When working with a horse I don’t necessarily follow a prescribed process. I believe that people who try to use a rigid process, sequence, and amount of time with every horse are neglecting the individuality and the specific needs of the horse in front of them. I believe that horses have as wide an array of needs and personalities as people do, and I believe it is important to work within that personality. Gimmicks that have the horse saddle trained and doing advanced maneuvers after 30 minutes may be amusing to watch, but do not pay enough attention to each step for the horse to think about and process it like he needs to do for true understanding. Results come through patience and rapport with the horse; I like to start in the round pen and then once they are comfortable there leave it and use the landscape as a tool to give to pressure, relax, and trust their rider.
Regardless of what style of riding you do, where you ride or what your facilities are, a little creative thinking and imagination can almost always contribute to solving whatever problem may be occurring in the partnership between your horse and you. I have worked with horses trained English and Western, and the principles are the same regardless of the shape of your saddle. All horses have the capacity to learn and change; it is simply a matter of finding out how to help them by making the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy.
Many times I have heard people talk about how wary they are of “cowboy trainer types” fearing that I will either wave ropes without purpose at horses and fail to provide structure and discipline to a horse, or that I will fall on the other end of the spectrum and be too forceful and scare them. My philosophy is centered around the concept that horses are most secure and cooperative with the human as their herd leader, which sometimes requires discipline but once that position is established generally does not. Horses often come to me fearful because there is no clear “herd structure” in their experience with humans, and find security in having it established for them, diminishing their fear and leading to a calmer, happier, more cooperative horse. I invite you to contact me directly and ask questions if you have these concerns.
Here’s a video of a colt I started. This video is of his 15th ride. He went on to be a very successful skijoring horse.