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Old style/New methods

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  • Horses have been trained and used by man for thousands of years.
  • Old methods for rearing horses

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    04-09-2012, 09:18 PM
  #21
Banned
Cavalry horses were trained en mass - hardbroke, but not even greenbroke by our standards. As a result, the horses were unruly, unpredicatable, and were why the Indians ran circles around us.

That and movies is where we get the "cowboy broke" mentality. In reality, horses were only broke that way for a very short period of time - but it has been dramatized in the movies, so when we think of breaking horses we think of bucking broncos, but that period of time covered maybe 50 years at most - we have had horses for thousands of years.

The commercial trainers of today have taken advantage of our warped vision of what horse training used to be in the "old days". They have generated the foolish term "natural horsemanship", which is the way horses have been trained for thousands of years other than the 50 year "cowboy" period. In addition, they have warped the whole "natural horsemanship" to encompass what I term "quick fix" training - gimmicks and shortcuts that produce results, but do not modify and condition the horse's behavior. As a result, they are temporary fixes...without modifying natural behaviors you cannot expect those behaviors to not surface in the future.

Natural horsemanship is really nothing more than being able to truly (as in truly) reading your horse's behavior, having a deep understanding of horse behavior, and develop techniques to modify the behavior. Quick fixes are not permanent, discipline is not permanent, and whispering in its ear accomplishes nothing other than getting horse hair in your nose.

Years ago, people had far more horse sense than today. Because horses were used daily for transportation, agriculture, and other work, people were much more familiar with horses. They knew more about conformation - certainly would never assess conformation without putting their hands on a horse, they knew more about horse instincts and behaviors, and they knew more how to modify those behaviors.

Today, horses are, for the most part, part time hobbies. People are specialized - you have riders, trainers, vets, chiros, and so on and so on. The need to really be an equine expert just isn't there any more. While that is in some ways good, it means that the vast majority of people today just don't have very good horse sense. Oh, they can spout "give to pressure", and they know what it means when a horse swishes its tail or lays its ears back, but very few people really know any more than the very basic horse instincts, why they behave as they do, and how to modify those behaviors. You have to know the underlying reason for a behavior and be able to modify the reason for the behavior - not what is done today which is to only modify the behavior itself. Without modifying or resolving the underlying reason for the behavior you are doing nothing more than giving an aspirin for a headache...you are not resolving what caused the headache to begin with, and as a result the headache will return at some point in the future.

I'm not being critical of anything or anybody. I am just answering the question posed by the OP as to "old time" horse training. What most people think of as old time training is actually not true. Again, our perception is of the cowboy days, but that was so short a period of time it is actually inconsequential...it has just been glamorized.

Probably too much elaboration...
     
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    04-09-2012, 10:27 PM
  #22
Trained
LOL, no definitely not too much elaboration. Thanks!

When some one says the "old days" I think of cowboys automatically. So I think of "cowboy broke" naturally. My dad tells me stories of back in the day watching his uncles break horses..rope, choke, snub. But these were not horses raised in the barn lot. They ran their horses loose on the desert and weren't touched by a human until they were brought in. Not sure if that really makes a difference, I don't know how much farmers or others handled their foals or if they did at all. I just assumed that was how everyone did it. Perhaps that was just common for the area that my family is from, obviously, every horse corral had a snub post! LOL
     
    04-09-2012, 10:34 PM
  #23
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallee    
Well as anyone knows these days "natural" horsemanship is all the rage and is seen on every tv show about horses and all these people with their different "methods". Well I have followed some of these practices and found them to work and some not as well as seen on tv. Now I have been starting colts for about 7 years now and I have had my own methods and I guess they would be considered the natural way. I want to know what way did the old timers do it?? No one ever talks about that? Like back in the day when your horse was your car... Who and how did they do it? Lets discuss the old methods of horse training I think it would make a interesting thread and maybe we could learn a few things from each other!
Well I just watched the documentary "Buck" this weekend based Buck Brannaman. I loved it! He truly follows the "old style" method of Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance. It is so on my wish list to get to one of Buck's clinics someday. I don't care how far I have to drive or how much it costs. He just makes such great horse sense.

I also just bought a 5-hour DVD on Ray Hunt starting some colts from scratch. All unedited film, with him talking through it the whole way. Being it's 5-hours, I haven't had the time to sit down and watch it. I watched the first 20 minutes or so and it looks fabulous.

These guys just really believe in watching the learning from the horse, without trying to sell their name or fancy "special" equipment. They're doing it for the horse.

I've got 2 young colts growing up to train eventually, and people like Buck, Ray, and Tom are who inspire me to do it right.

