Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I Can't Make This Stuff Up.

Teach That Bitch a Lesson With The Lady Educator!

I guess it would work, if you tie her hands first.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

What Have I Done?

I went to a NRCHA horse show last weekend, just to watch mind you, I wanted a dose of horses I understand.

I saw old friends, got some hugs, and was so happy to be back in my comfort zone, I pretended they were welcome.

I watched a bunch of fence runs and began to feel a twitch in my hands and a funny feeling in my gut. For once it wasn't the PD. It was longing. It was a sharp reminder that my fat hairy mare is actually a finished bridle horse who loves those cows as much as I do.

I was standing at the rail, watching runs with an old friend and asking about new stuff I was seeing. The horses are running their circles with a low head and loose reins --very reinerly.  I don't like it.

A straight up bridle horse needs contact and support from the riders hand. In order to find a neutral position with the spoon off the roof of their mouth, they need to travel with their face on the vertical - get it? Straight up in the bridle? Those dang cowboys with their tricky terminology.

Every movement is supposed to be directed between the leg and the hand. Signals should take little more than a squeeze of the reins and are limited to about a four inch square centered above the saddle horn. Every movement is supposed to mean something.

Low head, loose rein on a reiner. Hand gives direction with dramatic cues to communicate through the reins to the horse. A good reining horse carries himself correctly and follows the hand itself, with the touch of the reins coming in as a secondary cue.

Straight up in the bridle - Light contact, rein hand directs with a squeeze.

No, I don't know what's up with the rider's leg. I do see from the bend in his wrist he's tweaking his rein hand down, instead of lifting up. This tells me he's trying to compensate for his forward, useless leg by bringing the horse's nose

Trust me, I know from experience, all that's going to happen is the very nice horse will tip his nose toward his chest, fall onto his forehand, string out behind, and the Big K will yell, "What ARE you doing? Last time I checked you're missing an arm, not a leg!" Oops. I digress.

While I was expounding to my friend on my theories about how screwed up this new style of dry work looked to me, a loud, bright voice was directed at me from the bleachers.

"I know you!"

I turned and saw a woman I vaguely remembered, maybe, kinda sorta. I couldn't put her face to a horse, so I couldn't place her. I smiled and gave her a half wave.

"You used to ride cow horses, years and years ago," she said. 

She beamed at me with the indulgent smile of a great, great grand-niece visiting Granny in the old folks home. It was clear her  mama had told her to shut up and listen to my old windies--but she wasn't having it.

"It hasn't been that many years," I stammered. 

"Sure it has," my new best friend said. "Do you even ride anymore?"

I felt old. I thought about how out of shape I am, how slow and lazy Madonna has become. I thought about my fat, fat self, at least until a sudden burning fire filled me from stem to stern.

"Of, course I still ride. I'm going to show this year."

I remembered that fire well from my younger years, the fire of brash stupidity.

"Really? How exciting, when?" This bitch was relentless.

"Um, well, uh..." I found myself wishing I'd skimmed a show schedule at least once in the last year or two.

"Psssst," my friend hissed, "Estes Park."

"I'm showing at Estes," I said.

So there it is, Madonna and I are legging up to show at the NRCHA qualifier, the CRCHA Mountain High, in Estes Park, June 1st.

May I have an Oh Shit?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Hate This Commercial

This came from a horse site, that says it likes horses. This commercial is supposed to be breathtaking. I guess it was, but not how I think they intended it, at least not for me.

Here is what went through my mind as I watched it.
00:12 - Ooh, pretty, dang the gates open!
00:28 - Horse peed in the trailer again
00:42 - Ouch! Quarter crack!
01:01 - WTFis the matter with you people!
01:21 - Run Fury, Run! This is a snuff film!

How about you?
It did not make me thirsty.

Friday, March 20, 2015

All We Need is Love - I Don't Need Lessons, I Can Feel His Spirit

    "In the process, she discovered that horses are intensely emotional, intuitive, intelligent beings. They are true reflections of our deepest souls." 

