“Gentlin” horses. That’s what my mentor used to call it. I was younger then, a teenager, so I didn’t get the irony of the term. Nowadays we are exposed to a lot of information about horse training. Most of it is really good stuff. These demonstrations are performed by very able horseman and women with nearly untouched young horses. Even so occasionally a “jackpot” crops up requiring some quick evasive action, or discipline. What I’m concerned about is the person who is in the position that I was years ago, faced with wanting to train a horse, but not having a lot of experience nor knowledge – nor help.
What I found was that everything went fine until me and ‘ol pony came to a disagreement. At that point, instincts took over and a thousand pounds of powerful scared animal whose nervous system was at least three times as quick as mine, went into flight or fight mode. My horse training went to “hell in a handbasket“ in a microsecond. I didn’t have a prearranged plan so I got kicked, bit, bucked off, run away with, dragged, stepped on,knocked down (did I leave anything out?). My horses were none too gentle with my personal body I can tell you that! I went through several years of pretty “un-gentle” responses to these outbursts. A lot of people would’ve just quit ( the sane ones) and switched to golf, or racecar driving. But, I was an addict, so I persisted. Finally, I got lucky and begin to work with some really fine expert horse tamers and trainers who in turn had learned from older mentors. Their methods took into account the mind and instincts of a prey animal who was ten times their size, ten times their strength and at least three times their quickness. They were able to establish trust, and then obedience, making most of their mounts into “Noble Steeds”. Their teachings have been a godsend to me. I thank them all, and I recommend to other addicts– please get help before you get hurt!