My training concept
If you don't learn to trust your horse you will never have a horse you can trust
My concept is based on respect, trust and mutual appreciation.
A horse that respect and trusts his human knows that it can rely on him in every situation. Now there is to ad appreciation in the horse and its willingness to work with the rider.
Who thinks he can gain the horses respect with violence or unfairness is absolutely wrong. You always have to stay fair to the horse, recognize and reward its effort to find out what you ask of it: even if it is only one step into the right direction or putting its head down to think about the situation. This asks full concentration and the right feeling of the rider. We don’t try to push the horse into a new situation – but we won’t reward “wrong” steps.
It is very important to keep in mind that every horse is different: while a bold and confident horse can sometimes use some more pressure, a nervous horse would despair of the same pressure.
There isn’t „the one way“ to train a horse right. Different situations and characters of a horse ask different training and feeling for the horse. This means for training that you need to react within seconds and always have another idea if something doesn’t work. You have to stay self-confident and quite. If the horse feels your insecurity it will get nervous or ignore you: who can trust an insecure leader?
Everything the horse has to know under saddle is prepared on the ground first. Here I work after the concept of Mark Bolender but also use some patterns, exercises and gymnastics of the Parelli concept.
Expect a lot, accept a little, reward often.
If the preparation from the ground was well, being ridden is nothing special for a horse.
Here I start in little steps to give it all the time it needs to feel comfortable – usually the horses appreciate the work and will do just great to please you. So the first few times I only ride them with a rope halter, one lead rope and without saddle. I also start riding the gaits (or on a non-gaited horse only trot and lope) without a bit. I start working in a bit when the horse knows what you expect of it and knows leg and weight.
My goal is to show that even gaited horses can be trained without chains, artificial aid or sharp bits. I’d like to show them the right way. This is possible with at first: the genetical disposition for the gait - I won’t force any horse into a gait that is not natural for it - then with patience and positive enhancement. If a horse has multiple gaits at a similar speed – how does it know which one the rider asks for? Here you need to encourage it instead of putting it under pressure or manipulating it. For me gait training means to stabilize a gait that is genetically there. You may need some gymnastic exercises to bring it out, but no help through bits, chains or other mechanical aid.
I offer my horses a versatile training with good gymnastic and lots of fun. We work in the roundpen, on our little trail course, the arena or in the forest. Then we also do exercises for motivation as jumping, free work, bridleless riding and others.
Prior condition for a good training is a horse that is mentally and physically healthy. With a tensed back, teeth problems or psychical stress no horse is able to work concentrated. In the ideal case the owner will let a vet check his horse before training.
At this place I like to thank my trainer Johann Ollmann from Austria. Thanks for all the time you spend with me working on the finesse in groundwork and riding. Without you I would know only a fraction of what I know now.
I also like to thank Mark Bolender. I thought my kind of horsemanship is already very fine, but you showed me that you need nearly nothing to motivate a horse and win its trust and respect and that we all do way too much. Also thanks for the great training in Extreme and Mountain trail and the jumping and reining lessons. I already miss you, Lee and the horses.
At last I want to thank the horses – my own and those in training – thanks for teaching me, giving me new challenges, trusting me and showing me the beauty of God’s creation every single day. It can’t be expressed in words how much I love you and appreciate having you around.