Hi this is my place that my wonderful wife has
given me to write about my personal feelings on training and the
I want you to know that
I have always put a guarantee on my advice training and shoeing.
But you must tell me that your not happy on the first lesson.
I know from personal experience that one of the most frustrating
problems in the horse industry is that people do not want to share
information on success in training because of two reasons 1. They
want to make money off of you and 2. They don't want you to beat
them in competition. This only tares down the success of
riders and horses which shrinks the industry as a whole.
If we as horse people want horses to have homes we have to do two
things 1. Give people a good safe experience in their horse
activities and 2. When we train horses we should do such a good job
the horse will be a good family horse one that everybody stands in
line to own and would never sell.
Now, I can't train every
person or every horse but what I can do is give you advice on how to
get success in your horse career as a amateur or as a professional.
As in either case you need to write down your goals next, find
someone who has accomplished these goals and then ask them for a
lesson and to put you on the path that led to their success.
Let me tell a little story about some old horsemen and women. When I
was about twenty my father sent me to work under one of the greatest
master horse shoers in the country his name is Skip Bickford.
We traveled a four week circuit from Sacramento California to
Kirkland Washington. Every four weeks we would return to
almost every major training barn on the I-5 corridor. My
father told me to keep my mouth shut and pretend like I did not know
anything or else these big trainers would not let me see their bags
of tricks. He was right, one thing I learned was that
almost every successful trainer always had a ground man. These
were old cowboys to old and broken to ride. I just loved those
All of these training centers
would provide us with places to sleep. We ate breakfast
and dinner with the old timers which provided time to build
relationships and ask questions at the right time. I
learned things you just can't buy and I acquired a love and respect
for those great men who have given us many of the things the
American horse industry has for us today. I watched
these men help many armatures and trainers go on to be world
champions so, if you have the finances and can find one of these
employ him or her. You have made a smart choice.
Now when choosing a trainer
you need one that has an actual program. A starting place and
an ending place. Most trainers specialize in certain
disciplines. Western for example, is a horse that works in a
western saddle, works quiet, and slow or a western show horse which
begins showing in the arena on the rail. Judged at a
walk, jog, and lope. Stands quiet and backs readily.
These things do not come in a day but with many months of repetitive
practice this is just the beginning for the horse. If
you are a beginner you should also be getting instruction on a
different horse one that is older and very forgiving.
This is very important because the horse always advances to the
level of the rider. In other words, if you have a lot of
experience then the horse should get better and advance.
If you are pretty good we will see it in your
horse and vice versa.
Back to the beginner or green
horse, you should be learning with your horse. Hands on
is not where you need to start. Some people can not even
brush a horse with out teaching them a bad habit or bad foundation.
A foundation means a first response or experience.
At the trainers discretion you should not talk but instead just
watch the routine and learn the correct pattern.
I have another little story,
after apprenticing with Skip he felt bad that after two years I had
not acquired any anvil or horse shoe making skill. We
were so busy shoeing that it was not feasible for me to learn.
I would have been to slow. Skip could make a pair of shoes in
three heats with nail holes and calks that fit the hoof with just
one look. That is fast! So, he sent me to shoeing
school. The instructor Bill Miller asked me if I had any
anvil experience and I said no. But in just two weeks I
could make a pair of shoes in three heats with nail holes and calks.
He told me he figured I lied but I didn't. It is because
I watched the correct way to make shoes enough times buy a master,
that it was easy. And of course, I love horses and had a
strong desire to learn but I did not ask questions at the wrong time
I just watched the master for two years and then practiced.
Now that I have presented my
thoughts on respect of those who have shared our love of horses and
made us keepers of their knowledge, the horse
industry, and my thoughts on respect towards learning and teaching,
I would like to share what I believe to be a good program for a
horse farms success. If you have a breeding farm and you
are only interested in the horses that show potential for being a
champion you will be in need of finding homes for those that do not
measure up. This is where you are in need of a very good
colt starting program. Two things that will give you success.
1 Breeding for disposition and 2. A good training
program that starts at birth. Handle them from the day
they are born. Once again this is not a job for a beginner but
this is what helps a horse to understand that humans are a part of
their life. Even more than their own mother she is there
for four to six months but humans the rest of their life.
There are many that end up going for meat just because they can't be
handled. One thing that is important to know is not so much
how many times they are handled but how the handler covers all
the bases. Being able gently rub all the areas of the body
pick up the feet and lead the baby is bare knuckles minimum.
But again these are foundation habits that should be done by a
seasoned handler or you may teach the baby to do things like rear,
strike, kick, pull back, and run away. These are taught by
many people the first day and they do not realize it.
Other things that you can train your baby to do that will be very
helpful is clipping, tying, loading, wearing a blanket, and
hauling in a horse trailer wearing a blanket.
Training fees include:
$325.00 a month
for full care and turnout.
$200.00 a month
for pasture board.
Extra Costs Include:
$35.00 for a trim
(on the farm and in training)
standard shoe job (on the farm and in training)
vaccination for shots.
Extras if desired:
$75.00 for a body
$125.00 a month
for exercising and conditioning three days a week.