I have had two people teach me a lot about horses, different things from each. The biggest influence was my housemaster from boarding school. He was from Scotland, like my dad, and we got on pretty good because of that, I guess, but he was well into horses and used to go to the US to learn from Parelli directly. He also went and learned how to build saddles and did that on the side to his house master job. He would come out to my uncle’s cattle station and work horses and cattle with us from the time I was about 12 and I learned a hell of a lot from him then. Once I left school and went off ringing on cattle stations across northern Australia I kept learning from him, though mostly from up to and including 4, 5 and 6 hour long phone calls. He also taught me most of what I know about Saddlery and tack making. Next would b my uncle. Brilliant cattleman and hell of a good horse breeder, I didn’t learn a lot of technique from him (with horses, everything I know about handling cattle that’s worth knowing I got from him though), but I did learn patience and how to give a horse space and not be on their back all the time (figuratively speaking) nagging them and pushing them all the time. That was one of the hardest and best lessons I ever learned. I also learned, and still learn, a lot of the tricks for dealing with the tough nuts to crack that a lot of natural-horse people would probably frown on.
My Aunt was my most influential horse person. She would put me up on horses when I was to little to get there myself. She barrel raced and ran a 17 sec run before that was ever heard of in our area. She taught me to stick with stuff even when it was getting really rough. She was very supportive and my hero. She was killed when their car was hit by a drunk driver.
I have read, watched and learned from my BO, clinton anderson, parelli, buck brannaman, monty roberts and others. Alot of the time I learn as as many things I don't like about their training methods as things I do. I pick out what works for me in my head, try it on an actuall horse, and then decide if its a method that works for me, that the horse understands.
So many horses have taught me important lessons.
My first horse was also the first horse I started under saddle. She was patient and kind, and taught me that each lesson must be taught thoroughly before moving on.
Blue belle taught me that even if the horse was sweet and well mannered, unexpected things happen on green horses.
Koko taught me that for some horses, unpredictableness cannot be trained out, but if you persevere long enough, you will win the battle(6 months before he truly understood standing to be mounted)
Sunny taught me to be careful around even well manered studs.
The bay mare that broke my arm taught me that some horses are genuinely mean.
The aligator headed black mare showed me that some horses are devious, genuinely want to hurt you, and cannot really ever be completely fixed.
Romeo taught me to pay closer attention to body language, to pay attention to how intense I was, to reward the small things, to never rush.
Pickles has taught me what "born broke" really means, and that there really are completely honest horses.
There are so many others. We can read about the results of great trainers for our whole lives, but its the horses that are our real teachers.
There have been many who influenced my long career with horses.
First there was the woman who jointly owned the riding school where I started. One of the few people that I would call a true Christian in that she would always look for the good and work on that whether it was a horse or a person.
Her business partner who taught me the tougher side of owning animals. His daughter who was a good instructor - tough but very good. I owe her a lot in that she gave me the chance to ride all the naughty animals that came in for re schooling. Also because I was the one who rode the naughty ones and without a horse of my own, she allowed me to compete for the Pony Club teams on her own competition horse.
A family friend, Geordie, who was a true Horse Whisperer.
Many other instructors who were tough but fair. I loved to discuss reasons with them and they were all good enough to answer and argue with!
I have never stopped learning, hope I never will and most of all, I hope that people I have taught and helped will say that I influenced them in a good way.
The first person who influenced my horse life the absolute most was, who I will call, J. He let me begin to ride when I was late 13 almost 14 years old for the first time (I had never ridden before) Although he was self taught, and now I know he isn't the best rider, he taught me what truly matters: To HAVE FUN and to keep your heels down! I gained so much confidence on that little 14.2 arabian mare, and I still ride her sometimes. She is a total babysitter, 24 years old, and never tries to mess up or get out of work. She's easy to s low, easy to get going.. just perfect! (I am going to start riding her soon again to build up my confidence and have fun!)
I've had many trainers throughout my 10 month english career (Already 3, I stayed at the same barn too!) They all helped my riding, but the first, "H", was the best. She was stern but not mean and helped me understand why I was doing what I was being told to do, and she taught me to never give up on our dreams. She herself is an olympic hopeful, and her riding passion really showed through.
My sister, Jessica. I have three siblings, she was the only one who was ever there. My oldest sister never came up to Montana with us, and my brother moved out 5 years ago. My sister has been at college for two years, but she is still the one I look up to for everything. When she was here, I used to tell her things every day of what had happened. Now that I have a phone, I can still do that. Now I still have three more years of high school left at home, but my friends and my horses help keep me going through it.
My dad, he wasnt crazy expeirenced at the beginning of it all, but he bought me my first horse, he sat through all my lessons, came to every single show and dusted me off after every fall. I really hope once I graduate I can buy him a nice horse, because he deserves it.
There were a couple small named trainers I worked with, its amazing what can happen if someone truly believes in your ability :)
The horse person who influenced me the most was Capt. Heyer. He was a Dutch dressage master who came to America to escape the Nazis. He was internationally known before he came here (the trophy awarded in the world cup dressage is called the Heyer Cup), but there was very little competitive dressage in the USA at that time. As a result, he and his dressage horses performed with the Ringling Bros circus.
When I was six, and living in Sarasota Florida, I took riding lessons from him. He was VERY European....but had the most magical way of crawling into a horse's mind and totally understand them. He passed so much of that to me.
He also tolerated NO temper when riding a horse. Once, I was trying to get one of his huge horses to piaffe. I was too small to have enough leg and I just couldn't manage it. I got frustrated (as only a little kid could get away with....right?) and I smacked the horse with the dressage whip. BAD idea. He grabbed my leg, pulled me off the horse, left me laying in the sand as he walked the horse back to the stall. I had to apologize to the horse (symbolic, I know) before he would even consider letting me ride him again. I sure learned anger control and discipline from this man,
This is a horrible photo of him. It was at a charity ball and the horse was on a slick floor. As a result, he looked tense.
He taught more so much more than just horsemanship. He gave me life lessons.
My father, Wyman E. Bennett. A horseman who, 30+ years after his death, is still remembered by the Saddlebred people, and who now would be 106 years old.
He grew up riding horses, had a Plantation Walking Horse show barn, when that is what TWH were called, went and worked on King Ranch, the whys and hows of that I've never known, and wish I would have asked, and then went into training Saddlebreds. After a bad fall, where horse came down on both legs, breaking them, and he was told he would never walk again, he would sit in hot tub of water pressing down on his legs to straighten them so he could screaming from the pain. He walked, and with no limp.
He bought and started WC Mimi Genius, who was brought out under Sug Utz in the early 50's, and a few others too along that time period. He went into railroading, working up from fireman to become an Engineer, which back then? Was like an airplane pilot.
Welch Greenwell said that my dad was the best horseman he ever knew, and was including himself too.
Dale Pugh, who was one of the best Saddlebred trainers alive. Knew horses, and was something to be around.