Although I do feel useful information can be obtained from all the "famous" trainers on TV right now, I do feel that too much emphasis is placed on buying their special $40 rope halter or that you have to buy their lunging whip, or yada yada. I understand they've gotta make money to pay the bills, but I get rather annoyed by it.
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    04-09-2012, 11:16 PM
  #24
Foal
I have made a living starting colts for 35 years. I only put enough groundwork on them to make them understand how to move away from pressure. I just ask with my finger in the shoulder and the hind end. I don't do all this twirling the lead around and all that. I just use 1 finger. When they move away, they get lots of praise and I move on. I keep them on a lunge so I can teach them whoa and be sure that they do that as soon as I ask with no exceptions. I saddle them and let them make a few rounds on the lunge. I hope they buck, because they will eventually and I would rather they get it over with before I get on. I pull them up. Bend their head around from bit pressure both directions only until they find the release, then I get on. That generally takes one or two days sessions. Normally on by the second day for sure. I let them go forward freely when I get on and stay relaxed. I use a lot of praise for the slightest try. My colts respond well to this method and are happy and ready to go for a ride. The owners want them broke and riding good in 30 days, so the sooner I can get on and riding the better. I can take a colt from halterbroke only to showing and winning in a snaffle bit futurity in 30 days with this method.
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    04-10-2012, 12:07 AM
  #25
Weanling
I am someone who uses more the old style, being taught guys who used the old style. With that said, we don't beat the horse into doing anything. They get some groundwork, all depends on the horse. Once we ride then about 5 times, and they turn and don't have much buck left, off to the easy trails they go. After that, they are pretty well green broke and can go on to be finished in whatever events needed. This has worked for us, but also the horses are harshed forced, we given then no choice but to do as ask, but with give-in-take. Now some horses to have problems with these methods, but we changed them for that horse.
     
    04-10-2012, 12:18 AM
  #26
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faceman    
Cavalry horses were trained en mass - hardbroke, but not even greenbroke by our standards. As a result, the horses were unruly, unpredicatable, and were why the Indians ran circles around us.

That and movies is where we get the "cowboy broke" mentality. In reality, horses were only broke that way for a very short period of time - but it has been dramatized in the movies, so when we think of breaking horses we think of bucking broncos, but that period of time covered maybe 50 years at most - we have had horses for thousands of years.

The commercial trainers of today have taken advantage of our warped vision of what horse training used to be in the "old days". They have generated the foolish term "natural horsemanship", which is the way horses have been trained for thousands of years other than the 50 year "cowboy" period. In addition, they have warped the whole "natural horsemanship" to encompass what I term "quick fix" training - gimmicks and shortcuts that produce results, but do not modify and condition the horse's behavior. As a result, they are temporary fixes...without modifying natural behaviors you cannot expect those behaviors to not surface in the future.

Natural horsemanship is really nothing more than being able to truly (as in truly) reading your horse's behavior, having a deep understanding of horse behavior, and develop techniques to modify the behavior. Quick fixes are not permanent, discipline is not permanent, and whispering in its ear accomplishes nothing other than getting horse hair in your nose.

Years ago, people had far more horse sense than today. Because horses were used daily for transportation, agriculture, and other work, people were much more familiar with horses. They knew more about conformation - certainly would never assess conformation without putting their hands on a horse, they knew more about horse instincts and behaviors, and they knew more how to modify those behaviors.

Today, horses are, for the most part, part time hobbies. People are specialized - you have riders, trainers, vets, chiros, and so on and so on. The need to really be an equine expert just isn't there any more. While that is in some ways good, it means that the vast majority of people today just don't have very good horse sense. Oh, they can spout "give to pressure", and they know what it means when a horse swishes its tail or lays its ears back, but very few people really know any more than the very basic horse instincts, why they behave as they do, and how to modify those behaviors. You have to know the underlying reason for a behavior and be able to modify the reason for the behavior - not what is done today which is to only modify the behavior itself. Without modifying or resolving the underlying reason for the behavior you are doing nothing more than giving an aspirin for a headache...you are not resolving what caused the headache to begin with, and as a result the headache will return at some point in the future.

I'm not being critical of anything or anybody. I am just answering the question posed by the OP as to "old time" horse training. What most people think of as old time training is actually not true. Again, our perception is of the cowboy days, but that was so short a period of time it is actually inconsequential...it has just been glamorized.

Probably too much elaboration...
Very well explained!!!

