I also believe
that if your horse does not respect you or is fearful of you,
he will never fully trust or obey you. A horse should respect
and care for their handlers, cooperate, and try each new task
presented. In nature horses establish a hierarchy and pecking
order within the herd, and establish boundaries and claim
space around them. I believe the same results can be obtained
if we duplicate their actions. When I communicate with my
found that it’s easier for me to use their language. While
I want to be viewed as their superior I am mindful that I do
not want to be viewed as a predator or as the bully in the herd.
I don't believe that horses should be treated like machines for
showing and winning; I have learned that they often perform better
when they are treated as friends and partners. This is why I
believe in training through rewards rather than punishment; I
never use cruel training aids such as short/quick stops or severe
bits and rarely use draw reins or whips. Typically, I start each
new horse in a full-cheek waterford and standing martingale
as I believe they help to encourage proper carriage while allowing
the horse some freedom to develop its own unique way of going.
My horses learn mainly by positive reinforcement, they receive
boy", pats on the neck, and a lap off when they have performed
each task correctly. As a result of my encouraging and positive
methods they trust me, strive to please me, enjoy their work,
and are rarely over-whelmed by new challenges in training. Many
trainers would have you believe that the horse is first and foremost
a wild animal that responds only to "pressure and release of
pressure". I believe that is only the smallest part of what a
domisticated horse is today and I know from my daily experience
that they respond best when they have formed the bond based on
love, fairness, and trust that only comes with patience and deligence
in all aspects of horse ownership.
A key part
of my training is providing personal care to my horses every
day; spending hours with them outside of the normal training
schedule. During winter months, daily care consists of three
hot meals, 8 hour day-time turnout, morning stall cleaning
(twice if it is rainy), blanket check, and grooming. Summer
care includes three small meals, 14-16 hour evening to morning
grazing, twice daily stall cleaning, and grooming.
Since my horses get plenty of time out doors they view their time with
me as time to focus and work; not playtime. Turnout gives them their own creative
time, and plenty of exercise which allows them to truly focus during training.
Since they are attentive we get more accomplished in shorter training sessions
(25-40 min), and longeing is rarely required.
In addition to top-notch care, and 3-4 training sessions each week, I typically
perform the farrier work as well. All the time spent with each horse pays off
in the end; I believe they can see that they are loved, how hard I work for
them and, usually, they love and work for me in return.