Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Preparing for that first ride.

When riding a young horse, if you can keep control of their head, then the risk of a conniption fit are minimized. I refuse to ever get on a horse without having them flexible to both sides with the bit. Lots of people will work on that on the ground by flexing the horse to the side until they give and releasing pressure. I prefer the hands-off approach. I like methods that allow a horse to teach themselves and that is what I use to teach them to give to each side. After getting them saddled and warmed up enough, I will use the bridle reins on just a regular snaffle to 'tie their head around.' I will run on rein up through the back D-ring on the saddle and then take a wrap around the saddle horn with it (as seen below).

I will shorten the rein just enough so that the horse's head is bent to the side. Short enough that they learn to give but not so short that they learn to brace. It is important for them to have enough rein so that they can find the release. Then I just leave them alone in the roundpen for a half an hour or so. I stay close by just in case they get in a jam but it is better if you are out of sight of the horse. I use this time to do other little things around the barn like water and feed the other critters. I keep a close eye on how the horse responds to the pressure from the bit. As long as they are resisting or fighting, I leave them alone. When they finally get to the point that every time they try to straighten their neck out, they find pressure from the bit, and immediately bend their head back to the side to alleviate the pressure, I know it's time to go either do the other side or work them on something else. The reason that I like this method so much is it takes away all chance of human error. Their learning doesn't depend on a person's perfect timing because they learn from their own movements, not mine, and the release is instantaneous. I don't have to worry about my timing being off and them not being able to grasp the lesson I want them to learn. This is the first session for this mare and for the sake of congruity, I will use her as an example throughout the entire post. She had just begun to find the release to the right in this picture.

Sometimes, even for me, putting my foot into the stirrup and swinging a leg over for the first time on a young horse is the most nerve racking (and exhilarating) moment of the whole training process. But I always try to follow what my Dad taught me; if you can make that first ride an uneventful one, then you have gotten started with the upper hand. The more rides you can get without the horse throwing a fit, the less likely to throw a fit they become. After you have started riding them, then the next big thing you have to worry about is usually about 2 weeks into training. Their feet are sore, their back is sore, their mouth is sore, their muscles are sore, and sometimes they just don't want to behave. Anyway, back on point. To help prevent the bucks and general squirreliness, I will always tire a young horse out from the ground before I step up into the saddle that first time. The most common method that I use is very closely related to lunging but with my own little twist. I will use an old soft rope and put the loop of it around the saddle horn, then down the off side of the horse and around their butt. While I am letting them trot or lope circles in the roundpen, I will sometimes bump or flick that rope against their butt. Some horses handle it well like this mare did and others throw a big old fit. Some will go to kicking to try to get the rope off their butt. I just keep steady enough pressure to keep them from getting it between their legs. If it gets stuck up under their tail, all the better. I have seen a bunch of people over the years get bucked off of an old broke horse simply because the horse had never had anything around their butt like that or, heaven forbid, get stuck up under their tail. When the horse starts to get tired and slow down, I will use the rope as more of an incentive to keep going. In my opinion, while this step can be skipped on younger or smaller horses, horses that are bigger or in better shape or older benefit greatly from this. The rider does too because it can prevent a lot of foolishness on the horse's part when they are too busy trying to catch their breath to try to act silly. Those older horses can get ahead of you pretty darn quick if they are fresh.

