It seems right that if I am to share my views on horses and their training I first explain my philosophy about horse training. I don’t follow a particular method or school. My education was eclectic, with horses being my most important teachers. I have gone down some roads I quickly abandoned, and have stayed well away from others – because the welfare of the horse was clearly not at the center of those methods.
I was ‘lucky’ to fall in love with a physically and emotionally damaged mare when I was quite young. While adults around me attempted multiple ways to make Delight conform, I saw pain and fear that deserved attention. I owe an eternal debt to that sweet little mare for teaching me how far you can get if you recognize and remove pain and fear from the equation. I learned from her how trusting and affectionate a horse can become. And, sadly, I learned how tragically a horse’s life can end when they are not valued.
I have since had numerous equine ‘teachers’ – each with their own lesson to teach. Some lessons were more profound than others – but every horse has taught me something. You will find profiles of the most significant ‘teachers’ (as well as our current herd) on the Meet the Herd page.
What I have learned from nearly a half century of living with horses comes down to these principles:
For me it is far less about a specific method, school, or fancy named ‘style’ of training. If it accommodates the needs of specific horse, causes no negative emotional or physical effects, and creates a horse who is more beautiful in conformation and gait while easily carrying the rider through their activities, then it’s fine by me. Depending upon your outlook, that may be a simple formula – or a very high bar.
It is my intent with this site and blog to explore those methods that do, and do not, meet my criteria. I also hope to help those of you who would like to more easily identify a horse who is happy in his work from one who is not. Ultimately that is what matters most in my book!