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Over the years Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship has developed a method for training horses regardless of their age, history, or any behavioral issues and past traumas. Join him on his weekly endeavors of tackling some of the most challenging situations with problem horses, and problem owners. This week, we watch as Clinton embarks on a journey that involves starting colts with all of the important foundations of a well-trained horse.
Starting colts is one of Clinton’s passions and he views it as a tremendously rewarding experiencing. You truly have to start from square one with colts; otherwise it can be a dangerous ordeal. In the first segment of this episode, Clinton is going to cover how to catch a wild Mustang and how to get up to him and get a halter on him without scaring him. Clinton uses a variety of tools—a plastic bag on the end of a stick, a lariat, a long line, a halter, and a lead rope—to build the wild mustang’s confidence about being approached. This is a delicate process that starts with the fundamentals and Clinton tries to avoid triggering the horse’s fight or flight reactions. Instead, he wants him to start using the thinking side of his brain. To do this, it’s important to get the horse into the round pen to start to build his confidence and gain his respect.
From here, Clinton starts moving the colt’s feet to establish direction. Forwards, backwards, left, and right—using all of exercises in the the Clinton Anderson Fundamentals. Step two involves establishing direction to the inside then step three is to establish a consistent change of direction. When these steps are mastered, Clinton will move on to step four, getting the horse to stop, turn, and face him, and step five, which is getting the horse to follow Clinton around the round pen. These are the same exercises as in the Fundamental Series, with a little less initial pressure since the horse is wild.
Clinton moves on to putting the saddle on the wild Mustang, which needs to be done very carefully since it is the horse’s first exposure. If things go badly, it’s going to create a dangerous situation where the horse is frightened and his confidence from any earlier training goes out the window. Put the equipment out in the round pen to let the wild colt get used to it, smell it, see it, and realize that it’s not a threat. The key is to desensitize him. Eventually, you can slowly start to put the saddle on your wild colt, making sure to take the proper precautions and go at the pace of your wild horse. Once the saddle is on, Clinton works on more basic fundamentals to get the Mustang used to doing work with something on his back.
It’s time to try out the wild Mustang’s first ride. If the first ride goes well, things are optimistic. If it goes poorly, there can be problems and every subsequent ride could get worse. Clinton reminds us that the key to having a great, successful first ride is preparation—a rope hackamore is a great tool for this. This takes time, but shouldn’t be rushed if you want to set up the right foundation of trust and respect for your colt. We get a chance to see Clinton’s progress on his 14th ride with this particular wild Mustang and see a remarkable difference in his demeanor and confidence levels.
The Clinton Anderson method is a tried and true way of getting the most out of your partnership with your horse—even with colts. To help take your horsemanship skills to the next level, Clinton has released the latest installment of his professional series collection, the Colt Starting Series. Remember, training a young horse can be rewarding, or it can be challenging—getting the right start will make all the difference. In the Colt Starting Series, Clinton Anderson takes you step by step through his proven process for starting a young horse that establishes the foundation for a rewarding lifelong partnership. The Colt Starting Series includes over 27 hours of video footage and 26 Arena Mates that follow a wild Mustang as he transitions from untouched to a safe and willing partner using 49 exercises that cover haltering, saddling, introducing the rider’s weight, and more. Clinton gives you the confidence to take your colt from initial ride to riding on the trail, let Clinton Anderson help you and your colt get the right start for the lifetime of rewards that will follow.