After all this is completed and the horse is nice and relaxed doing everything I have asked of them, then it's time to start preparing to put your foot in the stirrup and get on. One thing that I have found that always helps them to be a little more accepting of that first mount is to flap the stirrup leathers around some. I grab the stirrup and flop the leather around and against their side, making it pop against the skirt of the saddle. I will keep the inside rein short so that if they decide to spook, they will just go in circles instead of running completely away. When they will stand for this without flinching, I go to the other side and start all over again. When they will quietly stand for that, then it's time to start getting on. I always keep my inside rein shorter on green horses so that I don't have to spend time re-arranging my reins in case they decide to buck or spook or take off. I will also take just a moment to grab the saddle horn and kind of jump up and down next to the horse for the first time. If they are okay with that, then I stick my foot in the stirrup and begin to mount. I start with putting just a bit of weight in the stirrup at first with my rein hand on the mane and my right hand on the horn. I keep a close watch on their face to see if they plan to shoot sideways or forward to get away from me. I will then half-mount. I refuse to lay across the saddle on my belly like you see so many other people do simply because all it would take is one big jump or a spook toward your legs and you are face-planting in the dirt. Unless I have my butt in the saddle, I like to be able to just step away in the event of an explosion. If they are okay with the half mount, then I will go ahead and swing aboard. I let them sit there for just a minute before asking for them to move just so that they can accustom themselves with the additional weight. I make it a point to be busy in the saddle when I first get on. I will change my seat, wiggle and re-adjust my legs, move my feet, adjust my reins or my coat, wiggle the saddle back and forth, etc. That helps teach the horse to stand until they are given the clear cue to move forward. Not everyone is able to get into the saddle quietly and get their seat and stirrups just right the first try and I don't want my horses mistaking a leg adjustment for a forward cue and walking off before the rider is ready. When I first ask them to move out, I will keep them in a smaller circle until I know they aren't immediately going to freak out and try to dump me. The rope around the butt prep that I do also helps to prevent an "oh, sh*t" moment if they require a bump on the butt with a bridle rein to get them going. This is the first day I rode this mare. I had been on her before for a few minutes and I stopped just long enough to get my camera out of my car so I guess technically this would be the second time for everything on her. However, this is video from the first day she's ever had a saddle on or anything. So I took this mare from a spooky, snorty mess to this in just a couple of hours.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sneaking Rides and "He doesn't like the bit"

I see it all the time, folks talking about "breaking" their youngster and saying with pride that "I've been on him 3 times and he rides like a dream. I get on and just kinda let him go where he wants and if he wants to stop, I let him. He hasn't tried to buck me off or anything." Doing this is what I call 'sneaking rides' on a young horse, where you get on and do everything you can so that they don't realize they have a rider. I just got finished with one mare and now have a gelding that had this done to them when they were young. When they are started like that, it takes time after you actually start directing them to make them realize that they need to go the way you want them to go, not the way that want to go. Plus, all of a sudden, all that leg and rein pressure and they don't get their own way, it is much more likely to turn into a huge wreck. Horses that never offered to buck with 20 snuck rides will suddenly turn into a rodeo bronc when you actually ask them to do something. It is so much easier to dictate everything from day 1. Even on that first ride, they need to go the speed you want them to go and in the direction that you want them to go. It is up to you, as a trainer, to decide what they are ready for. If they aren't ready to trot circles, then fine, let them walk around but they need to go and stop when you tell them to and turn in the direction that you want to go. If you do this, you will get them broke so much quicker and they will generally be more willing to do exactly what you tell them to do instead of having their own ideas.

No young horse likes the bit the first few times. They will chew, chomp, twist their head, stick their nose out, shake their head, and try to spit it out. That's just a part of it. Just because you put a youngster in a snaffle and they act upset, don't just throw it into the "can't use that" pile. Work them through it. Get their attention back on you, give their mind something to think about other than that thing in their mouth and soon, you will find you have a horse that is quiet on the bit and doesn't mind being bridled simply because they know it is all part of it. They have accepted the bit the same way they have the saddle and no longer want to resist or avoid.

This mare hated the bit at first too, but I rode her through it and she ended up very soft and quiet on any bit I put her in.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trotting along.

Still been riding the little Arab gelding from my last post and he is doing very well. We just finished ride 6 this afternoon. The last 2 rides, I have taken him out to the country to put some miles on him. He is getting much better about being spooky and really covers the ground when he moves out. His lope is like nothing I have ever ridden, it is just so big for such a little horse. His stop is really good and he is even beginning to learn how to slow his gaits when I ask him to. Worked on trotting some circles today and it didn't take him long to just relax right down into them. Before I was done, he was trotting around with his head down on a semi-loose rein. Started to introduce neck-reining a little bit but not enough that he really understands yet. Maybe next ride.

Now I am anxiously awaiting my next horse from a customer in Abilene. I am really enjoying this.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Finally started.

