Horse Training got you Scared?

By Jeff Wilson
Discover The One KEY Ingredient That Takes Fear Away

Photography by Andrew Wilson

Hello, my name is Jeff, and I regularly shovel manure just like you and have horse stickers on my truck to let folks know I’m into horses, just like you. This article is for YOU if you’ve ever struggled with your horse and how to train him to be YOUR best partner. After all, don’t you deserve it?

Want to know how you can get a lot done with your horse to make the neighbors envy you? To really let them know that there is a “new sheriff in town” when it comes to horse training?

Well, what I’m about to tell is so important that when the competition hears that I’m giving this information away for free they’ll probably make me take this article down. So read on while you still can for free.

I turn over a horse to its owner to ride safely in a short time, and you can too. Ok, here’s my secret weapon. Are you ready for it? It’s valued at $xxxxxx, but I’m giving it away here for free. Before I tell you what my secret is let me tell you what I believe.

When someone sends me a horse to train, I train it. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, with an unbroke horse, that means all the firsts are done with me: the first ride, the first canter, the first stream crossing, the first deer spook, (maybe not the first scream, that’s sometimes done by previous riders). Sometimes it’s the first “no” that li’l Dolly has ever heard, and so on.

There is certainly an element of risk involved in training unbrokes; in that we can all agree. We can also concur together that things can and do get exciting rather quickly. It may surprise you to know that I resolve to get my trainees out on the trail as soon as possible which would seem to bring a heightened level of uncertainty, but that is not the case. The truth is you can be safer on the trail than anywhere else on your unbroke. It is my best kept secret, and I’m gonna share it with you for free just this one time.

First, you need to know that to get your unbroke out on the trail is to get something accomplished. Accomplishment is an INTUITIVE experience in a daily training session that you can learn to have too. It is akin to that cool ole’ cowboy friend who always validates you. Today, he’s ridden out way ahead of you, waiting for you to catch up with him. You have to push a bit to do that. But when you spot him, you know you will continue that great conversation you had with him earlier, maybe even enjoy a cup a’ joe together. Everything comes into focus and you breathe a sense of relief in finding your friend. Accomplishment is just that simple! It all boils down to time spent.

That’s how you get a lot done. And before I tell you my BEST KEPT SECRET in the industry, I want to share with you a story that superbly illustrates the VALUE of what I’m about to share with you. (I’m telling you the competition is not going to like this). OK, sit back, and breathe deeply as you envision this moment with me:

Photography by Andrew Wilson

The silver mare leaped forward, snorting hard. Her eyes wide with surprise as she looked behind herself at the deer herd leaping out behind her as they crossed over the trail. Tense muscles surging with adrenaline gave her a powerful urge to run. The timid, high-strung mare, her entire being already heightened from unfamiliar surroundings, gathered her haunches under herself; strong and lithe, ready to bolt should any further disturbance emerge.

A slightly worn, blue lead line snapped to her halter, muted her forward momentum abruptly. Puzzled, the mare’s body quivered with one thought, “Escape.” For a moment her claustrophobia rose strong at the restraint and then gave way to quietness as her eyes processed the situation; her keen Andalusian mind resolving it.

“You’re going to be just fine, little lady,” a low, familiar voice spoke closely beside her. “Come on now, simmer down.” The young mare snorted once more, curling her head around to ensure the intruders in her white world had passed, and continued along through this winter’s wilderness.

Never had she been so exhilarated, and never had she been so far away from her familiar pastures that she had known all her life. Her race around them at home was always molded by their tall wooden rails and boards—and a safety that came from knowing every inch of them. It was her joy, but here, there were no fences, only leafless trees and colorless brush surrounding her. Her paradigm of youth, sheltered, could not have prepared her for this. The spooky way seemed endlessly pale as she gingerly made her way through the snow-white country. The only sound was the shshing of hooves as she, and the one she was next to, pushed forward with each step.

She lowered her head, and then settled back beside the shoulder of the wooly, bay gelding riding quietly beside her. He had been completely nonreactive through the entire ride; the sound of his saddle gently creaking every stride from leather cold and hard, and in a paradoxal moment, the mare felt comforted, giving way to a new demeanor that arose within her. As they traveled down the trail together, their quieted steps merged as one…

If you’ve ridden with fear, you are really going to relate to this.

Here’s my secret weapon. No, it isn’t apples and carrots, but those are good suggestions! Remember, I’m giving this information away here for free, so just know that if you’ve NEVER struggled with training issues, this article is probably not for you. You probably won’t need to keep reading. But for everyone else, I’m proud to share my secret with you that has taken me YEARS to discover (You are getting the value of all those years for free right now). My secret is my long time friend and comrade, my pony-horse partner, the unsung hero on my team: Black Willow David.  David is the product of two of the most wonderful Morgans I was ever privileged to have. He was bred by me and born at my farm 16 years ago. He isn’t necessarily so special to anybody else, but he is to me. Maybe that’s a little bit how you might describe YOUR horse. David, to describe him in just a few words, is a Morgan “dump truck” of sorts. Wide, geared low, and far from factory pristine, at 15 hands, he’s that familiar ole’ truck with 200,000+ miles that just keeps rollin’ down the road. We’ve all ridden in a truck like that—sound, solid and secure.

Jeff’s personal secret weapon is his Morgan gelding; Black Willow David aka “David”

Sound, solid, and secure describes the minds of my finished trainees too. One of the biggest reasons for their confidence is because of the way they have been started—because of David. I use David when I train them, which gives them, I believe, a horse mentor of sorts to follow along with—mimicking, emulating, finding comfort and security in—the lead horse instills in them that they are safe regardless what happens out there. As they learn confidence alongside the older, wiser, pony horse, they begin to trust and understand the human that is atop them (giving them strange signals) is there to guide them too through their new “riding” adventure. Yep, that’s how it works at Camp Kumbaya.

Horsemanship is simply the ability to “run with the fox, and bark with the hounds.” In this case, you are the master, yet not domineering, but working in cooperation and harmony with the horse to achieve mastery. Isn’t that amazing, and you can learn from my lifetime of experiences!

Well, that’s the very first point I want to make. I’m going to show you next month how the qualities of a Pony Horse can make or break your training experiences, and how you can empower your own horse world with experiences that will leave your friends drooling for your secret!

So catch up with me next month, and remember, ridin’ is kinda like drivin’. The rule is: chances are the tree was there first. Steer clear. (Ride smart.)

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I have been training horses for over 30 years and value the western horse lifestyle in my approach to training. Giving clinics and seminars on how to reach your full potential with your horse through the training foundation of Cowboy Dressage makes me happier than a full breeze from a corn-eatin’ horse.

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