Horse Training Eugene OR
Lead By Example
Written by Jennifer Denison
Simple tasks can provide the most valuable groundwork lessons for your horse. Learn how Tammy Pate makes the most of leading, grooming, saddling and bridling her horses.
If you are a longtime horse owner, you probably have a pre-ride routine. In ritualistic fashion, you walk to the pasture with halter, lead rope and grain bucket in tote. You catch your horse, lead him to the barn and tie him to the hitching post. You brush off the mud and dust, plop on a pad and saddle, and bridle him. Now you’re ready to work.
Your work started the moment you walked into the pasture, when your horse formed his initial impression of you.
Last month, in the first of four articles in this series on “intuitive horsemanship,” you learned that you start training your horse—and any others around him—from the moment you step into his environment. Depending on your approach, you could be teaching horses to recognize and respect you from the ground, or to disregard your presence and leave.
This is all a part of my philosophy, based on ancient yoga principles, of being aware of your inner and outer worlds, and bringing the two together in harmony. When you’re in tune with yourself, your horse and nature, your intentions will be focused. In other words, you’ll be mentally and physically present in the moment, and recognize that each situation is an opportunity to build on your horse’s training and refine his responsiveness, which transfers to what you do in the saddle.
This sometimes means you must change your plans and spend more time working with your horse on the ground, rather than in the saddle. However, groundwork doesn’t have to be thoughtless movement around a round pen. You’re doing groundwork from the time you go to catch your horse.
In this article, we’ll pick up where we left off in the last installment, on the ground with your horse haltered, ready to lead him back to the barn to groom and saddle. These simple tasks, if done correctly and with cognizance, are effective groundwork exercises in preparation for riding.
First, however, take a moment to relax, breathe deeply, focus on the present, and forget everything that’s bothering you. Also, set an affirmation for this lesson. As I explained in the last article, an affirmation helps create positive thoughts that increase your confidence, focus your intentions, and empower you physically and emotionally to achieve your goal.
No matter what you do with a horse, you must capture his mind before you can ask for movement. If your horse is asleep, grazing or looking at something other than you, before you lead him, gain his attention by gently bumping the lead rope, bringing his head toward you, snapping your fingers or ...
The Horsemanship of Martin Black
In the setting sun, Idaho horseman Martin Black lopes circles in a Colorado arena. His horse's breathing is barely audible in the strong wind that sweeps across the front range of the Rockies. A steer enters the arena, and Martin skillfully works the animal back and forth along the fence, then in circles in both directions.
The horse, Play Lika Hickory, reserve-champion ranch horse at the 2003 World Championship Ranch Rodeo and national finals ranch-horse champion at the 2004 Western Heritage Classic, is perfectly balanced and knows his job.
Martin has built a reputation for starting and preparing horses for such diverse events as racing, cutting, reining, jumping, roping and reined cow horse. His travels have taken him all over the United States, as well as to Australia and Europe. His training methods build the horse's confidence by teaching him discipline through self-induced pressure that's easy for the horse to understand and minimizes confusion and fear.
The Black family has raised and trained horses for five generations. It runs in Martin's blood. His great-grandfather, Joe Black, was born in a wagon in 1875. One of the early settlers in Idaho's Bruneau Valley, Joe became a prominent horse breeder in the late 1800s and early 1900s, raising and training thousands of Thoroughbreds that he sold to ranches across the West, as well as to the U.S. Cavalry and European governments for military use.
Throughout his life, Joe carried on the traditions of the early California vaquero and usually roped with a rawhide reata. Martin grew up in this environment, inheriting an appreciation for the Spanish California style of horsemanship, and its emphasis on versatility.
By age 10, Martin had learned a great deal from his grandfather, Albert, and his uncle, Paul, and was 12 when he started his first colt. By 14, he'd started a number of colts and had developed an appreciation for training young horses.
Martin also learned a great deal at an early age from Melvin Jones â" a student of Martin's uncle, Paul â" who went on to become a great reined-cow-horse competitor.
"When I was about 8,"recalls Martin, "I started watching Melvin at the Elko County Fair. At that time, he pretty much dominated the entire event, and he was like an idol to me. I'd get there early in the morning to watch the first contestant, and stay late to watch the last."
Today, Martin still remains more interested in starting horses than in "finishing"them.
"After I realize...