Horse Training Insanity
Hi, Larry Trocha here.
I’ve lost track of the number of lessons I’ve given over the years.
It has to be in the thousands.
People have come to me for instruction in cutting, reining, cow horse, ranch sorting and barrel racing.
That’s right, I said barrel racing.
Most folks know me as a cutting/reining trainer but I’ve trained my share of barrel horses too.
A well trained barrel horse is a ton of fun.
The best one I ever had went to the Lazy E Barrel Futurity (with the owner riding) and placed 16th out of over 600 entries. I was tickled pink.
I wanted to show this horse myself but the West Texas Cutting Futurity was going on at the same time as the barrel futurity.
Since cutting horses are my main focus, that’s where I went.
Anyway, after years of dealing with riders of all different disciplines, I’ve discovered one big COMMON DENOMINATOR.
When it comes to riding and horsemanship…
EVERYBODY MAKES THE SAME MISTAKES.
It doesn’t matter if they’re a cutter, a reiner or a barrel racer.
It doesn’t matter if they’re a rank beginner or been riding a long time.
I guarantee they share many of the same problems and faults.
Most people come to me to learn how to improve their HORSE.
But in reality, the thing that usually needs the most improvement is the RIDER.
People think the key is getting the horse trained.
It never dawns on them that the horse will NEVER PERFORM correctly unless he is RIDDEN correctly.
So consequently, these folks work like crazy trying a bunch of different horse training methods when really, their focus should be on improving their own riding ability.
And you know what, the worst offenders are usually the people who have… BEEN RIDING FOR YEARS AND YEARS.
Now, I’m going to share with you a TRUTH that’s going to really upset some of my readers… because for many, it’s going to hit pretty close to home.
Just keep in mind, my intention here is not to be mean or hurtful.
My intention is to open people’s eyes so they can discover the REAL WAY to get the results they’re after.
It’s been my observation… in most cases… there isn’t much difference between somebody who’s been riding for only a short time… and somebody who’s been riding for years and years.
Yes, the person with years and years of experience will have interacted more with horses and be more comfortable dealing with them.
But generally, that person’s “SKILL LEVEL in the SADDLE” will not be much different than what it was years earlier.
In the vast majority of cases, the rider will be using his arms and hands wrong… he’ll be using his feet and spurs wrong… and his body position and seat will often times cause their horse to perform poorly.
He’ll be in the HABIT of riding a particular way and he’ll continue to ride that way year after year.
Right or wrong, he’ll use his hands, legs and body the same way no matter what the situation and no matter what horse he rides.
He does this without even being aware of it.
As a consequence, his horses never advance the way they could.
Which brings me to the DEFINITION of INSANITY.
INSANITY is when you do things the SAME WAY over and over again, yet expect DIFFERENT RESULTS.
Most of us are so guilty of this it isn’t funny.
There are many, many people who have been riding their entire lives who can’t get their horse to pick up the correct lead or do a simple turn on the hindquarters.
Because of this, riders constantly ask me what CUE they need to use to get a horse to do a certain thing.
And there in lies a not-so-obvious problem.
The word “CUE” is a very MISLEADING term.
It doesn’t mean what most people think it does.
When we talk of “CUEING” a horse to pick up the left lead, most folks think of it as simply using their leg to push a “BUTTON” that automatically makes the horse take the lead.
And on a highly trained horse, ridden by a good rider, it appears this is the case.
However, on the average “lesser trained” horse, it’s not that way at all.
And because the rider thinks of the “cue” as a “button”, he has no idea WHY that cue is used in the first place.
Let me explain…
Here’s what the word “CUE” really means.
I’ll use the example of cueing for the left lead again.
To ask your horse to pick up the left lead you…
1. Make contact with the horse’s mouth and collect him a little.
2. Use the left rein to move his shoulders slightly to the right.
3. At the same time, use your right leg to move the hindquarters to the left.
4. While you have the horse’s body in this position, squeeze with both legs (or cluck) to ask for the lope.
So in this situation, the “CUE” consisted of performing FOUR distinct steps in the correct sequence.
It’s not anything like pushing a button.
It’s more like POSITIONING a horse’s body to get the desired result.
There is nothing mysterious about this but it does require some knowledge of horsemanship.
It goes back to learning to ride correctly.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said this but I’m going to say it again.
If a person will RIDE CORRECTLY, the horse will practically TRAIN HIMSELF.
This isn’t a line of B.S. I just made up… it’s the absolute truth.
Learn to ride right… learn to use your hands, legs and body correctly… and your horse will get so much better you’ll wonder what happened.
Here’s something that could really help.
I have a DVD available, titled…
“WESTERN RIDING KNOW HOW”
This video demonstrates everything we covered in this newsletter PLUS a whole bunch more.
If your desire is to be a KNOWLEDGEABLE HORSEMAN and GOOD RIDER, the information in that DVD will go a long way in helping you.
Here's the link to check it out:
Well, this wraps it up for this newsletter. I hope you liked it… and feel free to share it with your friends.
Until next time, have fun training your horse.