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The Modern Horseman's Countdown to Broke: Real Do-It-Yourself Horse Training in 33 Comprehensive Steps
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Clinton Anderson: Lessons Well Learned: Why My Method Works for Any Horse
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John Lyons--From Ground to Saddle--A Beginner's Guide to Horse Handling
Pet Peeves of a Horse Trainer
This is written for all those horse owners who mean well, but just don't know any better.
What A Horse Trainer Really Wishes
A Horse trainer really wishes you would spend a little time teaching your horse basic manners before bringing them to her/him for training. For some reason in the horse world people have foals and wait for them to grow to 1000 lbs or more and then decide to send them to a trainer for "breaking." This is a horse trainer's pet peeve.To add insult to injury, they can't for the life of them understand why in the world you would need to have their horse for 90 days or better. After all how long does it take a person to get on a horse anyway? Never mind that horse tries to kick your head off when you want to pick up it's feet, or maybe has never stood tied in his life. Never mind that he only loads in the trailer with a bucket of carrots( I can make another whole article on that subject), or loses his mind when you try to spray him with fly spray. Never mind that a piece of plastic can turn him into dynamite on the end of a rope, or that he drags you all over the yard the first time you actually try to walk him from here to the arena. All this sounds funny to someone who doesn't know any better, but trust me it really isn't. You are just trying to get the frantic, disrespectful horse to a stall to contemplate your course of action. Mean while the owner is running a long the horse trying to shove a carrot down his mouth all the while saying"I don't know why he is acting like this. He never does this at home" You know what the horse trainer wishes? Just tell the truth. Your horse is out of control and that's why he's there.
What The Owner Can Do About It
First, if you bought your horse and he's already 1000 lbs and out of control, I am not talking about you. But, if you have a weanling or yearling you are mine. Do not let that horse sit around and do nothing until he is big enough to drag you around. When you wean your foal is a perfect time to start doing lessons with him because he will be lonely and looking for a friend. You can break your lessons down in 15 min segments and spend time with him every day. Make sure he leads well, not dragging or pulling on you. Make sure he is used to you touching him everywhere. Remember just because he doesn't like it does not mean he gets out of it. It is your job to get him to tolerate it. Work at it a little every day and he will get better. If you are a new horse owner and are scared of doing this while he is even small contact your trainer and see if he/she will put 30 days of manners on him. They can show you how to keep up the work until it is time to start the horse riding. This will be safer for you, the horse, and the trainer.
Why This Is Important For the Owner
Initially most people just think about how much money they are going to be out. When they get ready to send their horse away for training they are usually looking for a quick turn around. If you want a quick turn around or a cheap trainer just sell your horse and be done with it. I am not kidding. Honestly people have no idea how much work their little peaches takes to turn around. If you realize this is an investment then do your homework and put some manners on your horse before you send them to a trainer. Think of it this way... if your horse already has some manners then that is more time your horse gets under saddle. If your trainer has to spend time teaching a horse manners and then teach riding, you are not going to get as much riding time for your money. As a professional horse trainer I can tell you I do not want a horse to go away from my barn with bad manners. I want people who see that horse to be impressed enough to pass the word around. I will make sure that horse is well behaved above all else. Also it is just consideration for your trainer. Yes, that is their job. They are used to getting the difficult horses. But, it is a big blessing when you get horses that already have manners and you can just get out there and do your job without all the hassle.