Thursday, July 24, 2008

If I Were a Natural HorseTrainer...

Which one would I be... See, I've been sitting on my arse watching RFD-TV a bit too much. Can't ride, heck, can't even put any effort into my boys with the weather, and the hoof/back/whatever it is. So I've been watching the horse trainer TV shows, and reflecting on what I see..

Ryan Gingerich - tap the horse with a whip on his front leg, he goes forward. Stop him, make him go backwards, repeat, repeat, repeat. Get in saddle, tap with heel rather than whip, repeat, repeat, repeat. His only clients are spazy goofy, can't control 'em ever at all horses, and riders that don't seem to know anything. They've taught their horses that disobedience is acceptable. Lesson? Nada, nothing, zero, zilch

Julie Goodnight - Gadgets for headset, multi saddles, variety of riders. Each a specific problem, and a specific lesson. My fave had to be the young boy that rode with his legs far in front, and hands up as if holding a serving platter. She took his reins from him, asked him to stand in the saddle & almost perch forward. Second fave had to be the Ayyy-rab that couldn't be caught. I pondered to myself while she was following that goofy nut horse around the arena, "How'd they catch her & bring her here in the first place? Did they free-chase here to this arena?" Lesson? Nada, nothing, zero, zilch. The lessons are so specific to particular problems, there hasn't been an episode yet I could use

Pat Parelli - Lots of commentary while they tell stories & move horses about in a show demo. They advertise buying all their gadgets all through the show, explaining only enough of the methods to make a curious horsewoman want to buy the gadgets and books. Horses step on boxes, push balls, scary-trot past plastic squishy barrels, and spook at their shadows. Maybe I got in on the parelli-game a bit late, because I don't see education, I see advertising. Lesson? buy the junk to get a better horse, because we've got secrets to training, and you have to pay for them.

Clinton Anderson - Chase the horse, chase the horse, chase the horse, chase the horse, flex, flex, flex, flex, chase the horse, repeat. LOL.. I'm giggling just writing it. On the ground, it's a lotta horses cantering around, and a gazillion lateral flexions. Under saddle, plenty of flexions, bending necks, and a gazillion rollbacks. Then, fast forward through all the training lessons you'd have to buy to see, and the horses are suddenly in a curb bit, performing bridleless training activities. I missed something in the middle here, too. Anytime I've tried these techniques, I get the basics, and somewhere along the way, we miss something, because I just end up with goofy spooky sensitive horses galloping out on a rope halter & lunge line. Lesson? Buy the junk for a better horse. Nose knots are necessary, as is the $100 version of a lunge whip. All the secrets must be in the purchase dvds.

Ken McNabb - Useful, but again, I feel the "middle" is missing. His latest shows have been with wild colts, and horses with attitude. The last one I recorded was with a horse that was supposed to be horribly difficult to saddle. He pulled hard about 3 times on a rope halter, and that gelding gave up. He quit fussing, quit trying to buck, accepted saddle & rider, and never once got yanked in a one-rein stop. Ken used that one rein just long enough to get the horse's attention, and pushed him back forward. Lesson? Good for getting nervous-nelly control, but not particularly helpful for me.

Where do all these trainers fill in the blanks? What happens between "playing a game with my horse" and getting him to happily jump over barrels? What steps did I miss between "flexing my horse's head side to side 300 times", and scoring 1s and 2s in a reining pattern? How do I get from walking on the ground with dressage whip, tapping the horse's front leg, to neck reining & going on a trail ride?

Why can't they run an episode with a horse that has the basics, and demonstrate a middle-step? Why is it "basics" or "experts"?? Anybody ever wanted to see an episode of "intermediate" other than me?

My musings & rants for the day.... A reminder to the weather it needs to stop raining so I can go shut my brain off & just ride.

5 comments:

fssunnysd said...

Hmmm -- and here I was, thinking that since I only catch RFD's horse-y programming sporadically I was missing the middle bits and only catching the front-end and finished projects.

I've actually gotten a couple of interesting ideas from watching the mule lady (can't remember the title - Training Mules & Donkeys? Something about Long Ears, anyway...). If nothing else, she's entertaining: at one point she was describing sacking out young mules with anything handy - which in her case, evidently included the barn cat!

Jennifer said...

meow!

Anonymous said...

fwiw, I believe that these programs are essentially 'infomercials' for product

there are just enough sound ideas presented to get a 'hook' into you, and then when you buy the product they're pushing, your horse is 'perfect' There's no intermediate because that's what the product DOES.....

In my opinion, it takes trust, patience, communication and TIME... there are no quick fixes when building a solid foundation between a horse and handler/rider/driver......

yup, drivenbonkers wuz here, again....

Anonymous said...

I have watched all the same episodes and tapes as the rest of you. And the thing is that until you have actually taken the time to apply some of these methods, it just isn't going to make sense to you. And to sit back and criticize a method that you know nothing about just doesn't seem right. I agree that purchasing DVD's and "stuff" as you call it can be expensive at first, but the rewards far outweigh the costs. You have those training tools at hand for a very long time, and the DVD's to refer back to as often as necessary. In my opinion this is where alot of people go wrong. They believe they can watch an episode, and instantly go apply it to your horse, and have it work like magic. Becoming a true horseman takes much more than a rope and a stick. It is a way of life that you simply have to discover. And when you do, it is wonderful. When it works, it is wonderful. But it is going to take much more than an episode or two to get there. And most people just don't have the stamina or will to put in the time. Lastly, I fail to understand how and why people think that trainers such as Parelli and Anderson should just give away their hours and years of work for free? It's just not realistic. You buy into their methods, you practice and apply them correctly, and I guarantee you will see the difference.

Jennifer said...

Ah, yes, the free world of blogging. A place where I can freely have my opinion...

Ya know what Momma says about opinions? They're like armpits.... everybody's got at least two, and there's a chance one might stink.

=) There's been a lot of training & differences in the methods discussion over at Mugwump Chronicles. Check the link on the right side of my blog for more.