I was asked, yesterday, “what is a program”? I say this all the time and I had assumed that folks working with me could see and understand what I was talking about, but I realized that they are not there everyday with me working with the horses. They usually only can come once or twice a week and when they attend clinics they are there for only a day or two. So one of my students asked me to explain what a program is and what it could look like, so here we go.
I looked up the definition of “program” and this is what the dictionary said. “a set of related measures, events or activities with a particular long term goal”. I guess that's as good a definition as any. So when it comes to horses my program is a bunch of activities that, when I’m done, I hope will produce a willing and obedient horse. Some folks would say partner, and I guess you could use that word, but I think it gives the wrong idea to the human.
A good way to illustrate this, for folks that don’t have horses or aren’t horse people would be to use a child. When our child starts to learn to walk, most of us as parents are so excited that we will set things up so the child can practice, more and more. We will set them off between parents and see if the little shaver can make it from mom to dad. What we don’t do is by them a new pair of tenny shoe and put him outside in the street and see how long it takes him to get up and run. Funny thing is, that’s what we do to horses and call it training. With anyone or anything you are trying to train you take your time and teach small or little skills that will help the person and or the horse, later down the road. I don’t get a colt, tie a saddle to his back and see how long it takes him to stop bucking, or saddle him jump on and see how long it takes me to get him to stop bucking. It takes the magic pill and a program. What program you say?
There are lots of people out there that will sell you a program. Shoot, all of us in this business, who are trying to make a living, have something to sell you. Kathy says I give to much away when it comes to working with people that bring their horses to me, and she is probably right, but that’s another story for another time. The important thing is find a program that you can believe in and start there. The program that I have been working on and in for a long time now, I have developed after working with lots of different trainer with lots of different back grounds. The program that I use works pretty darn well, and folks that have use me or my program will tell ya that. The program that I use works on the entire horse not just a particular problem. The program is what fixes the particular problem that horses may have, not any one exercise. When you attend a clinic, of mine, I teach you everything you will ever need to teach your horse to do anything you will ever need him to do. Folks don’t believe that, but it’s true. On this website I offer a exercise dvd about as cheep as you can find, that shows you what this program should look like. Sure there is more to the program, but it is a great place to start. Once you have a start, keep learning, reading, going to clinics. Find someone you trust, someone you believe in or at least a program that makes sense to you and work with them or with the program. I use to travel all over this country working with different people, learning their methods, and I did it and spent a ton of money to develop the program that I have now.
Bottom line here is: Find something that fits you and that you can believe in and then work at it. In time you will find other things that work for you and your horses that may not be a part of the core program your using. That not a bad thing, it means your growing as a horseman. But be willing to discard methods if you find that they do not work or are unsafe for you and your horse. I have. You will.
We all want results with our horses if the method or methods, your using are not getting them be willing to change, or get help.
Most of us went to school to learn to read and write and most of us do a pretty good job of that, but just because we went to school does not mean we know how to teach or train horses. It takes different skills, but if you learned to read and write or tie your shoes, you can learn to train horses. When you first started tying your shoes you probably were not very good at it, but in time you figured it out, unless you got those Velcro shoes, which is cheating just so you know. Learning to train horses takes time. The level that you reach as a trainer will depend on how hard you work at it, how much time you spend at it and how much you learn about it. Do these things and you will have a program.
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Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.