I have to say I’m not a Parelli fan nor do I really subscribe to any of the TV trainers. I think many of them focus too much on gimmicks and selling their brand than actual horsemanship. If you can’t ride at a certain level, you probably have no business training a horse. I’ve seen a lot of amateurs get into some pretty bad wrecks trying to do it themselves and as a result way too many horses pay the price. Since, I’m always curious about how other people do things I find myself drawn to training discussions whether online or in person. I figured since our PSA pals deem themselves to be experts in all things equine, we could check in with what they have to say about training horses. As always, quotes are not edited.
I guess the best place to start the discussion should be with foals, since that should always be the beginning of training a horse. We start handling our babies the day they are born. They get their little leather break away halter on and learn to be lead in and out with their mammas. By the time they are weaned, they are pretty easy to handle including having their feet done. We have just found it’s much easier on both horse and human and builds a solid foundation of trust. Sadly, our PSA don’t see the value in doing any of that. “As it was said in another post “My horse, my way of doing things”. Not all of us who don’t lead 12 hr foals and throw halters on them are POS trainers. My horses don’t see a halter until the are weanlings and often learn to lead by being ponied off another horse. It’s easier for me to handle a foal by wrapping my arms around their chest and grabbing thems cut little tail. No need to yank and pull on their sensitive head and neck.” Apparently having a rodeo with a big baby is much easier on their `sensitive heads and necks’. Mind you, some of the PSA’s views on weaning don’t exactly fall in line with most people. “HA….the ooops foal we had, she foaled in her pasture with a companion mare…..in 5 strand electric…..we arrived around 7:15 a.m. to feed and there was an almost dry baby standing up…..she latched on without help…..and she was the meanest ass baby on the face of the earth…..she had an ornery streak from the get go…..got her momma’s disposition and nothing but markings and size from daddy….we weaned her at a full year and gave her away” This last statement could have an entire blog entry all on its own, there is so much wrong with it. Wow.
“most of our horses, on 3 different farms I work out of, pony off the golf cart, 4 wheeler (ATV) or the truck. One of the farms I work at teaches their colts to lead by tying them behind the tractor, between the hay fork. It might sound harsh but like I was saying on another board, there are a lot of things that happen on farms that have been in biz long before most of us were even born! Our industry went to sh#t when middle aged divorcees started kissing NH trainers asses.” Yes, there ARE a lot of things that have been happening to horses for many years before any of us have been born. That doesn’t make them humane or right. You don’t have to be into NH to have a little empathy and train with kindness.
“We use the same heavy saddle on all our horses when they come up to be trained to ride (broke). Sometimes it really IS breaking. The key to breaking is that YOU have to build the horse back up (think JarHead here). You are “breaking” the bad habits someone else put in place. You are breaking the horse’s natural instinct to just laze around, hang out with the other 4 leggers and eat grass. Now YOU are putting YOUR ideas into that horse.” So I guess the concept of a willing partner is lost on somebody that believes you need to `break’ a horse in every aspect of the word. It’s actually more than sad to think that this person will never know the joy of having a willing partner as a mount. I’ve done some pretty stupid things on horses in my youth and I’m very glad my horses had some ideas of their own or I’d probably be dead by now. It’s called trust. Sometimes a horse’s instinct is far better than our own and might save you from something really bad happening, like falling down a cliff.
“my plan for a bucker, MAKE EM BUCK. my mare will buck hard the first few times i ride her. I have hubby get on and when she bucks he keeps asking for the buck. Soon she understands umm ok not fun anymore.” Now, clearly nothing ever goes as planned with horses. They are large flight animals that really do have the ability to reason on a basic level. Any trainer will encounter a horse that is difficult or tougher than average. Contrary to what PSAs say that the rest of us think, horses cannot talk to us and tell us what’s up. For them, behavior is communication. If I have a horse that all of a sudden gets humpy or has a drastic behavior change, I start looking for the reason why. 99% of the time, there will be an underlying cause to a horse’s bad behavior. Again, our PSA people don’t agree with this at all. “Now with saddle training this bucker, I would make sure you’re in a solid round pen first off. Lunge the horse both directions, full tack for about 15-20 min. W/T/C then ground drive the horse for another 30 min. After you do all that snub the horse to a post or have someone hold it and get on and off both sides until “it’s boring” You could not pay me enough money to get on any horse, let alone a horse that is known to buck, while it is snubbed to a post. No wonder the PSAs like to trade horrific injury stories….Maybe sometimes all they are trying to communicate is that they’re sick of your abusive ass.
One of the things that blew up the comment sections on a previous blog was bits and what is kind or not kind. I have to admit that when I was a kid at AQHA shows, I would watch the big name trainers in the warm up rings with their bumper bits and double twisted wire snaffles. Many of them had nerve lines to set a head etc. I convinced myself that I needed to have and use all those things if I wanted to ever grow up and win the open classes like them. Thank GOD for my mother. She told me that no real horseman would ever need to use those sorts of things and packed me off to a trainer that didn’t. I learned that you could win without out using short cuts and had a trainer that took the time to sit down and explain to me how stuff like that would cause my horse pain. It should be noted that this trainer already had multiple world champion buckles to her credit so it’s not like she wasn’t getting success by being kind. As a result, I have always eschewed using gimmicks on my horses. “I use tie downs. Particularly when a horse has a nasty history of flipping or smacking the rider with the poll. I had advised a young man to put one on his rearing horse. They did not heed the warning and the horse flipped on the young man. He got a free helicopter ride by lifeflight”
While we’re talking about equipment, PSAs seem to love to up the ante with equipment. It goes along with the whole lack of self awareness thing. If a horse isn’t doing what you want, figure out a way to inflict more pain and discomfort so you can force him to do your bidding anyhow. Under no circumstances should you take responsibility, find out what is bothering the horse or think about what you are doing wrong. “ ok i swear im gonna go off on bling bling. this horse is gonna get me ticked off. Tonight he did very well UNTIL he started to fight the bit. Current bit is a snaffle, 3 peice mouth with a dog bone. Tried a chain wonder bit, hated it, tried a little S hack, hated it, went back to the bit he had on. Now he is sstarting his barrel training and im at my wits end with bits on him, driving me nuts. He has the next 2 days off, so between now and then, I will have to come up wtih a few different bits to try” Pray for this horse……
Given the PSA’s attitude and brutality, is it any wonder they keep bringing up these `unsuitable’ and `untrainable’ horses they need to slaughter? I can say, without a doubt, that not a single one of these people think they are doing anything wrong. Some of them take great delight in boasting about how the dominate their horses and teach them a lesson. Nearly all of them will blame the animal. One went so far as to say that 93% accidents are due to a horse deviating from the norm. In other words, it’s nearly always the horse’s fault when things go wrong. I must have a lot of accidents coming my way because, so far, 99.9999% of my horse accidents have been ultimately MY fault. I kinda have to think that rather than a bunch of unsuitable and untrainable horses out there, there are just a whole bunch of PSA horses with people problems. But what do I know? I still hug my horses every single day.