the crap and actually do that.

To ride bridleless is to have a really good horse. Not all horses are safely capable of it. Actually I go with most aren't.

But people don't know that. And they don't know what they don't know.

I think that when these people are speaking to the masses, they have an even bigger job than the average trainer.

I think they have a duty to be careful with people's hope, with what they don't know and how they describe what they are doing.

I don't know how Parelli sleeps at night.

I don't know how he hasn't been sued.

Oh, and I don't know if Parelli recommends getting on an unbroke colt without a bridle but, OMG not a good idea.

Okay, that's about as long as I can go. Good enough examples? I actually do have more stories but my fingers are sick of the subject.

Good luck with your work by the way. If you are tempering with common sense and perhaps a real live horseperson you can ride with, this will be fun!

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Okay Mug I'll bet you are tons of fun then and now. :)

Isn't it to be a horse trainer is to be horse poor? Character rich? I wish I was a better money grubber.

quietann said...

I am in a slightly different part of the horse world (mostly dressage), so clinicians are not the same. I am a huge fan of Centered Riding techniques. Sally Swift, the founder of CR, is old and very frail, so she is not really involved anymore, but a lot of people trained by her are. Nice clinics, very gentle, very focused on the rider. Jane Savoie is also really, really good and similarly focused. Both her and CR are great for riders who "psych themselves out" and lose confidence. My trainer is friends with Linda Zang (big name dressage judge) and we have her up a couple of times a year. She's nice, and funny, and very open to non-traditional horses and riders. She notices the tiny, tiny things that need to be fixed, and gets results. One of my goals is to ride in one of her clinics this year, not just audit.

In the NH world... well, I am not really so into it. But the woman who is helping me with retraining my mare to the trailer, Terry McClare, is pretty good, and she's a pure NH person. She's borrowed techniques from all over and isn't trying to sell anything but her services. The one thing I want more of from her is coaching; yes, she has a "way" with horses and can get them to do all kinds of things, but I need to handle my horse myself with someone talking me through the whole process. My trainer, who's not a NH person at all, recommended Terry to me.

Justaplainsam said...

Amy said... As I'm currently watching the DVD's... I do ahve something of a sense of self preservation. I can't wait to get to the part where they teach you to ride in one leadrope and toss the rope over the horse's head...

PLEASE do not do this!! My yearling that I showed last summer just got started under saddle (walking for 5 min) by her owners, who although they mean well, watched the videos and thought they were great. Well what do you think happened when they went to 'flip' the lead line over this 2y olds head??

It got stuck

Thank god she was quiet, and let the kid reach out of his saddle and fix it but it could have been really bad, and ruined her forever. They have now purchased a proper sidepull with 2 reins to use.

Justaplainsam said...

mugwump said... I would like you to know that I was one of those money grubbing, insecure, small time, barn sharing trainers and I was lots of fun, thank you very much.Still am dammit."

Im not for a min doupting you are fun, or that I wouldnt hang out with you If I didnt live on the other side of North America! But ETTGD, she was asking who to aproach. Not saying all barn sharing trainers are bad (hell I dont even have that! Everything is living with its owners at the moment!) But in my area the Biger the trainer is the more open they would be to someone learning off them.

Blair said...

I actually enjoyed the Clinton Anderson clinic I went to last weekend. Like posted before, it was a lot of common sense. Nothing was actually new, it was just approached from a different way.
EveryoneThinks- The stick is actually supposed to be just an "extension of your arm." If you've seen people's horses running away, then that's a big problem.
But I agree, Parelli is a circus performer. He uses a giant ball and cow colored barrels (which he sells for some outrageous price). I feel he's just trying to perform, not actually make a better rider. He and his wife are actually terrible riders. She, especially, has the most horrible position in the saddle that I have ever seen.
The thing I hate most about Parelli, is that he STARTS his program in a halter and a lead rope. IMO, riding in a halter and a lead rope should be reserved for kids and broke ponies, or a very well trained horse that can work off your legs and seat. I think it's absolutely asinine to start a horse bareback let alone with no bridle.
I have also noticed that those who proclaim to be avid Parelli followers have the pushiest, most disrespectful horses on the ground. They are so desensitized that they'll stand on top of you without fear. As a former farrier's apprentice, that drove me nuts. I'd rather have a little bit of healthy fear than blatant disrespect.
At least C.A. says you're allowed to whack your horse a good one if he's being an ass.

LuckysLady113 said...


I would come ride with you anytime, even though you were one of those money grubbing, insecure, small time, barn sharing trainers; you sound like a you are blast and you are FULL of information.

enlightenedhorsemanship.net said...

"If I ride with a clinician I do every single thing they say. I never tell them what I think or what my old trainer said, I NEVER tell them how they differ from the last clinician I went to."

