Monday, November 10, 2008

It's a matter of Preference

When I get a horse that is coming into training, there are some basics that I want to know. Is it up to date on everything? Has the horse ever experienced any lameness? And what do you feed it? That's all I want to know. Seriously that's it!
The last barn I trained out of the owner would always tell the my clients, "She doesn't want to know ANYTHING about the horses training."
Now you can tell me she's "broke", or she doesn't clip, or she is bad with her feet. Those things I'm fine with. But I do not want to know anything about what the horse has done under saddle. Now why is that??

It's because I want to start every horse from ground zero. I want to experiment and test the waters and give the horse the benefit of the doubt! I don't want to know that your horse may buck or rear, all that will do is keep my mind concentrating on when she's going to buck, instead of me concentrating on actual training. I start every horse as if this is their first time being saddled, bridled, lunged, and more. Why? Sometimes, horse people LIE! Plus if I do it this way, then I know I'm taking every precaution in mine and the horses safety. I ground drive EVERY HORSE I have in training. I want to KNOW without a doubt that your horse, turns and has brakes! Then I go through the motions of first backing the horse as if it's his first time *and it may be* and then I mount up and go from there. If the horse really is what the owner said it was, then this process will go much faster. But if the horse isn't then I will know in advance what I'm up against. Most horses will give me tell tale signs of what their mommies and daddies have already done with them, and that is terrific! Some won't and that's OK too. If someone is hell-bent telling me that their horse is broke, then I tell them that THEY need to get on it first. Usually that helps me to weed out the liars from the honest.

What this really is for me is more of an evaluation. If I go through ALL the basics with your horse, then I'm also able to find any gaps in his/her training. So that way you really are getting your moneys worth in training, plus a very happy owner and horse! :)

Now while it's not always a fool-proof method, as sometimes your beloved horse just really needs to get that buck out LOL, it really does make my job a hell of a lot easier.

So my question would be, what methods do/would you use when first meeting a potential mount, training horse, etc?


kestrel said...

I insist that the owner pay for a vet check for openers, because soo much "bad" behavior is caused by pain. Same thing, start from ground zero. Way too many advanced horses are missing basic things (like halter broke) that just keep snowballing. I refuse to take a horse that doesn't come with a trainable owner. I expect owner to show up, repeat each step after me, and shut up. I train just because I love it, so I can get away with that. After training pro for years, I realized that retraining a horse and teaching it that life could be fair, then sending it back to the same idiot methods that ruined it was not fair to the horse.
Unfortunately, in this business it's easy to find great horses but you have to watch those owners.

GoLightly said...

Nothing to add, excellent, well put. Every horse deserves to start fresh. They'll let you know what they've learned, or not.
I remember the first time I rode a particular, fairly notorious liver chestnut mare. The owner warned me about all sorts of things, all of which I ignored. The mare went flawlessly for me. Everyone stopped, including my trainer, to look. Horses act like you expect them to act.
I expected her to be broke, and she was:) It was one of the best moments of my riding career. Thanks for letting me remember it!
The owner, needless to say, was speechless....
You've got the exact right idea.

I love that horse in the pic, oh, what a kind, intelligent face! Is that you whispering sweet nothings in his nose?

And, you'll really hate me for this request, I betcha. As I've often mentioned, I'm old. I have a really hard time reading tiny white text on a black background.....
Hint, hint..

Thanks for losing the word verification!

Thanks for another great post, TX!
keep it up!

Trainer X said...

Hmmm enlarge the text??? What do suggest?? ALSO any horse has the potential to act silly, buck, rear, kick whatever, but if you aren't distracted by those things, normally you will have a fabulous ride! Because you're not nervous, or anticipating the worst!!

Kestrel~ Trainable owner!! LOL!! I could NOT AGREE MORE!!!! Very nice guys! Thanks so much for the Comments!!!

GoLightly said...

THANK YOU, my eyes are waaaay happier!! Squinting is not a good look for me.
I didn't get to read kestrels post until after I posted. As usual, right on the money. Did I mention the owner of the mare was an idiot, yes, of course she was...
Who is the horse in the pic, c'mon please?

Trainer X said...

Oh in the pic? Not me my darling... Found it on the interwebz and thought it was a VERY sweet photo! :)

ezra_pandora said...