     Many, many moons ago, a fellow trainer gave me a book to read, The Tao of Equs: A Woman's Journey of Healing and Transformation Through the Way of the Horse. There was one particular chapter she wanted me to read and think about. 

"Don't read the first 100 pages, it will poison you against the very valid passage I think you'd like," she warned. 

Of course I read it from the beginning. She was right. I almost doubted her sanity. For those of you not familiar with this particular book, the woman goes through a spiritual awakening while walking with her horse for a year or something. 
  The part that still sticks with me today, is not of course the part she wanted me to read, it comes from that first hundred pages. This woman's journey didn't begin until she sold her first horse and bought another. The first horse would go crazy if tied, to the point of violence. The woman refused to let the trainers she encountered work the horse because they were cruel. Instead, she sold the horse and then began walking her spiritual path with a more appropriate partner. 
  I always had great success training horses to stand tied. Even the bad ones. It didn't take beating, or chains, or cattle prods. I couldn't help but wonder how the  horse's journey of healing and transformation went. You know, the one who was sent down the road with her vice compounded many times over.

Anyway, let's fast forward many years, to just last week. My Reiki Master was doing whatever the heck it is she does to my back. My nerves were jumping, things were popping and realigning, my PD was humming and she was barely touching me. I don't understand how it works, but it does.

"I want to buy a foal," she said.

"Really, a foal?" 

"You stopped breathing, remember, it's all in the exhale," she said. "I want a white one. So keep your eye out for me."

I stayed quiet, but my mind started jumping. I knew she had owned a horse before. I had half-listened to tales of a crazy old gelding she had saved from being put down. She had "listened to his heart and tamed him," and he lived with her until he died. If I remembered right, she had never ridden him. Age, lameness, crazy, something, something, something.

It's the kind of story I smile and nod at, but keep as firm a grip on my opinion and eye rolls as possible. There is a type of horse person in the world that approaches horses as a magical, mystical, spiritual experience. I don't really have a problem with it. If this is what floats your boat, fine, it's another horse off the truck to Mexico.

"I might have to wait a while, I have to find a place to keep him."

Good thing, I thought, maybe she'll let go of the idea and get a white kitten or something. 

"I'd keep him where my sister keeps her horse, but the barn owner, Lucy is such a bitch," she added. 
"She is so mean."

"That really surprises me," I said. "Lucy was a client of mine years back, and our biggest struggle was getting her to step up and be tough when she needed to. She was a good rider though."

Step up was an understatement. Lucy was so afraid of making a mistake, making a horse sore, doing something the horse didn't like, she was almost frozen in place. She had been better when we parted ways, but not cured. Her personal horses were gentle and easy going, and she had progressed enough to be safe, but that was about it.

"She is so mean to my sister," my Reiki master continued, "One day we took her horse out to graze. He gets stubborn sometimes, and he wouldn't pick his head up from the grass. I was behind him waving my arms but he wouldn't move. He was mad because the other horses had been biting him. I think he wanted them to see him eating the grass.

"Lucy came up and said, 'You need to whip that horse and get him moving.' My sister told her, ,I'll never hit my horse, ever!' Then that bitch said, 'If you don't do something, somebody is going to get hurt someday. Can you believe it? She threatened her!"

Her fingertips dug deep into my vertebrae. Her indignation was totally upsetting my spiritual energy. 

"I don't think she was threatening anyone," I said. "She was warning your sister that a rude horse can become dangerous."

"He isn't rude, he's just a little difficult. We can walk him all over the trails."

It suddenly clicked. When she said walking, she meant leading. I knew the horse and I knew the sister. The horse was a Tennessee Walker, well-bred and expensive. He came from a training facility that specialized in gentle, broke-to- death trail horses. Within a month he was rearing, refusing to leave the barn, yanking through his bitless bridle and grazing at will. He wasn't above threatening with a tail snap, a raised hind foot and a snaky head. 

At first, Lucy had her kids ride him, he was fine for them. Gentle, mannerly, great on the trail, but he had the sister's number. She petted him a lot. Led him around, cried in his mane, and complained about having been ripped off. A lot.