So I got my first customer horse in the day before yesterday and I started messing with him today. I skipped yesterday just to give him some time to settle in (and the fact that the wind was crazy yesterday). I went out and got him in the round pen. I put the bridle on, he got a bit high headed and backed up a couple of steps but no fight. I then got the saddle and put it on him. He was okay with me throwing it up there but was a little touchy about the cinch when I started to tighten it a bit. He kept wanting to move forward so I just kept him in a small circle and disengaged his hindquarters until his feet stopped. He eventually stood until I got it tight enough. Then it was time to set his head. I do that by tying his head around each way with the rein just short enough to teach him to give but not so short that it teaches him to brace against the bit. This teaches them to give their nose and flex their neck and also frees up some of my time to work with other horses or do chores until he is relaxed. Sometimes they will be resistant at first and pull against the rein but eventually, they all figure it out and when they are standing with their head cocked to the side and the shortened rein hanging loose, then they are ready to go to the other side.

After I set his head until he was soft each way, I just wanted to see how he would react to moving out under saddle. I made him trot some circles each way until I thought he was ready then I decided it was time to get on. He moved the first few times I tried to mount but with some correction, he stood long enough for me to get on. He was a little snorty and nervous about seeing me above him but he relaxed right down and was trotting circles in no time.

He was a little bit stiff to the right so we spent most of our time trotting circles to the right. At least until I liked how he felt under me. I worked on his flexion and he will give to the bit each way and is super soft in the mouth. He even has a respectable stop for his first ride. When I would let him stop, he was content to stand still until I either moved around or told him to go so I have high hopes for his future as a competition endurance horse. He travels really nice and seems to have a really good mind. Getting off was a bit tricky cause he really doesn't like it when the saddle moves around but that will get better in the next couple of rides. I am anxious to go again tomorrow.

Friday, April 9, 2010

It's all in the hands.

All too often, those of us that actually know a little something about horses get asked "My horse doesn't respect my bit, what should I ride him in to make him listen?"

First off, if your horse simply refuses to listen to the bit, then the problem isn't with the bit. The problem lies with what training (or lack thereof) and handling the horse is getting. The fact is that 99% of the time that a horse is ignoring the bit, slinging his head, nosing out, or any other action that most people associate as a "bit problem", it isn't the bit at all. It is a terrible thing to see that so many people are not being taught how to properly cue a horse with the bit. They almost always have solid contact and in order to stop or turn, they just pull harder. Those people have hard hands. HARD HANDS MAKE HARD HORSES.

If the horse isn't as responsive as you like in the bit that you have, then work on him in the bit that you have. It is better to go back to a simple snaffle for schooling or corrective work though because it is one of the mildest bits that you can find. If a horse is responsive in a simple snaffle, then you can ride him in anything; however, if you ride him in a twisted wire gag for him to be responsive, then you would have no control in anything less.

All the time we see it: a horse gets hard in the snaffle so they move him up to a twisted snaffle, then he gets hard in that so they move him up to a Tom Thumb bit (one of the most worthless bits ever made in my opinion), then he gets hard in that so they move him up to a solid mouth curb with longer shanks, then he gets hard in that so they move him up to a gag bit or a combination bit like those you see with a hard rope noseband and gag bit. Before you know it, the horse is being ridden in a 1/8 inch double twisted wire gag bit. Then 'what a miracle' the horse ends up hard to that too and at this point, they say "Well he is a stupid horse" or "He's stubborn" or "He gets excited". They never for one instant consider that every problem that horse has is rider error and by that point, the poor horse is usually beyond the point of no return.

Not many people are concerned with learning how to be soft with their hands and those that aren't will always blame the horse or the bit for every problem they have. You teach softness by being soft. You maintain softness by being soft. There are certain times, especially when handling a green horse, that being hard for an instant is required but it takes someone who understands horses and knows softness to know how much 'hard' is required and when it will be beneficial to the horse.

Many riders should spend their lifetime riding with nothing more than a snaffle because they don't understand when, how, or why to use the bite that a curb bit has. Even fewer people have any business using a twisted wire bit for any reason. Those bits should be reserved for only the most experienced and talented horsemen to use on only the most outlaw horses and only for a few days to re-gain respect for the bit. They should never be used for everyday riding by your typical 'fun' rider, or even a competition rider.

Many horses that end up hard due to improper riding can be re-trained to be soft-ish, however, they will never be as soft as a horse that was taught from the beginning to be responsive to the slightest cues. If you are having trouble at the lope or gallop, then it isn't a sudden problem just because of the change of gait. The issues are there at the walk and trot, they are just more subtle. Any gaps in training at the slower gaits will reveal themselves at speed.