Do you ever get owners that try to test you? Like they say, "well, I want to see WHAT YOU can do, so I'm not going to ride it for you first to show you what he can do." I hate when people do that. Like ok, you trust them with your horse to train, but you're going to try to test them first?? Sheesh. I am obviously not a trainer by the way, but someone told me when I was taking my horse to the chiro to not tell them what her problem was first but to wait and see what they said was wrong with her. I can kind of see their point, but I wanted to make sure the problem was fixed for sure. I wasn't paying for that for the fun of it!!

Trainer X said...

Oh crap, like all the time!!! Well you're the "big bad trainer, just get up there" YEAH Right!! !I'm not going to try to intentionally get hurt on my horse, or anyone else's horse!!! Plus if owner does not want to coorperate, or is being too difficult, so that I may feel endangered, you can just take your horse home LOL!!!

kestrel said...

Oh yeah, and I just have to luuuvvvv the owner who waits for me to get on and then tells me that ole' horse poo has already killed 2 people.
Look owner, you haven't checked out the trainer so you are going to "test" them with your horse? What happens your horse hurts the trainer? You gonna pay the doctor bills? What happens if the trainer has to beat the holy crap out of your horse just to find a safe place to get off?
Owner, even under MT horse liability law, mounting a rider on an inappropriate mount is negligence and the trainer could sue you for your nasty joke. Get the hell out of my barn!
I refuse to get on any horse that I don't know without doing some groundwork. To get on a horse that has no concept of manners, left right go and whoa give to pressure, using CUES not leverage, is just going to reinforce the screwups and prove to the horse that being ridden sucks.

Trainer X said...

oh my god! Ground work is essential, when working with ANY HORSE you don't know. I love the people who say, oh i'll get on anything! Well that just makes you really stupid! Not Brave, stupid. I'll get on "almost" anything, once I've tested the waters FIRST!!! And the b est way to do that is by ground driving and ground work. If a horse doesn't respect me on the ground, what makes you think he'll respect you when you're on him LOL!!!!!

GoLightly said...

Same owner of "notorious" mare, different horse. Owner did indeed kinda "dare" me. I had seen him ridden. I knew he was stubborn, balky, nasty. Seemed to hate riders. He had the worst case of stop & go up, in him I'd EVER felt. I refused to ride him again, after 3 minutes on his back..
Turned out he had a brain tumour. I swear!
(Not that often:)
Oh, my happier story is an "Eeyore" type of horse, that guy was soooooo sleeeepy, slooooow. No interest in life at all. Lovely horse, too. Very talented and scopy. I had a dear friend with a standard poodle with no job. He became my "hound" for this horse, gave him (the horse) a new lease on life! Poodle had a blast, too! I actually got him shaking his head and play bucking, before just flying on forward again. He liked to be ridden!! Owner couldn't get over the change in him. Of course, he always reverted to Eeyore for her.
That is a great pic, nice catch!
Thanks again for making the blog easier to read, for us oldEr farts:)

2toads2luv said...

The first thing I want to know? Does he have manners. I hate a horse that either walks on top of you, has to be drug into a trot... I want a horse that will go in any direction at any speed I ask, and am more than happy to take the time on the ground and in the saddle to make sure that happens. I think taking the time to do the ground work and make sure the basics are there establishes a relationship of trust with a horse. Once you have trust, it's usually pretty easy to talk the horse into doing the things you want them to do.

And I really don't want to know about bad habits, unless they're agressive or dangerous. It's kinda like a strike against the horse, and it usually isn't the horse's fault.

Ellen said...

I assume nothing when I get one in, and always start with ground manners, as very few horses are "halter broke" to my standards. We start with ground manners on the lead, and I do a little work in the round pen (mostly walk/trot) establishing a connection, and evaluating how the horse moves. A lot of times there are physical issues that require either chiro, farrier, or vet work, or some gymnastic longeing or ground work before the horse is ready to work under saddle.

The only training horse that ever hurt me came with the info from her owner only that she was "sweet" -- not until I was in physical therapy where I met one of the others, did I find out that I was the third trainer she'd put in the hospital, one of whom is permanently disabled with a back injury when she flipped on him.

Lessons on the horse are included in the price of the training, as soon as it's going reliably under saddle I put the owner up and work with them as a pair. I do have the same thoughts as kestrel that I'm hollering down a well sometimes, sending the horse home for more of the same.