An Opinion, an Apology

There was a thing going around on Facebook about a Clinton Anderson horse training video. He makes reference to tree hugger idiot not agree with his trading methods. In the video he was riding a paint horse named Titan who was at the time his NRHA futury prospect. I’ve been around Reining some and have seen this type of horse traing before.   I barely watched a minute of the video till I saw Clinton, abruptly snatch at the horse’s face, which was clearly a punishment for the horse hoping for freedom from what has always looked to me like a uncomfortable way to have to carry your head, some call collection. 

I maybe still have some opnions after all. Here was my comments (just in case you weren’t clear about where I stand on horse-man relationships. lol) 
“Well, never thought of myself as a tree hugger, idiot or not but I do have a lot of respect for horses. Not trying to puff myself but just to let you know that maybe I do have a leg to stand when I express my opinion I’d like to preface my comments with this. I’ve started a few young horses in my life and made my living on horseback for 15 years or so with a lot of 10 hour days in the saddle, rain or shine. I spent a few months working for a reining horse trainer, had the privilege of scribing for John Snoblen which was a great learning opportunity but I discovered quickly it wasn’t an industry that held much draw for me; I like to see a horse given some freedom to think for themselves and some of the movements they were requiring seems unnatural and forced. 
I personally, believe in partnership not punishment. It took me a long time to learn that one thing, one of my greatest regrets. For me, the master/slave relationship that the first snatch up on those reins portrayed, reminded me of how it used to be in the horse industry. A lot of atrocities were commited on horses in the name of training, which then was literally breaking a horse. That snatch was no where near the level I have witnessed but still you can see the mindset behind it. 
Ok, enough rambling on. I guess my point here is that I believe there’s a better way and my respect is saved for trainers whose main focus is: what’s best for the horse, so I’m kind on the side of folks who were a little offended. I like to think the best of folks and I hope it’s a perspective that, if Clinton can keep humble, he’ll eventually see himself.
A fellow replied. 

sometimes we have to do whatever it takes to get the message across, a good friend and successful horse had a saying that I thought summed it up “demand nothing more, accept nothing less”

From me again. 

“My point was kind of about learning it’s not a demand or accept type of thing. It’s really not all about only what we as horsemen want but about how we can teach ourselves and our horse to be on the the same page. I’ve learned there’s a way to take in the “voice” of the horse and consider his opinion about the whole thing. Just one little example: my husband was asked to put some time on an older Zan Par Bar bed stud that had been used just for breeding for many years. His owners were not comfortable riding him because of some of his history. My husband wouldn’t let me ride out with him when he used this horse having been forewarned. He came back one day really happy about a breakthrough he had with the horse. It was such a simple thing really. He’d asked the horse to cross some running water but the horse was not cooperative so he chose to ride him upstream to a spot that actually was a safer place to cross and asked again. He had to encourage (mind you nothing like demand but ask more than once) and when the horse realized the footing was safe he went through. The horse changed from that moment on and I witnessed a relation of trust between that man and that horse that isn’t very often seen and that I envied. That horse would have done anything that particular man asked of him. I have the privilege of being married to that man and feel the same way.”

I’d forgotten about the hero part of who I am married to and have, of late, just seen the flaws. I think because town puts everything in a darker light for me, cut off from all those things that have given me so much joy. It darkens my vision and life goes bleak. 

So, in tears this morning, I apologized to my cowboy even though he was sitting there in his cursed baseball hat playing on his iPhone. I’ve seen who he really is. The man that his horse, Buddy (and Buddy’s Dad, Big Doc), trusted and loved so much. 

So, there’s the last apology/forgiveness on my long (silly) list. Hopefully it’s enough to get me Home. 

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One response to “An Opinion, an Apology

  1. I’m totally with you on this one. I deplore the training methods of self aggrandized trainers and show barns. And Clinton and humble are two words that don’t exactly go together- at this time.
    I have a friend who has worked for several different trainers in various events and the stories she tells of what she sees on a daily basis have really soured me on “professional” trainers. You are blessed to be married to a man who has learned to connect with the horses that made up the better part of his working day for all those years.
    And by the way- I bet as much as your new lifestyle is hitting you hard, I bet it is doing the same thing to him. Each person deals with things differently.
    Blessings and hugs, and your list is not silly. I’ve been doing the same thing lately.

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