Lucy suggested a few lessons with me, which she rejected, because she had seen me, I was mean to my horses. She knew in his heart, her horse was a good boy, he was trying to tell her something was wrong. 

The last I saw of her she was leading him down a trail, going on a "hike." 

This woman was still leading her horse, nine years later, and was the horse expert/mentor for my Reiki master. 

Lucy is not a bitch. After nine years of this nonsense I think she might be a little on edge. Don't get me wrong. If a horse owner wants to commune spiritually with their horse while they meander side by side through the woods, that's okay, whatever. 

What is not okay is refusing to learn from the knowledgeable people around you.  It is not okay to allow your horse to become an angry brat because you don't understand how horses think. It endangers you, your horse and the people who have to handle the horse. 

There is an arrogance to this kind of thinking that just blows me away. To presume your inner voices, or your balance with the Mother, or the alignment of the planets is enough to bear the responsibility of owning a horse  is beyond me. 

There is a lack of respect, for the people who have dedicated years to learning about horses and for the horses themselves. To consider your personal interpretation of bad and good, kindness and cruelty, or natural and unnatural behavior the right path to take, without having any knowledge based in fact or experience is stupidity at best, and blind ignorance at it's worst.

I am not keeping an eye out for a white foal. Normally, I just shut this kind of horse person down and walk away. Instead, because I like my Reiki master, and think she might hear me if I approach this right, I am going to take her out for coffee and we'll have a little bit of conversation. 

Who knows? Maybe, just maybe I could get her to the point where she could adopt a twenty or thirty year old one of these...

...and we could keep another one off the truck.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Not Your Average Cesar Salad


This is not about bashing Cesar. I'm not analyzing his training methods or doing a comparative between his methods and Victoria Stilwell, or any other behavioral or training method.
This is about making choices about the dogs we have in our lives.
I've got some questions I'd like some input on that I think are thought provoking--none of them have to do with choosing an approach to dog training.
If you hate him so much you just can't keep your opinion to yourself, please go to one of the 800,000 sites, blogs, links, discussion threads, etc. that debate his techniques ad nauseum, vent until you feel better, then please come back here and join the discussion.I value your opinion on these questions and would love your input.

My hoped for discussion is about the owners, trainers and instructors of Weber Training Stable
(http://www.webertrainingstables.com/), Jim And Joy, and their dogs.

I suggest watching all of Part 1 and 2. If nothing else, here's some bits and pieces that I feel are relevant.

Part 1: Watch the father, Jim, talking to Cesar, starting at 2:30. Look at Cesar's reaction.I feel completely understands the father's desire to shoot the dog. I said understands, which does not necessarily mean condones. At 3:33 look at Cesar's WTF? reaction to the wife's (Joy) reaction to the situation.

At 4:30 you get a taste of the dogs in action and how Joy and Jim handle them. At 7:00 he evaluates the situation. (No mention made by Joy of Rotts behavior before Bulldog started showing aggression. Going after horses and other dogs is learned behavior).

At 9:09 Joy states the dog is like one of her children. At 9:20 she asks, would you get rid of one of your children to keep your husband happy?

Part 2: At 3:02 watch how the dog goes after the horse while wearing a muzzle.. At 4:22 I feel like Cesar is having another WTF? moment. "You have the dog in the back with the baby inside?"

Here are the questions that came to my mind.

1. Do you guys want me to hold my thoughts until after we discuss this? I'm giving my gut reactions to this situation, but I haven't truly thought this through yet. I promise to behave, as long as the comments are about the discussion and not Cesar's training methods.

2. Does the father have a valid point when he says he wants to destroy the dog?

I would have shot the dog after my child was hospitalized. If my husband, a blood relative or one of you had put my child in the hospital I'd be loading my 12 gauge.