Amen! This is so rare. And appreciated by clinicians.

mugwump said...

OK guys - one more time on the small time trainers comments - yes it makes me touchy, but now that I've had my coffee I can actually get to my point. I have known very big name trainers who wouldn't give a newby the time of day unless they had a very fat check book to wave around. Many, many, many.
Groups who came in looking for help were shoved off on assistants,(that would be me).So were people with only one horse, crummy trailers, kids who came along, I could keep going. If they began to show promise they would be picked over and taken unless the smaller level trainer had developed some client loyalty.
Clients found and developed by said small named trainers are often lured away by the bigger names if said client has the appropriate size check book.
It makes us insecure, grabby and anxious. It doesn't make us bad trainers. A smaller trainer gives more one-on-one attention, (we have to, we're desperate) and will actually ride your horse (see above).
We're also more affordable because we have to compete somehow.
What I'm getting at is, go with the trainer who rides like you want, treats horses like you want and actually looks out for you or your horse. Which may be the big name, but could also be a talented up-and-comer who needs a break.

Quietann- I am very fond of both Sally Swift and Jane Savoie - They're not just for dressage riders!
Did you know the stirrup length and movement, seat placement and feel is about the same in a good cutting saddle as a dressage saddle? We may have the "cutters slump" but our shoulders, hips and heels create an exact line.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I watched Brandi Lyons give a clinic in AZ a few years ago and thought she was very good. I presume she is much like her father, in that she is very precise and was adament that each student "get" what she was asking them to do.

I would love to watch an Al Dunning or Les Voigt clinic. Charmayne James also tops my list of people I would like to see.

I have to admit, I'd much rather watch a clinic than actually participate in one. I like being able to see and study the whole effect of horse and rider.

It's sad to see what Parelli has become. I attended one of his clinics about 12 years ago and thought he was really good. I still use a lot of his original 7 Games methods and like the results.

My mom bought CA's uber expensive halter/leadrope and stick a couple years back. I held up my handmade rope halter/attached long leadrope and $5 buggy whip and asked her Why? But I have to admit-dang, I like his halter.

And all the riding with halters? Ray Hunt! That is how he expected everyone to put the first few rides on their colts at his clinics. The point was just to get the colt's feet moving and not have a person hanging on their mouths the first few rides. Parelli seems to have perverted that method into some sort of riding style.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mugs this is off topic but what do you think of bits with chain mouthpieces. I am starting to barrel race and I have noticed that quite a few racers use a chain mouthpiece bit and they love them. One woman told me that she has tried hers on many horses and the horses all loved the mouthpieces. On the other hand I know many people who think that they are harsh and cruel. What do you think?

Thanks Angie

mugwump said...

Anon - I don't know about chain bits personnally, they don't come into my world.
I do have a little insight though. There is a fairly basic training trick for "snafle-bitters" who are becoming dull in the snaffle bit.
A few days before a show the trainer will put the horse in an O-ring which has had the mouth piece replaced with bicycle chain.
The horse isn't ridden in it, but wears it 24/7 for two or three days. It makes the horse extremely tender (sore) mouthed without leaving marks.
Freaked out? So was I. I prefer to teach my horse their job rather than going to tricks like that one.
It seems to me the chain bits would be more of the same. But I'm all ears if somebody with experience using them could explain them to me.

mugwump said...

On riding with halters and one lead rope. I've done it. Since my colts were worked with ropes and not bothered by them they didn't worry about flipping the rope over their head.
I went to using side-pulls because it simulated the direct rein of a snaffle bit more than a rope halter. The rope halter works more like a hackamore.
If I was going straight to a ackamore I would still use a halter.
I'm a firm believer in getting the colt moving without my interference. I walk, trot and lope (usually) without ever touching what's on their head, so it doesn't matter that much what's hanging on their face.
That would be the Ray Hunt influence.
I do bit them within a week after crawling on their back.

Adventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind said...

Of everything you've said I think the most important is, "I don't need them to be approved, graduated or certified. They just need to know something I don't."

With respect to the "cap" wearing, hero worshiping groupies... a post you might find funny....


BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Mugs-I'm gonna stick my nose in here on the chain mouthpiece and barrel racing.

Angie-this entirely depends on what type of "chain" mouthpiece you are referring to. There are chain mouthpieces out there that have large, smooth links and are usually set in a gag or 1/2 gag type style. These are not as severe as a person would think.

Of course, if you are referring to a bike chain type mouthpiece-I would run away from that advice.