No horse that got the proper training or riding needs to be moved up from a snaffle. We, as riders, choose to move to a different bit because of our preferances or training goals. I choose to ride in a ported curb because I ride one handed on a loose rein and a ported curb is designed for that, a snaffle is not. However, I can still stick any of my horses in a snaffle bit and they respond the same way. If I rode all my horses on light contact and direct reined, would I still use the curb? Absolutely not because it isn't designed for that and it is too much bit for that type of riding. The more advanced bits are designed for finesse, not power.

Anyone who says their horse needs to be in this special bit is just kidding themselves. The horse needs that bit because his training and handling dictates that the rider needs that bit to communicate because their hands only know how to scream. They cannot understand the sublety of a whisper and as a result, their horse has learned to tune out all but the loudest of screams.

Are there horses out there that seem to be immune to the softness of the snaffle from day one? Of course, but those are very rare and that immunity is generally paired with an outlaw nature that is dangerous to handle anyway. If a horse can be trained to accept a rider, then they can be trained to be soft to a snaffle bit.

Some horses misbehave in the bit due to a physical issue, whether it is a tooth problem or a nerve problem in their mouth or some other reason that carrying a bit would be painful. Some riders simply choose to ride bitless. Does that make them less knowledgeable or have a lower worth as a horseman than someone who rides in a bit? No. However, the bitless options out there are no different than the bit options. There are very mild choices like a simple halter or sidepull, there are more advanced options like the bosal, and then there are ridiculous options like those chain nosed mechanical hackamores. The same rules apply to those as they do to bits; stick with the mildest choice unless you need more finesse as the training level progresses.

To make a long story short, a bigger bit is designed to create finesse later in training, they are not meant to simply give a rider more power. A power struggle with a horse will always end up with the horse ruined and the rider frustrated and hateful. If you are having a problem with your horse not respecting your bit, please look at yourself first before kicking him up to a harsher bit.

Results come from what you put in their head,
not what you put on it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

First horse coming tomorrow.

My first customer horse is showing up tomorrow afternoon. I am anxious and a little nervous because it is an Arab and I have never handled that breed before. However, the woman that he is coming from has always had really nice horses that are very well bred. She has also been doing a lot of groundwork with him so I imagine that he will be pretty easy to continue on with. I think it will be a good start and I am really looking forward to it. I will have many more updates to come now that I am beginning to really get into it. I just got all moved on Saturday and have been busy trying to unpack everything. Not through yet but I am getting closer. Once I get her horse going a little bit, I have a couple more phone calls to make to get a couple or 3 more horses. I think that 3 or 4 will be plenty to start out with. Frankly, with no more expenses than I have, I could make a darn good living with just 4 or 5 at a time. Anyway, I am rambling now but I will be posting more pictures and also some video in my next few posts. :D Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

That next step

So I took that next big step. I gave my notice and worked my last night at my job on Monday night. I took that awful uniform off for the last time about 3am Tuesday morning. I can't believe that after 5 1/2 years, I am not going to be there anymore. All of my friends were sorry to see me go and I feel almost like a traitor leaving them but I have to do what is best for me. I am supposed to be meeting a lady to talk (and hopefully sign a lease) about a house this evening. Maybe I can be moved soon and this whole transition thing will be over with. I haven't even had a chance to get on a horse since the end of January and I am jonesing for the country. This city life is killing me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bridle for a baby?

Well, just for grins and giggles, today I decided to play with Rafe and see how he reacts to having the bridle put on. He stood like a champ and didn't even raise his head when I put the bit in his mouth. His head is so big that a 5 inch bit isn't all that large on him. I only had to take the bridle up 2 holes from where I have it set for my Mustang, Dobe. He played and chewed with the bit like any young horse will do. Then I worked on getting him to give to the bit. He finally got the basic idea through his ginormous skull and began to give to each side. I even managed to get a couple of tuck-nosed backward steps out of him. :D

Working with baby.