3. Should this couple own these dogs?

These are not typical barn dogs. I feel that for this couple, or maybe it's just Joy, these are "Ego Dogs." They were not chosen for the jobs they are bred for, they were chosen for the status the owner felt they gave her.This is so unfair to the dogs. That alone tells me they don't have the knowledge to handle them.
4. What differences do you see in the behavior of the two dogs? The Rott seems to be a happy idiot and nothing more. The bulldog scares the crap out of me.

5. Does Joy's statement that the dog is like one of her children tell you she loves dogs, or she is a sociopathic control freak?
 She asks, would you get rid of one of your children to keep your husband happy? The fact that she sees the situation this way gives me chills. It has nothing to do with making her husband happy, it has everything to do with allowing her son to live with a dog who has grabbed him by the throat.
Let's give it to her, and pretend the bulldog is one of her kids.

6.  If one of your children attacked another of your children, once, so aggressively he was hospitalized, and another time put a knife to his throat, would you keep that child in the house?
I would remove the murderous little shit and place him in a psychiatric facility. Then I would go take some intensive parenting classes.

7. Would you take your horse to this facility for training, or let your children take lessons from this couple?

8. How do you feel about the dog and the child sharing the back seat of the car?
I wanted to call social services.
My dogs, Charlie and Brockle, have a love/hate relationship. Periodically, Charlie pushes Brockle too far, Brockle gets mad and bites Charlie. Although it's only one bite, he draws blood.
Twice, Brockle bit Charlie so severely he scalped him. I mean actually scalped him.
Both times they were together in the back seat of the car.
It became very clear, very fast, that the close confinement was creating enough stress to create a huge problem between my guys. Charlie was the loser both times.
He survived and Brockle now has a gate between him and Charlie when we're in the car.

9. Do you think the child is safe now?

10. If not, do you think any training method can make this situation safe?

Now I have a question about the show itself. NOT THE TRAINING METHODS!!!

In Cesar's early years he would tell people, honestly, how he read their situation.
He would tell them if he felt the dog was a danger, or if they didn't have the temperament to handle their dog.
With this new program, it seems to have gone out the window.
It appeared to me he was, well, horrified by the behavior of the bulldog. Excuse me, let me make that the behavior of the owners.
I saw unease, distaste, incredulity, fear (for the child) and frustration cross his face, yet he never said anything. In the old days, he would have offered to take the dog and then given Jim and Joy a mild mannered, gentle Pit bull they could handle. In a case like this, he would give them a severe lecture about always putting children before dogs. I've seen him do it more than once.
Now, nothing was said
Why do you think this is happening?

Okay. Go.

In all fairness, I just found this update.


Does this change your perspective?

I have to think about it a little.

Friday, March 6, 2015

WTH is Brockle?

Gotta admit folks. The more I learn about this genetic stuff, the more I'm sure that I don't have a clue what my boy is.

A thought occurred to me, what if one parent was homozygous? The one with the fluffy white coat?
I think that's about where my brain froze.

Plus, if my results come out like this one...

I saw this dog on the Wisdom Panel Dog Community. Wow! I thought. This one is close.
BUT here are her test results:
25% Australian Shepherd, 25% Bloodhound 25% Boxer 25% SharPei
If Brockle's results are similar, well, I guess we found his mom. But if they are this screwy with different breeds...I'm doing it again, because I just can't see Bloodhound, Boxer and Sharpei in the dog above.

These tests periodically come back with some really wonky breeds listed. I'd say 80% of them looked about right.

Brockle's second test is being processed, so it's about time for me to suck it up and guess.

It was so hard to sort out my mutt by his looks, I went back to who he is. I tried to think through his behaviors, then went back to the breeds most likely to have them.
I also thought hard about the behaviors he doesn't have.
I tried to keep in mind he's a neurotic pound dog, and a lot of his behaviors have been man-made.