Really, what type of bit you use depends on your horse's running style-have a horse with a lot of natural rate and not too much tendency to drop it's shoulders and a full gag will probably work. Need a little extra rate and help lifting his shoulders going around the barrel and you will probably need a half gag(this is what most barrel racers use).
The mouthpiece you select(and be prepared to change as your horse advances)really depends on how light in the mouth your horse is-a light mouth and you won't need much "bite", a horse that isn't as sensitive will need something that he can feel and will respond too.

I've had horses that I can practice on with just a slow twist snaffle, but need a tad more leverage when they are running and I've had horses that need more bit when practicing(to keep them correct)and can run them in almost nothing. It all really depends on your horse and how you use your hands. Hope that helps.

mugwump said...

Thanks Brown Eyed Cowgirl- I really don't know much about them. Laura Crum emailed me and told me ropers use them some, she had tried them and didn't find them too severe. She's still not posting cause her dead-line is looming.

Amy said...

Just to clarify... I meant I couldn't wait to see how the beginners in the video handled all this rope-tossing-over-the-head business. I could probably do it and my mare wouldn't care... she probably wouldn't even care if I did hit her in the head with it.

The idea (and this is both a CA and Parelli thing) is that your horse should be desensitized to the rope, stick, string, etc. You pet them with them, toss them around their entire bodies, throw thom on the ground, etc, until the horse pays the actual tool no mind. It's your body language, not the stick, that tells it to move. The stick/string just is, as someone else said, an extension of the arm, to reinforce the body language. How that is different that just general horse training, I fail to see.

Now, in regards to a horse "running away," they shouldn't run away just from a tap, but my mare will get all worked up if she is trying to avoid the cue... the idea is to keep cueing, and stop as soon as they try. I don't know... my hors knows how to give to pressure, she she's never dragged me around, and anytime she has taken me by surprise and actually pulled the leadrope away, she usually just plants her feet and looks sheepish... when I first got her, and was struggling with respect on the ground, she actually aimed a kick so well that it just barely tagged my hand... just enough to kick the leadrope away from me. I was too busy picking my jaw up off the ground to discipline her. Thank god that problem is resolved...

So, getting back to the halter/leadrope thing, a question: What exaclty is the point of swinging the rope over the horse's head rather than just tying the lead into a loop rein?

Sorry for rambling.

mugwump said...

To my mind (I don't know if this is a rule or not) the point of the single lead rope is to stop the rider from using more than one rein at a time. Guide the horse left, left, left, then flip the rope and go right, right, right. You can't over handle the reins, which is extremely important.

slipin said...

I wouldn't dream of going to a big name trainer. I don't like the "rushed" feeling that you get when you are there or taking a lesson. I have never had a big enough check book for any of them to even LOOK my way, but even if I did, I wouldn't go to them. I Have gone to a few big time cutters for lessons and they helped me quite a bit, but they seemed like they were always on the run. I have been to Lindy Burch, LOVED her, she was very nice and courteous and I felt that she really ment what she said, when she told me that she really liked my mare. I think that she is a no nonsense type of person and wouldn't tell you that unless she ment it.
I have also been to Bill Freeman. GREAT guy! He LOVED my mare and always helped me in a corner at the cuttings when I lived in California. Even helped me in Texas too.
Mike Mowery is another good one. Really quiet guy, but he is honest...
Tom Neel is another really good guy...and he isn't big time, but he dang sure is honest and he is one that WILL ride your horse. I have heard lots of good things about him and how he spends time with you AND your horse.
Anyways, I would rather sit in your corner any day, than any of the big guys.

mugwump said...

Slippin' -Thanks! I shouldn't have sounded so defensive, since I've learned a lot from some of the big names. But you're right. Only by catching a sentence or watching a move that caught my eye. Then I always had to go back to the smaller potatoes to hash out what I saw or heard.

mugwump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mugwump said...

Slippin' - Do you mean Tom Neel who rides the Peptos Cat horses in cowhorse? I know him! He's always one of my favorite turnbacks for herd work.
My dream team for help is Tom Neel, Marilyn Peters for turnback and Bozo Rogers and Tim Unzicker in my corners if I'm in a derby.
None of them are the tippy top, but they're all pretty damn good.

fraidykat said...

