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herdbound 07-11-2011 10:43 AM

My Beef With Cookie Cutter Training
Ok there are alot of training systems I like. I like Parelli, I like Lyons, I like Anderson, I like GaWaNi Pony Boy, heck there are things I like from Endo Spinks...BUT here is my beef with the do it this way or die fanatics that follow them so closely they would rather get trampled in the dirt than god forbid do something instinctual and go off of their beaten paths...every horse is different and not all methods work the same on all horses. The videos and training materials they release are wonderful to pull knowledge from BUT they only can take you so have to develop your own rythem and your own "instincts" as to what is about to happen or guess are going to get hurt...and maybe...just maybe that gut feeling of doing something different from them...actually turns out to be better for that particular horse in that particular situation.

Right now I am working a 7yr old TWH mare and she is a bad mama-jama. I got called out on her because I actually placed an ad looking for the worst of the worst for the next book I am writing about horses with holes in their training. So I get a call from a lady who absolutely loves this horse and this horse absolutely walks all over her...(nothing new right)...this horse belonged to her friend who actually owns the mares mother and she raised the mare till it was 5 alongside it's mother all the while. The original owner asked the new owner if she would like to have this mare as a gift and she accepted. Now the mare who is named Ice Cream has known nothing other than spending her days alongside her mother being asked to do nothing more than graze and sometimes tag along on rides. The lady who now owns her is a really sweet woman who does know quite a bit about horses but she never corrected Ice Cream for being disrespectful and hence Ice Cream has become almost impossible to handle. On the day I did my initial evaluation of the mare she almost knocked me over several times, tried to strike me 3 times with her front legs, tried to cow kick me when I asked her to stand still, and then in a final act of desperation to flee being controlled tried to get down on the ground and "roll" away. She repeatedly charges people that enter her space. She drives the other horses the lady owns around the pasture trying to kick and bite them WHILE her children are trying to she has just a nasty attitude...well I worked with her for 7 days...I got "join up"...I got her to stand still without throwing a fit...I got her to stop striking...I got her to stop ramming you with her head...I got her to lead without knocking you down...I can back her across a 50 foot pen like a dream...I have even RIDDEN her...3 times with intention (meaning I make her do what I want rather than just let her meander around) Riding right now is rocky because she is resisting turning at times...and we are still at a walk...but I was pleased that thus far all I have gotten from her was a little buck in the behind more of an I am aggitated buck...but nothing major and I have it so even the owner can walk her and handle her without being trampled into the dirt. So anyways I had to go back and work on whoa because she just was not getting that cue from the saddle..she was stopping but on her terms not immediately... and I put her on a lunge and worked her with a little more force on whoa...and well anyways I am being crucified but a certain "systems" groupie on my facebook because I shoulda been able to do it without the freakin lunge rope...GIVE ME A BREAK...I have covered a tremendous amount of ground with this horse and the fact that she is responding so well to me says we ARE communicating...she is getting what I am telling her. I have never had to hit this horse...(although she did try and charge me once and I threatened too by smacking the ground in front of me like a crazy woman)...and IF she would have preceded to come at me YES I would have laid one to her...because I would rather have her rump sting than have 4 motherless children...some horses are just so far out there on the "dominance" scale it takes more force than..."come on my little puppy dog follow me" anyways that's my beef...I think the cookie cutter "I would rather die than deviate from my supreme masters video techniques" may someday get their wish if they meet the wrong horse and don't trust their own gut...that felt good to get off my chest :)

Speed Racer 07-11-2011 10:50 AM

Uh oh, you may have awakened the cultists with this post. :shock:

They don't like it if you dare to be critical of whatever guru's training methods they're fanatical about following. :wink:

Deviation from the course laid out or thinking for yourself is blasphemy!!!!

Alwaysbehind 07-11-2011 10:51 AM

How dare you not think one cookie cutter system will not work for every single horse and rider out there.


herdbound 07-11-2011 10:54 AM

Speedracer I think there are alot of people who watch the videos, and read the books, but staring down the business end of a nasty horse puts you into a whole new of my favorite horse quotes "it's easy to be brave from the ground" comes to mind.

Speed Racer 07-11-2011 10:59 AM

Your brain is the best tool in your kit for training horses. If you put it on auto pilot and just go by what DVDs and books tell you, then you're effectively crippled.

Every training method has something to offer, but following anything blindly without questioning it is as bad for horse training as it is for religion. :wink:

herdbound 07-11-2011 11:00 AM

Alwaysbehind I know's always funny to me to watch some of those video's...the horses they use are so obviosly finished to the point of being almost so **** trained a baby could ride them...come get a load of some real horses who teach you things like...a horse can come backwards with both guns blazing just as fast as it can move forward...a horse that can just decide well I think i have had enough and now i will squash you like a freakin bug you silly human...not all horses are so "easy" to get all

MHFoundation Quarters 07-11-2011 11:24 AM

First, good job with Ice Cream.

I feel the same, pull bits here and there from others and find your style. I think going with your gut gets passed over way too much. The problem with being a 100% follower of any method is that all horses aren't exactly the same. When asked if I'm this or that (usually NH or old-school) I say that I belong to the school of common sense horsemanship. You do what works for each individual horse. I try to be as soft as I can be but as hard as they need me to be.
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Doe 07-11-2011 01:11 PM


At the end of the day these guys are selling a system. As such it will always be cookie cutter. People want results faster than fast, and they'll buy into an ego because it gives them confidence.

Personally I differentiate between a trainer and a horseman(ship). You can be a great trainer and a lousy horseman. There's plenty of those. There are very few who are both a good trainer and a good horseman, simply because the two things are often contradictory.

Talking of cookie cutter, for your next book on holes in a horses training, what about holes in the trainers training? Thats my beef. How many trainers don't now the horses ass from it's elbow (literally)? How can they work with a horse, responsibly when they don't even know which muscles do what etc?So many problems I see are not training or respect issues they are actually difficult or painful for the horse to do physically yet alone mentally. What happens if we lose our balance? We tense, we grab on frantically, etc etc. Yet they constantly put horses in this position with no preparation and wonder why they get the result they do. Then they fail to listen because they lack the ability to understand or the capacity to care and so drive through the problem creating other issues somewhere else.

Horsesdontlie 07-11-2011 01:32 PM

I think this is great. I read/watch a little of everything. I never bother buying the DVD sets but I'll watch just about anyone on RFD-TV. I also buy books and read up. I use what works.

I can't believe when people come up to me and ask, "Who do you follow?" I feel like they're asking if I worship God or Zeus. o.0 They won't take "I don't really use any one method but I research on a little bit of all of them......" They look at my funny like I'm holding back secrets and then leave. Lol.

Plus it gets to a point sometimes where I have seen a lot of horses that get sour to doing their 'NH' techniques. Because they do the same thing every day and never vary it up.

Not all people are like this, but a lot are.

Doe 07-11-2011 01:42 PM


I can't believe when people come up to me and ask, "Who do you follow?" I feel like they're asking if I worship God or Zeus
Lol that's so true. As is this;


Plus it gets to a point sometimes where I have seen a lot of horses that get sour to doing their 'NH' techniques. Because they do the same thing every day and never vary it up.
Gotta love RfD. Makes me laugh every time I see a Craig Cameron 'tack tip'......."well today folks my tip is reins......reins are great....yeah good set of Craig Cameron reins.....from the Craig Cameron online That's my tack tip for today!"

I do like it when he does knots though, i'd love to sit with a whiskey and learn some cool knots from an old hand....

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