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After years of working with horses, Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship developed a tried and true method for training them. He believes that getting a horse to behave is simple; training people is the real trick. Horses are beautiful animals, but can be dangerous if they’re fearful or disrespectful, which is a bad combination. To stay out of these situations and be safe, owners need to gain their horse’s respect. In this week’s episode, we learn about the Gryder family’s frustrations that have turned to fear when dealing with their horse Havi.
The Gryder’s have had Havi, a Quarter Horse, since he was born, which makes his distrust of humans even more frustrating. He was always a little bit skittish, but things have continued to get worse as time passed. Havi is only a year old, but he’s developed enough bad habits for a horse twice his age. Now, everyone in the Gryder family is too scared to get in the pen with him.
Havi displays behaviors that indicate his lack of trust in people. While he can be managed at times, every once in a while he turns his rear end to you, kicks up his heels, and pins his ears. Scott Gryder explains that the bigger he gets, the more difficult he is. Clinton tells Scott that it’s good he came when he did, as the bigger and stronger he gets with an attitude problem, the more dangerous and difficult it will be to correct.
They start by going into the roundpen with Havi to see where the problems reside. Scott steps in and, per Clinton’s instructions, tries to catch Havi. He explains that this is the biggest issue—it’s close to impossible to get their hands on him to further work on everything else. Clinton’s first impression of Havi is that he’s been getting his own way for too long and hasn’t been pressured enough. To fix his problems, Clinton wants to go back to the beginning and work on fundamentals, gain Havi’s respect, and desensitize him.
Clinton begins Havi’s training with the Fundamentals Roundpenning Exercises. The first step in training is establishing direction. The second step is establishing a change of direction to the inside. And the third step is establishing a consistent change of direction to the inside. Step four is getting Havi to turn and come into the middle of the pen with Clinton.
To further strengthen this new leadership role, Clinton explains the importance of groundwork. Moving Havi’s feet forwards, backwards, left and right gets a horse to use the thinking side of his brain and establishes you as the leader in your partnership. This is the type of hands-on instruction that is so valuable for owners to learn.
Clinton then works on desensitizing Havi to the lead rope and tells Scott that the more you try to scare your horse, the quieter your horse will become. Sneaking around a horse doesn’t do anyone any good—you need to be deliberate. When Havi is confident about Clinton moving the lead rope all over his body, Clinton increases the pressure by throwing the lead rope at Havi and continues until the colt stands still and shows a sign of relaxing. Scott practices this with Havi for a few minutes while Clinton explains the importance of mixing desensitizing exercises with sensitizing ones.
At the end of the day, consistency is your greatest ally and inconsistency is your greatest enemy. You have to spend time with your horse if you want him to get broke. If you want success, you have to follow the Method completely, just like how if you want to make a cake, you have to follow the recipe and use all of the ingredients.
When Scott leaves Clinton’s ranch, he could see a night and day difference in Havi. Havi started out fearful, full of energy, and disrespectful and left calm, quiet, and acting like he actually wanted to be around people.
Remember, whatever you think your problem is, is usually just a symptom of the cause. To fix the problem, follow the Clinton Anderson training method step by step and within a week you’ll notice a remarkable difference in your horse. To learn more, visit our site and browse our ultimate collection of kits.