Great posts!
Julie Goodnight is a personal favorite of mine too. I have a ton of rider fear and approached her after a lecture she gave and she was very gracious and gave me some quality talk without pushing the products.
It's funny. I watch different clinicians all the time on RFDTV and after a while they become stars in your eyes. Last horse expo I went to, I was looking at Tommy Garland's booth and about crapped when he came around the corner and asked if he could help me. We talked driving for a bit and I asked what to do with a mare with a wry tail (not much can be done). I know Arabs sometimes have wry tails in the bloodlines and was hoping for a cure.
Anyway, I'll watch anyone with a horse on a string. Local or national.
Watched a Kenny Harlow clinic with a rogue horse not to long ago and I made sure to tell him that was the best clinic with a rank horse I ever saw. Used some of his techniques with my witch mare and saw an attitude change because of it.
I have yet to go to a lecture or clinic and not come out with some info to hang onto. Well I might take that back - went to a "mystical" clinic and felt sorry for the lady teaching it.
She went way overboard and when her horse would not listen, it was not his fault. I can't believe I gave an hour of my life to that lady. You could see eyes rolling up in people's head as she spoke.
I returned to horses after a 30 year absence (had backyard driving ponies) and was shocked how things have changed.
My first horse put me on my back when I was 17 because she was freaked out about something and I thought I could not let her get away with that. Such a dumba&& I was.
It's better now.
I own CA halters and have used them and some of his techniques on my baby (suprise and then orphaned at 5 weeks) who is now approaching two.
A lot of the "magic" the tv trainers make is because they get you to spend time working your horse and to think about how they respond. My colt is a good one because I can take the time to work with him. We learn together.

Slippin said...

YES, thats the Tom I am talking about! I have met him and have seen him show that ZeZes Pepto Cat and that is a heck of a horse. He just won the NRCHA world show in the hackamore on that horse with a pretty big score. I have met Bozo. He is a nice guy. I had a gelding that I showed in Reined Cow horse a couple of times, the very first time I showed him, I was in tears before the class because I was so nervous. My friend was asking me, "Why are you so nervous? You have shown way too many times on his mother to get this nervous!" That did make me laugh but I then said, "Well, this is the first time that I have ever had to REMEMBER a pattern! I like the cutting, you just go in and put your hand down!" LOL Bozo opened the gate for me to go in and saw some tears on my cheeks and said, "Remeber, this is for FUN!" That made me laugh too and I ended up placing third with a score of 69 in the rein pattern (missed a marker)a 72 in the cow part. It was a limited class, so I didn't go down the fence. When I came out I was cooling my horse off and Tom came over and said jokingly,"You are supposed to stop AFTER the markers." LOL But, for my first time out, I was pretty excited!

Redsmom said...

OMG! I signed up for a Ricky Spinks reining and working cow horse clinic in April. Has anyone heard of him? It is being sponsored by the Louisiana Stock Horse Association.

mocharocks said...

Joy said:
“I've also seen CA. He was interesting. Mostly it was common sense he was talking. But a huge chunk of his time was spent talking about the blocker tie ring. That I could do without.”

I almost hate to admit this, but I saw CA and the blocker tie rings on RFD and decided to give them a try (which if I had known they were made out of snaffle bits, I would have made my own). I’m not really into NH, and I’m in the Mugs camp of teaching a horse to tie – tie them with equipment that won’t break to a structure that won’t break and let them figure it out. However, in 25 years with horses, Mocha is the first one that did not work for. Her fear of being tied was so insurmountable, I was truly afraid she was going to kill herself. So I admit I was intrigued with the blocker tie rings. I bought them, tried them and I kid you not, within 5 minutes, being tied was no longer an issue.

I guess sometimes you have to keep an open mind and go with what works.

However, I have to also admit, if I went to a clinic to learn about riding and he spent a ton of time on tie blockers, I’d be annoyed ;)

kel said...

The last CA clinic I went to he gave a full on lecture about horse slaughter.. people were getting up and walking out. I am sure his manager was about to have a heart attack. I like that he speaks his mind even if it is not the popular opinion. I have seen him twice and each time I come away with something useful, although the second time he was much more commercial than the first. The second time a little girl in the audience asked him what he liked about his mare Mindy. He actually got all choked up talking about her. I have to tell you, (this is so dumb) but when he rides his mare - Mindy - it is almost a "religious" experience. I thought that I was going to start balling... I have seen him ride the gelding Dually but the connection isn't quite there.

Tim Unzicker... wow I saw him ride a bridle horse at SBF in Reno a couple of years ago and was truly impressed. He rode pretty, the horse worked like a dream, would love to see more of him.

jmk said...

Just found your blog. Very interesting. I've been riding over 30 years. Had lots of instructors in different disciplines. Some good,bad and indifferent. But I have learned something from each one. You have to know what to take with you and what to leave behind. I laughed about the clinicians trying to sell something! Proud to say I haven't bought a gadget yet! I'll lurk here again sometime....

glenatron said...

So this is pretty late here, but I spent a month at Martin Black's Horsemanship School back in February and as an english bloke who only learned a few years ago that horses are what I'm all about it certainly changed a lot about how I do things.

I wrote it up at the time, which may be interesting to you or other people visiting here and wondering about how Martin teaches, although my inexperienced view is certainly different from what a lot of readers here would probably get from it.

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