Here's my take on it.....
Movie makers love to show old clips of horses rearing and men with whips. They like us to think all old cowboys had crude methods. I believe nothing is farther from the truth. I believe there have always been good hands. It's just human nature to become more understanding and learn to communicate better with horses as you gain experience. If something's easier on the horse, it's usually easier on the human too. I'm certain that 50 years ago there were savvy cowboys with good hands and a desire to make things easier for horses and cows. Maybe nobody got a video of it because it wasn't exciting. If you watch movies and TV, you'd think that Buck and Pat Parelli were the first people to be nice to horses.
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    04-10-2012, 12:32 AM
  #27
Showing
My Dad spent a lot of his younger years riding some raunchy old broncs and "cowboy breaking" them. He worked for a guy up in Kansas for a few years (started working there when he was about 15) and this guy would go to any old auction and pick up 50-100 head of cull horses. Horses that were completely unruly; 8-10 year old untouched broodmares, unhandled stallions, rotten horses, buckers, etc. He would bring them back to his ranch and it was my Dad's job to get them as broke as possible as quick as possible.

Of course, this was when he was still very young and didn't know much about training but could **** sure ride just about anything they threw at him...so that's what he did. Because Wayne (the boss) didn't ride, they would run them up in a chute, tack them up, Dad would get on, and then they'd turn them out in a moderately large arena. It was like saddle bronc riding but there was no 8 second buzzer. Most of them ended up broke, some of them didn't.

As he got a bit older and met some of the real horsemen (none of the big name clinicians, but some of the working horsemen like Billy Allen and Sid Mayles -sp?-), he began to learn that there was a better way. He figured out just the right balance between work on the ground and work in the saddle, but he wasn't afraid to get down and dirty if the situation called for it.

For a great many years, his best training partner was a 16hh, 1500 pound, arrogant ******* of a QH. You could snub anything up to old Buck and he'd hold it just calm as you please and didn't get even a bit concerned if they bucked or set back or reared or pitched any other kind of fit. When you told him it was time to go, then by God, he went and whatever happened to be roped to him had no choice but to come along too.

He was able to do a lot of things and ride a lot of horses that other people couldn't because he could and would ride out just about any kind of shenanigans so he would often be riding a horse that other folks would have taken more time with on the ground.

He's taught me most of what I know, but like anything else, I had to adapt it to my own abilities and style. I do take more time on the ground than he ever did because I know I can't ride a horse that will truly take off and buck, but I still use a combination of the "cowboy" and the "natural" methods.

My philosophy: "Be as gentle as possible but as firm as necessary and give the horse a job. He'll learn a hell of a lot more when you actually expect him to accomplish something".
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    04-10-2012, 12:49 AM
  #28
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs    
My Dad spent a lot of his younger years riding some raunchy old broncs and "cowboy breaking" them. He worked for a guy up in Kansas for a few years (started working there when he was about 15) and this guy would go to any old auction and pick up 50-100 head of cull horses. Horses that were completely unruly; 8-10 year old untouched broodmares, unhandled stallions, rotten horses, buckers, etc. He would bring them back to his ranch and it was my Dad's job to get them as broke as possible as quick as possible.
Some would say he rushed those horses....... I say he probably rescued hundreds of horses and made good usable animals out of them
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    04-10-2012, 12:53 AM
  #29
Green Broke
My husband was a rough string rider. That didn't have anything to do with his eventual and early death, it was just what he did because he was good at it. It paid an extra few hundred a month.

He wasn't mean or impatient. He just took the horses that would have strongly preferred to stay out on pasture. Didn't do much with them in a pen. But got on and rode. If and when they bucked, he encouraged them to get their heads up and move somewhere.

I don't know how many times I saw him leave on something zigging and zagging, or bucking away from the barn only to return that afternoon or evening on the same, but now very relaxed horse, saying, "He's a pretty good guy." They might go through that a couple more rides or for a couple more months, just depended on the horse.
     
    04-10-2012, 01:25 AM
  #30
Foal
Wanted to add that I think the clinicians that show folks how to do what they call natural horsemanship are great for folks that don't start colts professionally. Though I don't know why those folks don't just send them to a professional to let them start the colt, but I think those clinicians are really training the people more then the horses. It is better to gain confidance on the ground with your horse if you don't start colts on a regular basis. I have likely swung my leg over 1000's of colts in my 35 years of starting them. I am nearly 50 yrs old now and there are times I will have that colt out on the lunge with that saddle on for the first time and watch him buck and bellow like a bull, and I'll be thinking this might be a train wreck when I get on, but I garentee that as soon as my foot hits that stirrup and I swing up, all negative thoughts instantly leave my mind and have no fear at all. I don't know if it is the same with everyone that does this professionally, but it is amazing how my mental state changes when I swing on. It is what makes it so addicting to me. Wonder if anyone else feels that too? It is almost a " bring it" attitude.
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