I am currently involved in my first experience with handling a foal. I have always had untrained horses to handle but never one younger than 2. Rafe was born on July 16, 2009 to a Belgian mare that we "rescued" from a friend of ours so that he wouldn't just send her to auction. Most people who know anything about the horse market would be able to tell you exactly what a green broke, 7 year old, fugly Belgian mare that was in foal to a Quarter Horse would have been worth at auction. So to keep her out of the kill pen, we brought her home. I guess in a bad way, it was fortunate that Steph (John's mate) had been snakebit and died in November '08 cause then John needed a mate to go into harness with. If we hadn't needed another VERY large draft, poor Bessie would have never found a home with us. Anyway, back to the point at hand.
I had never handled a baby before Rafe was born so I had some learning to do along with him. I was able to get there the evening of the day that he was born and do some imprinting, luckily, Bessie was cool with that an didn't interfere. She just stayed close by. Every day I was able, I would go out and just work on scratching him and petting him and getting him used to being handled. As the weeks and months progressed, he demonstrated that he had absolutely no fear of humans and apparently had inherited his mom's laid back temperment. The only problem was that he was beginning to be disrespectful like most foals will at some point. He became nippy and would invade your personal space, step on your toes, etc. I figured it was time then for him to learn something more than 'humans aren't scary'.
So I got my halter and lead and proceeded to teach him how to lead, which was suprisingly easy cause he follows me everywhere anyway. The hardest part was teaching him that when I stop, he needs to stop too. So I spent an afternoon just walking around the property with him and stopping every few strides. When he would get too close or bump into me, I would either use the halter or push my thumb into his chest to back him up a few strides. He finally got that one figured out. Then Dad started hitching Bessie and John (who had never been worked together before). After the initial training stage with them, when there wasn't much risk of having a problem with them, Rafe began to be tied to Bessie's side for the trips.
That helped his leading as much as anything. Now, at 6 months old, he is a friendly, respectful foal that will stand tied, hold his feet up as long as I want, and yeild to pressure on chest, sides, hips and will bend his neck each way. He stands 13.3 hands tall last time I sticked him and if the measurement of the cannon bone is correct, he should mature to right at 17 hands. I was hoping that with his dad being a quarter horse, he wouldn't be terribly big but I guess I will just have to get used to it. He is going to be my next personal saddle horse. He is already up into a full sized horse halter. I am really looking forward to watching him grow up but now that I have had my experience with a baby, I wish I could fast forward to his 3 year old year and start riding already.

Watch the line.

I have often been asked how I get my horses to the point that they won't ever quit when I ask them to do something and I have done quite a bit of thinking about that recently. I thought it might be a good thing to share at the start of this whole thing so that people can get an idea of my mentality in regards to training.

My philosophy on training horses is a lot different than most other people. I never handle a horse without having high expectations for them. I expect more out of a green horse in the first week under saddle than many people do in the first month or two. Some people choose to take 15 or 30 days just working on groundwork before ever introducing the saddle. If that is what works for you, that's great. It doesn't work for me. I would get incredibly bored and so would my horses. After getting an unhandled horse, it is seldom more than 1 or 2 days before I am trotting circles in the roundpen and usually no more than 4 or 5 before I have them on the trail or going through cattle.

So many people start young horses with no expectations of how quickly they could or would move through their training with just a bit of pushing. They are content to just allow their horse to meander around the pen at a walk or being led for the first week under saddle before asking them for any response to rider cues. Those people also generally spend another month before ever introducing the horse to the lope or real turns or backing up. So many people would say that I move too fast and push the horse beyond their tolerance because I get them tired every session, but that is where the line comes into play.

I haven't really been training that long in the grand scheme of things, just off and on for the last 10 years or so but I grew up with, in my honest opinion, one of the greatest horsemen to ever sit astride an equine. I learned to read horses from him and from spending hours and days watching how they react to people and other horses, their mannerisms and attitudes. Over these short years, I have found that tired horses learn faster than fresh ones. When they are tired, they are more apt to pay attention to what you are trying to teach them rather than worrying about "Oh wow, look at that cloud! Where are my buddies? OH, it's a horse eating bush! Is that a rabbit I smell? Where is it? Can I go look for it? I wonder if that grass I'm walking on would taste good. I can't walk through that water, I'll melt!" and any number of other distractions a young horse will encounter. They learn that fighting only results in more work and thus, being more tired before the real work begins. This results in a horse that is less likely to misbehave at the first of the ride, even if they are feeling a bit fresh that morning. I never get a horse tired by lunging them either. I expect a horse to know that the saddle, bridle, and rider means it is time to go to work now, not screw around going in circles for a half an hour working off that extra energy. They need that extra energy by the time I am through working them.