Brockle doesn't herd at all.
He will block and guard a line, but he doesn't drive or herd.
Brockle has a very, very high prey drive, but he doesn't bite.
He will, however, bite and try to seriously harm anybody who crosses his perceived boundary toward me in a way he finds threatening.
He stands outside every night and does his "night bark." It's a loud, evenly spaced bark. I'm not sure, but it feels like a warning to the predators that frequent the park behind our house. It lasts 10 to 15 minutes.
If the coyotes, bear or whatever are at our back fence, he goes nuts, chewing at the fence until his mouth bleeds.
He doesn't try to chase deer, horses, cattle etc. He leaves rabbits in hutches, yard fowl and goats alone. He can be triggered by cats and wild turkeys, but again, he has no interest in biting them.
He doesn't cower or slink. If he's confused he stands tall and seeks eye contact.
He has OCD. There's a list of behaviors and they're kept under control by keeping his his brain active and him exercised. We're also working on relaxation techniques that are helping a lot.

Another thought. The dogs who came together to create Brockle, no matter what their breed, were more than likely not high quality dogs. The dog called Blue Heeler on a five acre ranchette looks nothing like an AKC Australian Cattle Dog. I have heard (don't know for a fact) that AKC Border Collies don't have the instincts of a working BC.

Brockle's guarding behavior and night barking are very similar to the Guardian Breeds. Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherds are fairly common around here.

Most dogs who chase critters will kill them if they catch them. Brockle doesn't even bite. He will gleefully roll a dog in the dog park (why we don't do dog parks) but he's never hurt one. Saluki's chase and hold prey, but don't kill it. Catch dogs (mainly bully breeds) do too, but they physically hold the animal. Brockle is a circle and bark kind of guy. I thought some of you lurcher folks could give me some insight on this.

His boldness doesn't come from being fearless. It's like he has to respond. Some Malinois lines carry a gene that stops them from backing or running off. The more dangerous the situation, the more fearful the dog becomes, the harder he holds his ground and the fiercer he becomes.

Good Collies, BC's, Shelties, Australian Shepherds and Heelers will ignore the farm animals and focus on their job alone.

Doberman Pinchers, Shelties, Bull Terriers and German Shepherds carry a gene that causes OCD behavirs.

He's obedient, protective and always at my side.

He's the smartest dog I've ever known.

My vet said, "Don't discount the BC, those brains came from somewhere."


I started with Australian Cattle Dog, simply because I think every mutt in the southwest has some heeler in there. Then, although my trainers disagree, I think he has some German Shepherd in there. Then, I think we have a strong Great Pyrenees influence and the speed and light frame could come from a whippet, Border Collie or Rough Collie. Or any of the Belgian Shepherds. Or...

Last chance to change your votes...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

For Goodness Sake, Knock It Off

Horse conversations around here seem to get stuck in an endless loop of recycled opinion and passive aggressive, open ended questions.

I'm going to answer some of these right here and now, and in the future, will refer all comments that apply to this page.

Most of you guys are riders of various abilities and knowledge. This covers a wide range of disciplines.

We all love our specific discipline best -- I'm guessing it's because that's how we like to ride.

It absolutely doesn't mean it's the best way or the only way to ride. It's just how we do it. It makes absolutely no difference to the horse as long as the water's clean, the hay is plentiful and the sun is warm on their back.

I am interested in all things horse. Well, except racing, that's off my list. Other than that, I want to know how somebody else does it, what's the desired end result and the theory of balance, movement and forward behind it.

I have learned the best way to satisfy my curiosity is to ask about those specifics, listen closely, try them out myself and come to my conclusions privately.

Then, I allow myself an opinion.

Here we go.

Q. Why aren't these people wearing helmets?

 A. Some do, some don't. Everybody agrees, it's much safer to ride a horse with a helmet, yet some people persist in not wearing one. We'll talk about helmets on Helmet Brawl Day, other than that, let's try to focus on the subject at hand.

Q. Why do western riders wear spurs?

A. Why does anybody wear spurs? If the rider understands what the spur is for, it's a cue to lift the back and move specific parts to specific places.
If the rider doesn't understand they shouldn't wear spurs.

