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Horse Training: Who's Way Is The Right Way?
© 2004 Andy Curry
All Rights Reserved
The more I listen to others, read books on the subject, look at different articles, and watch and listen to tapes, the more I discover how different people claim their methods of horse training are the correct ones.
I often find one trainer will adamantly oppose a technique where another will adamantly swear by its effectiveness. Even more interesting, each has his or her own reasons why.
On one hand, I find it fascinating that trainers think their way is truly the correct way. On the other hand, I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I think other people are persuaded to believe those trainers who push their methods as "the only one".
Because I've discovered a percentage of the horse owner population think what they learned is all that's available. The problem with that is this: Not every horse will respond to the technique in the same way. Then, a different approach is needed. If the horse handler doesn't know another technique, he is now limited to knowing something that doesn't always work.
But why wouldn't a trainer believe his is correct? After all, if it works for him then it IS correct...for him.
Personally, I don't subscribe to any one trainer's ways completely. For example, if trainer "John Doe" taught his method and said "do it just like this" chances are I wouldn't. I have my own things that work and some them are similar to or the same as what John Doe does.
I'm a BIG advocate of learning all you can from everyone who has something good to show you. Never, never, never learn one person's techniques and be satisfied. If you do, you will miss out on some of the neatest techniques ever. You limit yourself and what you could REALLY do.
Although I push what I know, I'll be the first to admit I don't know it all and that you MUST learn all you can.
Even if you learn different ways, then you must proceed with caution because some of the things you learn will seem hard to grasp. Sometimes, they'll seem unreachable. At times, they'll seem ridiculous.
Let me cite a couple examples.
A while back, I ordered a video of a trainer from Germany. His name is Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling. The video is called "Coming Together".
Unfortunately, this video is more than a bit abstract. It doesn't teach a whole lot but what it does teach is a bit unusual.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not putting down the video. Actually, I kind of enjoyed it. Still, when it was over, I felt like I was left hanging.
This trainer uses his body to establish leadership, friendship, and trust. Briefly, he describes what he does but you don't really get how it all fits together.
Clearly, the horses he works with have a connection with him. But his style of training is quite unorthodox compared to much of what I've seen and read.
Could the average horse owner do what he does and do it effectively? I'd have to say "no" because his methods would require him to be right there with you for weeks (months?) training the trainer. Not only that, much of what Hempfling explained on tape seemed so abstract. It wasn't easy understanding all his principles.
The worse part is once you've watched this you may think to yourself you could never do what he does so why try to be a horse trainer. That's one of the things that worry me about aspiring horse owners and trainers.
They see someone getting results with horses using seemingly "not from this world" techniques. Then they silently say to themselves, "What's the use...I could never do that."
Luckily, there are powerful alternatives. I'll explain in a minute or two.
Another I've studied is a man named Henry Blake. Blake is from Ireland (I think) and grew up with horses all his life. He claims to have a gift with horses that transcend human understanding. After reading his book, I am inclined to agree with him.
Blake even created a dictionary to help us humans understand what the horse is trying to communicate to us. It's fascinating.
One part in Blake's book talks about ESP with his horses. Blake contends he can get his horses moving, stopping, and turning with just his thoughts. He doesn't claim to do this with any horse, only particular ones. Especially if they are Thoroughbreds.
When I read Blake's take on the ESP thing I tended to discount it. Then again, I have had the ESP experience with my Paint horse. She and I are particularly close and there is a connection between her and I that transcends words. I don't claim to steer her left and right or stop her with my thoughts but there have been times where she's done something I wanted her do and I swear I didn't say or do a thing. Gives me chills when I think about it.
Anyway, Blake's book is fascinating reading. I'd suggest anyone read it who is into horses. One part that really grabbed my heart strings was when his horse ran to greet him after not seeing him for months. That story, to me, is the ultimate in having a horse as a friend.
So far, it still isn't clear who we should listen to. Should we follow Hempfling's horse training methods? Should we follow Blake's? Who should we listen to?
My suggestion is learn all you can from everyone you can. Use what works for you. Be careful to make judgments about a horse trainer's methods before understanding "why" he does what he does.
For instance, I am a big fan of Jesse Beery who was a famous horse trainer from the 1800's. His methods are so easy and straight forward you'd think they're too easy.
Beery pushes control and obedience and uses techniques to nurture it - some people don't agree with his methods. My response to that is "learn all you can...use what you want".
But for my money, Beery's methods are unbeatable. They are easy to do. They train a horse so well that safety is the biggest benefit - for what good is it to have and ride a horse if you get seriously hurt?
You can learn more about Beery by listening in on Andy Curry's free teleseminars. To find out when the next one is, go to this web address:
How does one get a horse so safe with Beery's methods? Simple. Beery shows how to get control and obedience from your horse. Without control and obedience, you won't have a horse you can trust. If you can't trust your horse, your horse will know it. You then put yourself in danger and risk getting hurt - even to the point of ending up crippled.
But with Beery's methods, you practically eliminate all risks. You transform your horse into a tractable, manageable, valuable horse that's the envy of anyone who rides him. Not only that, Beery shows how to eliminate numerous bad habits.
His methods are straight forward, easy to do, and best of all...they are NOT abstract. You won't be saying to yourself, "I don't get it."
In fact, Beery's methods are so well thought out, tested, and proven that you can train a horse to "Whoa" under any condition, and under any excitement.
What's so special about that? "Whoa" is the most important command a horse must know. Especially, if you are a horse owner aged 30 to 60 because we tend to "hurt" and "break" a lot easier and faster than when we were younger.
If you can't control your horse to stop while fence posts are whizzing past you when you're riding a out of control horse, you risk severe injury, danger, and perhaps...death. Having a horse that will stop under any condition despite any excitement is, in my book, training that everyone's horse should have - period!
About the Author
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author
of several best selling horse training and horse care books.
For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com.
He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training
methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.htm
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