HOW NOT TO BREAK A HORSE !!
IT HAS BEEN SOME TIME SINCE I ENTERED AN ARTICLE ON HERE. NOW IT IS SEPTEMBER 20TH 2014, AND THE TIME HAS COME.
TODAY I WENT TO THE SECOND DAY OF A TWO DAY HORSE CLINIC HERE IN CALGARY ON THE GROUNDS OF THE FAMOUS CALGARY STAMPEDE.
THE WESTERN PART OF THE HORSE CLINIC ON BREAKING IN YOUNG HORSES, I WAS NOT IMPRESSED WITH.
ALL MODERN HORSE CLINIC TEACHERS SHOULD READ THE BOOK BY MONTY ROBERTS ON HORSE BREAKING CALLED "THE MAN WHO LISTENS TO HORSES."
AGAIN LET ME STRESS TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BREAK AND WORK WITH HORSES: THEY NEED TO OBTAIN AND READ "THE MAN WHO LISTENS TO HORSES" BY MONTY ROBERTS.
The two day clinic teachers have to do something for their money, they have to try to impress you with something.
I was not at the first day clinic being the Saturday Sabbath. I was at the Sunday clinic. As they brought in the two young fillies I was told by people who were at the first day, the light Palomino filly was a handful and gave lots of trouble. I could see she was much more spirited than the other filly, who was calm and well mannered. Through the hour or so they worked with these two fillies, the lady who owned them said the light
Palomino filly was trouble from the start; i.e. hard to halter break and lead.
Now the lady owner did not have them from birth, but they had been around humans, so they were not "wild" in the true sense of wild.
If you have foals born on your ranch, then it is easy and wise to halter break them when weaned from the mother. But not having that situation, then ones that are difficult should have the lariat nerve rope put on [goes around the ears and nose] this puts pressure on sensitive areas without any rope burns. I've talked about it in other earlier studies on breaking horses. With correct handling using the nerve rope, you can soon get your horse to lead around. And you should do it this way for a number of days, so the horse leads and you walk it around for say half an hour each day, for a number of days. Now still with the nerve rope on you then begin to talk to the horse, stand close to it and begin to rub its neck, its chest, its face, around the poll, speaking soft smooth words. Then your hands go down on to its withers; eventually in small steps you rub its back, down its front legs, eventually under the belly, then the rump, back legs.
You then move to the halter and teaching to stand in a stall and you give it hay..... you become the one it looks to in being fed. You continue to "hook up" to it in the stall; you must become its friend. It is no longer scared of you, you have become a friend. You can now brush it, groom it, all over. It takes time to have this horse hook to you as a friend, something, someone, it does not need to fear.
At horse clinics they don't have the time to teach you this; or they have not the horses in the one, two, three, stage of breaking that they can bring in to say "Well this horse is at this stage...here's what we do next."
The filly giving trouble at this clinic needed slower work like I've just pointed out to you.
Now the other filly at this clinic was already very well mannered, she led as you would want her to be lead, quietly following you, very trusting, and to this point "hooked up" to you. Now what did this clinician do next? Exactly what I've told you before should never be done. The guy picked up the long stick with a small flag on it, and yes started to smack the filly here and there with it, and waving it around this side or the other side, on the rump, and all what these people do in thinking they are desensitizing the horse. What happened to this quite, follow you around as you lead horse, it got scared, jumpy, nervous, untrusting of the one leading. Everything was now being un-done that was going just fine.
Yes before this, the guy had walked the horse over a tarp, got it to lead over a wooden bridge box; so of course the people clap, "Oh what wonders he has done" is going through people's minds. The other Palomino filly well the man leading her with some difficulty did get her to stand on the tarp and put her front legs on the wooden bridge, but she was still not "hooked up" to the handler.
Okay back now to the filly that was to begin with quiet and leading just fine. The horse is now nervous, untrusting, by the flag nonsense. He takes her over to the side: all eyes are on the Palomino filly out in the arena, not really seeing what the fellow is doing with the once upon-a-time quiet filly. The man had put a bare-back pad [without stirrups] on her..... AND THEN the filly sprang into action bucking across the arena, while people gasped in shock. The filly was now acting like a wild horse. And did so buck a number of times the guy took off the bare-back pad and put it on again.
Of course the more times he did it the less it bucked, but right up to time they stopped, the filly was now un-nerved, no longer the quiet friendly filly as when she came in to the arena.
Like I say, these clinic guys by and large do not have the time to go slow, and really "hook up" to the horse. In some ways this quite filly... well you may just as well put her in a chute, put a saddle on and just rode the buck out of her as the old cowboys of grandfather's day used to do, ride and ride them till there is no buck left in them.
But that is not the best or the humane way to break a horse.
That filly should have had the saddle blanket introduced, rubbed over her back, for a number of days in the stall, not just the few minutes they did in this arena clinic.
Leave the saddle blanket on the side of the stall, introduce it to the horse slowly. Leave the saddle close by [but not so it falls] for a few days. Introduce easy and slowly; you have already become its friend, giving food, brushing down.
I have done it this way as a young guy dozens and dozens of times..... slow and easy. No flapping this or that around them, not even at this stage trying to get them to stand on a tarp or walk over a wooden bridge.
The main aim is to break in the horse SLOWLY, kindly, with friendship.
IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO GET THAT HORSE "HOOKED UP" TO YOU SO YOU ARE ITS FRIEND. THIS IS THE BASIC METHOD OF MONTY ROBERTS. AND I WAS DOING IT THIS WAY IN WHEN 18, 19, 20, ETC. NOT EVEN KNOWING MONTY ROBERTS WAS ALIVE, AND HAD FIGURED IT OUT ALSO.
These two day clinics have it so much wrong, that it is really doing a bad imprint on the minds of all the horse novices that go to see how to break in a new horse. There are a few of them that kinda show the right way to do it with a quiet horse, if they do not start scaring it with flapping things around and trying to get it to do things that you do LATER once the horse is fully rideable. When the horse is fully rideable, fully trusting you, THEN you can advance to walking on taps or over wooden bridges etc.
IF YOU GO SLOW, CALMING, HOOKING UP AS A FRIEND, WITH EACH STAGE, YOU WILL HAVE A HORSE THAT WILL ACCEPT THE SADDLE, WHEN IT'S TIME TO ACCEPT THE SADDLE. EVEN THEN AFTER THAT YOU WALK WITH THE HORSE SADDLED FOR A NUMBER OF DAYS. THEN COMES THE ACCEPTING OF THE BIT AND BRIDLE. AND WALKING ALL TACKED UP LIKE THAT FOR A NUMBER OF DAYS, BEFORE YOU MOVE ON TO THE DIFFERENT STAGES OF EVENTUALLY MOUNTING UP.
I'VE SAID ALL THIS IN EARLIER ARTICLES BUT AFTER SEEING WHAT I SAW TODAY, I JUST HAVE TO SAY IT ALL AGAIN.