Q. Why are western spurs so big?

A. Some are some aren't.
The top row of my little chart shows a range of spurs. The Western spurs, go from gentle to severe, left to right.The last image is a joke, I've never seen a pair of those in use.
The most severe of spurs I've seen used, by far, are the rock grinders, fifth in line.
It is not the size of the rowel...it's how sharp.
The longer the leg of the rider, the longer the shank needed for contact. We ride with a longer leg than most other disciplines and our horses are smaller.
Look at the western rider. In order to make contact the spur must go in and up.
If you look at the English rider (with pokey little rowels OH MY) and the set of the leg, you can see the design of an English spur is for efficient use. Toes out and contact is made with the spur.
The second row of spurs are all for English riders. They are not legal in the show pen, if you want me to tell you how that's worked around, I can let you know. But then you'll be a cheat.

My final answer? Spurs are a piece of equipment, used and misused across the board.

Q. Why do you leg flap?
A. We (western riders) call it a bump. We bump with spurs or calves depending on the situation. I have never once said, "Why do you dressage riders cling to your horses like monkeys? It's so disturbing to watch that death grip on their heads and the never ending crushing of their sides."

Q. Why haven't I asked that question before?
A. Because it's rude.
Ab. Because I have studied just enough dressage to understand it's principles of drive and contact. When I say study, I mean took lessons from credentialed instructors, in the correct tack, on school horses, a couple of old masters and my own. I read tons to help me implement what I learned by physically riding.

Q. Why do you ride two-year-olds?
A. I don't.
When I worked in the industry it was a requirement of getting a job. I've blogged about this and feel no need to repeat information available in the archives, nor go off track of the point of a post so I can argue with you.. You are however welcome to write a post on YOUR blog and invite us to read it.

I chose this video because to my untrained eye this is a lovely horse, both calm and confident in it's work.
I am not criticizing this ride, the rider or the horse. I might be making fun of some of you, but...well I get to do that.
at 1:16 - Why, he's using his spurs to get the horse to stand still!
2:40 - Are his spurs actually poking this horse in the sides, or are those just cute little dressage dimples?
3:17 - Why is he flapping his legs like that? It's so distracting!
3:45 - This, for us western riders, would be considered full contact.

When we bump a horse we're saying, pay attention, somethings going to happen. The horse gets ready, and we finish the sentence with the next cues.
Funny thing, this is what my dressage instructors told me when describing the half-halt.
If you watch SLN's extremely undoctored tail, you can see when a spur makes contact. It's the exact same response Fuego has in the video above when his rider makes contact with his spur.
Just for fun, count the tail swats in both performances.
0:28 - Why he's bumping that horse with his calf while they're standing still! Wait. His weight has shifted to the right, the inside leg is open...well shucks, he said here comes your lope depart to the left.
0:55 - On the circle...bump, bump bump...both calves - drive harder and speed up!
1:04 - Bump, bump - right leg at the girth, holding him straight, left leg comes in one stride before middle, right leg releases, lead change.

I could keep going, but I'm hoping you get my point.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Trainers and Clinicians - Not Ready for Prime Time Players

Something has been bugging me lately. It's been bugging me a lot. It started with this kid.

His name is Carson James. He keeps showing up on my FB page.
First off, I want  to be clear, he does a lot of things right.
His basic knowledge is okay.
Thing is, his execution is pretty shaky. In the video below, all I can see is his hands, picking, picking picking. He is making a video on creating a quiet horse, yet his fidgeting sends his horse constant messages asking for movement. When the horse responds, he receives a correction.
I recognize this, because K spent FOREVER kicking my butt over this very same habit. Eventually, I learned when to cue, when to fix and when to leave my horse the hell alone.
Then I was ready to spend the next eight years or so learning how to build a bridle horse.
In the mean time, I didn't start making videos.

This kid needs to spend some time with a quality horse trainer. It didn't really matter to me until I saw the video below.
My big fat huge problem is he is representing himself as a trainer of bridle horses.
Dude, you're not even close.
Not only that, but this is the kind of stuff that makes riders from other disciplines make fun of us.

Carson's video is a mish-mash of horse whispery stuff and some pretty rough riding.

