Ok, so I've mentioned before that I am looking for a trainer for my Bashkir Curly, Flyer. I found someone relatively close and we've emailed back and forth a few times, he's given me references, etc and sounds really nice. Below is how he says he trains his horses:
"We use all gentle natural horsemanship methods, desensitizing, jefferies method, saddling, picking up all four feet, getting your horse soft and supple, getting your horse to move its feet forwards, backwards, left and right, sending exercises, respect exercises,round pen exercises, then we start your horse in a round pen under saddle and then to the arena and by the end of the 30 days we should have some outside rides on your horse and load in trailer."
Sounds relatively safe, right?
So I've never heard of the "jefferies method" of training horses so I googled it and THIS is what I came up with: The Jeffery Method of Horse Training: To break in a horse for riding This is an old Australian technique that makes use of several behavioural principles, including the understanding of horse behaviour, the reinforcement for desired behaviour and the use of flight-distance principles. Significantly it is a technique that incorporates the advance and retreat method often attributed to the current wave of horse whisperers. Clearly, because the Jeffery Method employs considerable aversive stimuli in the form of a stricture around the neck and ‘bucking out’ (see below), it should not be used by novices and demands that the horse is never left unsupervised. It is important that the trainee horse is taught one item at a time so the procedure follows:
1. Teaching the horse to stand still using a rope (about 7 m) that is a free-running or slip noose around the horse’s wind-pipe right under his jaw. Once this is on, the trainer can begin to control the .horse with the Jeffery Lunge. The handler is at right angles to the horse’s front legs and makes the lunge forward of that point. This pulls the horse off balance and the rope noose pulls tight for a second and is immediately released. The horse is lunged alternately right and left, and the Jeffery Lunge teaches a horse that relief of pressure on its wind-pipe and neck occurs when it turns and faces the handler. So am I reading this right?? They are actually choking the horse??? I'm kinda freaked out now that I could have sent my horse to someone who seems really nice yet uses THAT as a form of training! Someone help me out here, this Jefferies is suppose to be a well known "horse whisperer" is this a common practice with "natural horsemanship"? I know I've probably opened a can of worms since nobody agrees on training methods but I'm a little peeved that I could have been paying someone alot of money to choke my horse . I've trained horses from the ground up before and choking was never part of the training.....
2. The second step is to approach the horse and gain his confidence. As the handler approaches the flight distance of the horse, the horse begins to feel pressured and may start to rear. As soon as this happens, the handler should retreat and take the pressure off the horse. By the gradual process of advance and retreat, and talking gently to the horse, it will finally allow the handler to come close.
3. The next stage is to climb on the horse’s back, and again the advance and retreat method is used. By hooking the elbow firmly over the horse’s wither, body weight is applied. This prepares the horse for mounting. Firm rope discipline must be applied if the horse moves away.
4. The horse is then acquainted with the saddle, and if the handler is mounted on a quiet coacher horse, this will reduce any nervousness.
5. The horse can then be bridled so he can become used to the bit.
6. Saddling the horse follows and he is left in a pen by himself and encouraged to move by throwing a clod of earth into the pen. He can ‘buck out’ under the saddle, but must realise that the saddle is there to stay. Once this is accomplished the horse rarely bucks with a rider.
7. The trainee horse is then ridden, still using the lunge rope around the horse’s neck for control.
8. The next step is to use a running rein to mouth the horse and teach him to back. A neck rope (about 5 m) is kept on the horse throughout this training, so that the handler can restrain the horse at all times. This eliminates the flight instinct that would occur without the rope, and relaxes the horse.
9. Riding with reins follows and within several days the horse can be ridden in the paddock.
Throughout the whole process, horse and man are developing a bond built on confidence and not fear. Probably one of the most useful things about this method is that it is easily taught and easily learnt.