Being compared to "popular" trainers... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-24-2012, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Being compared to "popular" trainers...

This is sort of a rant... kudos if you read it all.

So I've devoted much of the past seven years to learning about horses and their behavior. I have seen snippets of Monty, Pat, Clint, etc but have never followed or really "looked into" a certain trainer or used their methods as the foundation for what I do. In the snippets I've seen, much of what they do is pretty self-explanatory and doesn't really give me a "wow" factor because I already understand what they're trying to do. From a horse-savvy person's standpoint, it's pretty common sense. It mostly boils down to patience, gaining trust/respect, being the leader, timing, body language, and understanding of the horse's natural instincts. I've learned all that from my experiences with actual horses - not from sitting at home watching these trainers on TV.

Right now I'm keeping my horses with friends that are fairly new to the horse world. They're great people, but can be a bit misconstrued when it comes to horses and how they learn, behave, etc. That's to be expected, but they really challenge my teaching abilities sometimes... lol. I tell my friends "be assertive, not aggressive", don't get frustrated, don't be forceful. They will watch me work with my horses, who are very green, and when they watch me getting after a horse for plowing into me or being disrespectful (which the horses do in ways my friends can't really identify yet, if that makes sense), they get confused. "Get after" is just me using a lot of enthusiastic body language and making noise with the whip (hitting the ground, hitting my boot, etc) on most occasions. I'm just being assertive, being a "strict parent", and making the horse follow through with something. But I can see why beginners might interpret it as aggression. I try my best to explain everything I'm doing but another thing I emphasize is the importance of focusing on your horse when you're working with them, so looking away from my horse to explain what's going on is, in most situations, counterproductive.

Like I said before, I tell them things I've learned through experience. So, things like "never" and "always" don't apply in horses. Timing is important. Be assertive not aggressive. Gain leadership. Gain respect. Gain trust. Keep them out of your space. Get their attention on you. Expose them to things (don't babysit them). These are just a few examples of things I've told them in some shape or form.

Okay... I encourage them to watch lots of trainers, have others come out to the farm, and research as much as they can because nobody knows everything and even I'M still learning.

So, they found Parelli.

Now, in Parelli's videos, he doesn't really show the nitty-gritty that you have to get down to when a disrespectful or dangerous horse comes your way. So I hear a lot of "Well, in this Parelli stuff we've been watching..." and they'll tell me how they like how calm Pat is, how he doesn't use force, how he does this and that blah blah blah. So I took the initiative to go through some of his videos and I found that he is saying a lot of the exact same things as me - which makes me wonder if my friends think I am just regurgitating his teachings and don't know as much as they thought I did.

I think they really like him because they are lovey-touchy-feely people that give lots of treats and think their horses love or hate them. From what I've watched, Pat gives that vibe off.

I've told my friends numerous times if they want to learn about horse behavior, pull up a chair and watch them out in the field. And I mean really WATCH. That's what I've been doing for so many years and that's how I've learned what I'm doing - by paying attention to the horse's actions and reactions. I'm still young and have lots to learn yet.

I'm not a teacher. I'm not a trainer. I'm helping friends out and working with my own horses. They are more than welcome to watch me but I am afraid to do anything that might be misinterpreted by them and might make me look like a doofus. Does that make sense?

Okay, off the soapbox now.

Does this ever happen to you?

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post #2 of 6 Old 10-24-2012, 03:25 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Well... I'm surprised there hasn't been a fight over this one yet. LOL!
I'm not into the whole natural horsemanship, whisper into their ear speel. Horses don't love you, they don't hate you. They aren't children. I'm not a horse whisperer, they hear me loud and clear, especially when they are being asses. LOL
I've worked with a lot of different trainers, from ones that train just for one to the trainers that have showed Western Pleasure and Reining horses to the National level, and I've taken a little bit from person that I've worked with.
I don't train like any one person, and I don't think anyone does. We take different ideas and theories and try them for ourselves (or I do, anyway) and if it works for me or the horse, great, if not, I don't use it. There isn't really a right or wrong to it.

