Well that started on a positive note didn't it, with an immediate attack on James Roberts as inexperienced and reckless. In fact he was anything but inexperienced and reckless.
He was experienced enough that he was invited to take part in public colt starting demos in the USA.
He introduced me into the idea of a thorough "prepare to ride" session prior to getting on a horse, even a well trained one. Not exactly reckless.
I guess we will never get over this attack on each others ideas which is a great shame as it could be a very progressive forum.
Maybe a better response would have been "that's an interesting idea, do you have a video of it to share ?"
Ah well, I tried :(
I think if you re-read my post I said that James was a very capable young man but if he hadn'r jumped on the PP bandwagon he would be in exactly the same position as all the other very capable young horse people in the UK - just making a living. he was smart - he saw a chance and grabbed it
I know nothing about the US style of 'colt breaking' so cant comment on that at all - I dont know if it runs in the same way as traditional UK breaking methods or not
Removing a headcollar from a first time backed horse is extremely reckless. Its not just endangering the rider but remember this - a horse will always retain bad experiences more than good ones because thats part of the learning curve of self preservation instinct - same with humans too but horses lack the ability to reason things logically. For eg - If a bombproof horse in traffic has an accident it will forget all the safe times and really struggle to accept that traffic isn't dangerous and often never be safe on the roads again.
UK style - By the time a horse is backed it should be comfortable with moving forwards at all paces on the lunge with no force -tacked up with enough restriction on the reins to its bit or to a headcollar that it would feel if a rider were holding them. The first time I get on I just have someone leg me up and I lie across the horses back. I will do this enough times, wrigging around, patting the horse firmly as I lie there so its used to movement. I then have someone capable lead the horse a few steps forward so it gets the idea of moving with a weight on its back.
Next step - I have someone leg me up onto the horse - no feet in the stirrups at this stage but I take up light contact on the reins and if the horse is happy they lead the horse forwards. This is repeated until the horse is relaxed - usually in the first session if all the previous stages were done properly. I will then ride the horse on the lunge a few times and if all goes well its then ridden off the lunge and the gradual schooling process begins
Done correctly from day 1 with an average horse this might only take a week - less in a horse thats been well handled from birth
You get it wrong at this stage and the horse can be mentally scarred for life and if its your job then you cant afford to risk getting hurt and losing business while you recover
The horses that I've had that refused to move forwards the first time were the ones that struggled to accept having a rider on them but maintained self control by standing still - pressure to force them to move almost always results in an explosion - it had nothing to do with having a headcollar on if the previous stages had been done correctly, they just need more time to accept the weight and feel.
Not knowing things like that is a sign of inexperience