With all my cynical posting about Big Name Trainers, readers might wonder where I do get my inspiration and training. Personally, I’ve found myself turning to the little guys out there – because they are the ones who are accomplishing amazing things with horses and are advancing the human-horse relationship to it’s next level.
I have my own guidelines for choosing to listen to people and their methods, here is some of it:
1.) Does their words match their actions? You would be surprised at how many trainers, especially the Big Name Trainers, will prate on about this or that, but then do not follow their own advice. It’s the old adage of “Do as I say, Not as I Do.”
Throw away the glossy brochures, the websites with amazing photos and video, drown out the hypnotizing words that promise you your deepest desire, and use your brain. Do their actions match their words? If you are at a clinic with a Big Name Trainer, I can bet you they don’t.
2.) Do they ground train and ride? If someone doesn’t ride in addition to their groundwork, I don’t feel they understand all facets of the training. There are simply things you cannot know unless you watch and observe; there are simply things you cannot understand unless you ride. Just as I know that my education is limited itself by what I have personally experienced… I don’t try to tell people how to perform brain surgery.
3.) Do they continue to improve their horses’ education? It’s amazing how many trainers seem to dead end with their horses. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this with some clicker trainers who don’t seem to progress with advancing their horses’ education and just keep repeating the same learned behavior.
4.) Are their explanations clear? Big Name Trainers specialize in gobbleygook talk; it all sounds mystifying and you keep coming back, writing a check, waiting to have the Blinding Light of Reason strike you between the eyes.
Reality is that horses are basic and simple; training them doesn’t have to be any more difficult then having common sense and self-awareness. The fact that many people think horse training is difficult, shows the lack in our society of common sense, not the need for a $300 rope halter.
5.) Do their horses reflect good health, strong muscles, and joy? I often turn off the volume and just watch. Watching behavior of the horse can tell you what happens between horse and human once all the clinic participants go home.
6.) There is a difference between a trained monkey that knows some tricks, and a horse that is using it’s brain and heart to reason and interact. Again, unfortunately, many of the Big Name Trainers have trained monkey horses.
Just my thoughts….