I have had some very difficult owners that I've had to deal with - I want my horse trained THIS way, and I need and I want, etc - and most of the time they need just as much training as the horse. I always listen to what they say but I don't make my training program go around their needs or wants - I fit that around their horse.

Horse training can be a hit and miss sometimes. You might try a method on one horse and it works like a charm. You might try it on the next horse and he'll leave you looking like a "doofus", to use your term. So you figure out a different way to teach him the same thing.
I've learned a lot by watching trainers get it right, but I've also learned a whole lot by making mistakes.

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post #3 of 6 Old 10-24-2012, 03:26 PM
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I understand wanting to teach them what your doing with your horses, but they sound like the type that wont listen and learn because they dont have an open mind. If I were you, I wouldnt explain what you're doing and why unless asked. You're free to train your horses however you want. I wouldnt change your training program because some one thinks horses learn through hugs and kisses. If what you do works for you and your horses, dont worry about what they think. It isn't going to be them dealing/riding your horses 10-15 years from now.

This is what happens when you have democrats in office
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-24-2012, 04:00 PM
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oh god THEM. I hate that contingent of the horse world. They are SERIOUSLY irritating! One of the owners at work is like that [except it's her horse so I kind of have to look like I'm all butterfly farts and rainbows when she's around] - my boss said to basically show her the face she wants to see, then behind the scenes be really firm with the horse to protect myself. He is 17.2 and pushy... WAY TOO BIG to be disrespectful!

I have a big horse. She has massive panic attacks now and then, and during those panic attacks, she has a tendency to rear. She is dangerous when pushed too far, and I want a trainer for her who will deal with her with the tact she needs. Every horse requires tact - some more than others - but every horse needs it to be applied in a different manner. Some horses, "tact" is knowing when to beat the crud out of them. Yep there ARE horses out there that do NEED that kind of handling once in a while, I used to have one like that [dirty kicker... got me square in the chest once and Mum got after him while I was on the ground unable to breathe - I think he actually genuinely thought he was going to die, she was that aggressive with him - and guess what, he never tried it again]. Other horses, like my Magic, "tact" is knowing when to back off and when to keep pushing, and push harder.

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post #5 of 6 Old 10-24-2012, 05:15 PM
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When I get compared to someone else because they think I'm doing something similar, I chalk it up to the human need to catagorize things.

When somebody tells me that famous clinician "A" or "B" does this or that, I often ask them why they think the trainer might be doing that. Encourages their own reasoning skills and opens up discussion. Usually we both learn things.

If I'm told that I should do something just like they think they understand a trainer to do it. I give a vague, "Oh, yeah? I'll be darned."

If they are paying me and start coming up with that stuff, I give them an explanation and if they don't like it, I tell them I am unable to meet their needs and they need to find a different "______________." Whatever I was doing for them. I don't go back.
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-24-2012, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Well the person they had teaching them before me was a snotty middle-aged woman who was extremely particular and said "it HAS to be done this way" and didn't want me around helping. She was much more different than I am because she came from a different background - plus she was just not a nice lady. I emphasize to them constantly they have to stay open-minded and soak in as much as they can from as many different people as they can. I don't care if they have trainers out when I'm there. If they ask me, I will gladly help. But they have to understand horses are not big puppy dogs. They are claustrophobic, sensitive, flighty, dangerous, unpredictable animals that have to be understood before they can be expected to learn anything.

Funnily enough I got to vent about this very thing to a guy and his wife who do eventing. I went to their farm and met one of their horses who was actually picked to be Shadowfax in Lord of the Rings (Nick is from New Zealand) but apparently the actor (Ian whatshisface) couldn't stay on him so he got fired, lol. I thought that was cool. They've got lots of other horses too but obviously the big "white" horse is a cool history got me most interested :P

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