The Line:
A good horseman should be able to watch a horse, see the expressions in his eyes, ears, nostrils, neck, tail, flanks, feet, and every other part of his body and know exactly what the horse can withstand and what they cannot and the exact location of the fine line separating the two. Every time I handle a horse, I step them close to that line. Once you can read a horse, you can push them in their training. I get my best results when, each day, I push a horse just right up to that line and then let them ease back away from it. Each and every day, I push them to learn everything they are able and I keep a close eye on that line. When they get close to that line and are just almost ready to step into the void on the other side, I will back off. I go back to something that they are comfortable with, something that they have already mastered, even if it is just standing there or walking in an easy circle.

Each day, I push that line and each day, I find that line has moved a little farther away and I can push them more. Each day, that line will move farther and farther into the horizon until no matter how hard you push, you just can't seem to find the line. Soon, the horse will learn that even though you will often ask a lot from them, you will not ask them for more than they are able to do. That's when they start giving you more, almost like they want to find out for themselves exactly how far they can go. They are more willing to try new, scary, or complicated things and you can almost see the lightbulb moment when they understand and the happiness after they complete the task set for them. They are eager to go to work because they seem to be fulfilled knowing that they are wanted and needed. I honestly believe that they begin to feel a connection to us just as we do to them. They begin to have their own expectations and want nothing more than to please us, if only for a pat on the neck and a soft word of thanks.

It's like the little engine that could, they begin to believe that they can do things that sometimes even you wonder if it isn't too much for them. Because they believe that they are fast enough or strong enough, then somehow the task ends up done regardless of how difficult it was. What they may lack in ability can be mostly made up for in heart. Ability and training are the tools in a horse's arsenal, but the heart is what decides the winner. With horses like that, you can rope a brick house and there are only 2 possible outcomes when you ask them to drag it; either the house will be pulled off it's foundation or the horse will break every piece of tack you have and dig holes in the ground with his feet until you ask him to stop trying.

People ask how my mustang that was out of the wild not even a year and weighed maybe 900 pounds drug a 2000 pound steer out of a pen at a feedlot.
My answer: heart.

People ask how a racehorse with a broken leg keeps running and giving his all to cross that wire first.
My answer: heart.

I honestly believe that if you never expect anything during the training of a young horse, they know that you don't expect anything from them. They become content just to meander through life and the first time something happens that truly tests the horse, that line is suddenly precariously close. On the other side of that line is an endless black void called QUIT. Once a horse quits on you because you ask him for too much, there is no getting him back. Every time they hit a wall, they will either stop dead in their tracks or tuck tail and run instead of soaring over it or crashing through it. Because they have given their all failed before, they don't believe that they can succeed so they don't even try. That's when a horse's spirit is truly broken.

Every once in a while, you will find a horse with a fighter spirit that just won't quit no matter how many times they are flung into the vast abyss on the other side of the line; however, those horses are very few and far between. In my 25 years of being around countless horses, I have only ever met one horse like that. He had been abused, terrorized, and truly set up to fail time after time after time after time but was still willing to give everything he had and more to do whatever you asked of him.

It takes years of observing and testing before you can consistently find that line on every horse. In the process of learning to spot the line, you may not see it until after it is already behind you. Sometimes it just happens before you think it will. Sometimes you don't push a horse close enough to the line and it takes longer for it to fade into the distance or sometimes it will forever loom just past their own shadow. Each horse has to be handled according to their own line. Some horses begin life with the line straddled between their hooves and others start with a line that is on the far blue horizon. Learn to spot it and then learn to work toward it without stepping over to the other side and you will forever be astride a horse with heart.

It is true what they say. Truly the best of horsemen do walk a fine line.

WooHoo, my first post in my own blog.

This is a whole new thing for me and I am just wanting to kinda share my journey to becoming a professional horse trainer and some of the philosophies and lessons I learn along the way or things that I learned a long time ago that are still useful. I have some experience and have been training horses for myself and others off and on for the last 10 years or so but I am finally making the transition to professional soon. I mainly specialize in making nice, broke, anyone can ride them type horses that are used for ranch and trail work. I am now beginning to learn the finer points of making show quality horses from my Dad, who trained show horses for the better part of 30 years. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with others who may wish to learn or just share some interest in the process of taking an unhandled horse and creating a partner.