The video below shows a World Champion run by a horse I'm quite fond of. He's still in the two-rein here, which means he's still not considered finished.
His trainer, Kevin Stallings, does not spend a bunch of time riding bridleless, or desensitizing his youngsters with a flag. He does however, create horses like the one you see below.
Watch how Kevin rides, watch how the horse carries himself, then go back and watch Carson again.

This kid is trying to scrape together a living, a very tough thing to do as a young trainer, so I understand what he's doing, even if I wish he wasn't.

If you want to see one that actually pisses me off...here goes.

In a recent interview in Western Horseman, Clinton Anderson said he was stepping out of the clinic gig so he could become proficient in the show pen.
He was very up front about knowing he couldn't advance in cow horse and reining unless he took the time to live breathe and ride the events.
He felt that in order to be taken seriously by someone other than beginning horse folks he needed to prove himself as an NRHA, NRCHA and NCHA competitor.
I thought...Great! Good for him!

It's an argument I have had many, many times.
Natural Horsemanship is shaped around the basic training put on many good western horses in the first thirty days of their training - while they're learning other stuff, like being ridden.
In order to keep making money and continue drawing crowds these very basic concepts are turned into smoke and mirrors, piddly little tasks, and lots of reasons to not actually get out and ride.

This approach has its appeal, but, when taken too far, it tends to create stiff dull horses who don't ride well and definitely don't cut in the show pen.

The worst part of this methodology is creating a bunch of horse owners never growing into the advanced (fun) levels of horses because they're still going to clinics to perfect game 72 part c/224.

Needless to say, I was very interested to see how Anderson's training program changed as he got deeper into the pro show circuit.

Then...what pops up on FB?


How is he qualified to start selling videos on training performance horses? By his own admission, he just started riding in open shows. He hasn't won anything! Trust me--I know, hauling to a frigging show does not a competitor make.

This isn't the first time Ol' Clint has played this game. Several years ago Horse and Rider magazine followed Clinton Anderson as he started two reining prospects, preparing them the Down Under Way before sending them off to a competitive reining trainer. If I remember right, he planned on riding whichever came out the best in the Snaffle Bit Futurity.

First one washed out, then the other.

There was no follow up. Both Horse and Rider Magazine and Anderson became verrrrry quiet. I was dying to know some details. My personal guess was both prospects were so dull by the time the poor reining guy got them he couldn't get anything done. I'll never know, nobody was talking.

There is an enormous difference between the approach to training a top level competitor and creating a calm, friendly, trail riding companion.

This kind of crap can only degrade the beauty of a well trained horse.

Finally, I have posted four photos of trainers teaching a young horse to spin. Take your time, look at hands, body position, weight...then look at the horses. Check out the legs, the bend, the shoulders...

Carson - http://www.carsonjames.com/about/

Sandy Collier - http://www.sandycollier.com/nrcha_aqha_nrha_champion.html

Clinton - http://clintonandersonperformancehorses.com/

Pete Kyle - http://www.aqha.com/Showing/World-Show/Blog/09132013-CRI-FEI-Reining-at-WS.aspx
There is an on-going argument that clinicians are the only affordable way for people to learn. Some of the trainers I featured on this post are pretty pricey, but Sandy Collier has an amazing set of videos out that actually teach stuff beyond jiggling ropes and following you around a round pen.

None of the featured trainers cost as much as Clinton. I checked out his website and the prices he slaps on his horses. Do me a favor. Check out this site.


Look at his horses, their bloodlines, the services he offers and his experience. He shows and wins on what he breeds. So do his clients. Devin is a friend, a local guy and highly accessible. I can guarantee if you haul out to him and invest the same amount of money in lessons as you would on The Four Savvy's you'll have a whole new insight to what a partnership with a good horse can be.

Monday, March 2, 2015

This is How We Do It

This little girl and her horse are fantastic. I'd like everybody to watch their go and then give me some feedback.

Watch them together in the warm-up. Watch her hands. Look at her point of balance. Check out where she looks as they run.

Look at her equipment.

OK. Go.