Another American Natural Horseman, 1800's
Prof. Jesse Berry (late 1800-early 1900)
The Professor Berry Institute of Horsemanship
I thought this may fun to bring into light within the NH forum. I happened to come across this trainer briefly by word a long time ago, then it came up again in a TV program a while back. It was an interesting article, so I went ahead and did a little research. Amazingly enough, yes you can still buy his books. I even found that you can get his "colt starter" book for free as an intorductory program. So, in my curious nature, I went ahead and sent out for the other series, not only because I wanted to learn a little more about perspectives from that far back, but to see what as remained applicable through today in the NH world. I will say, this is some great examples of NH. He does go off a bit later on with some of his more "mechanical" means in his "product" line, but the basics are still pretty much the same.
Going through what I found, it was interesting that there are a lot of the same approaches used by many of todays popularized NH trainers. The one thing I absolutely liked about his programs, is that he used visual aids when it came to horse types. He had broken down the types of horses as for behavior into four major catagories, and then gave sub sections to their behaviors, and what challenges are presented. Unlike much of whats out there, this is an important thing that in understanding the horse, Berry actually outlined a variety of horses, and didnt exclude or avoid "dangerous" or "problem" horses, as his articles covered these as if it was a normal occurrance to own one.
I liked that even back then he was into using minimal and less mechanical tools with working horses. He uses a varied rope halter, he calls a "war bridle", which in its design is even more basic and rudementary then what many of us use today. The negative is that there are many of his items I wouldnt use on mine, even his version of the rope halter, as it goes through the mouth. But for the fact that its all so simplistic and not over done, its great to see something new that is old.
In todays world, many send horses to trainers to work the basics, advanced, and problem horses. I like looking at the fact that back in the early 1900's and long before, that sending a horse out to a trainer wasnt feasble for many, especially in the rural and agricultural industry. So people back then had to learn themselves and do it themselves. Some, especially immigrants, did not have a good amount of equine exposure prior to establishing their newly homesteaded farms. From beginners to problem horses, this trainer and teacher had made it possible for the "green" owners have the basic disciplines to make awesome results.
I think the biggest impression I have in liking this trainer, is that he didnt avoid or neglect helping others work with problem horses. So many people today drop problem horses too quickly and don't want to take the time or effort in working with them. I will say from vast experience I have, problem horses are my interest. I pick up some that have exquisite pedigrees, fantastic bloodlines, are registered and so on, but were sold for slaughter or broodmare because they are viewed as a "problem horse". And with a little persistance and patience, the turn around is great and what problems were there are neaerly non-exsistant. I find too, that the people I bought them from, now have an interest in buying back at an inflated value. It irritates me to a point that before there was no interest, and now that the problem isnt there, now theres an interest? Why couldnt the time be made to fix it? Money is the answer? LOL! Anywho.. this relates to what I found in that for once, I see that someone went into great detail to help resolve working with problem horses, and as we all know, the equine world is just flooded with them!
Dixon's Red Hot Ember