Ranch Open House
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Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship is a dedicated horseman with a unique gift for training horses. His famous method involves training the owner first and then working on the horse. Clinton understands that while horses are beautiful, athletic and strong, they don’t realize their power and can be dangerous if they don’t respect you. That’s why Clinton dedicates himself to tackling some of the most challenging situations with problem horses and problem owners.
In this week’s episode, we’ll watch as Clinton works with a wild rescue horse named Kitty who’s recovering from a rough past. Kitty was turned out on a 1,700-acre pasture on a ranch then forgotten about for three years. When her current owner Kerri got her, she was underfed, underweight, covered in ticks, and in an all-around horrible condition. The halter that was left on her had grown into the bridge of her nose and was clearly infected. Clinton tells us how dangerous keeping a halter on a horse for long periods of time is—it can lead to skin actually growing over the halter. Kitty was not doing well.
Kerri could tell that despite Kitty’s condition, she wasn’t a mean or an aggressive horse. They started to bond. Then in 2011, a wildfire started near their home in Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas. Kerri had to evacuate, and she tried to get Kitty somewhere safe, but Kitty refused to get into the trailer. To make sure she wasn’t trapped when the fire reached the barn, Kerri opened the gate and let Kitty go. Kerri’s house burned along with her neighbor’s. Thankfully, Kitty was seen a few days after the fire alive and well. She showed incredible self-preservation, but still struggles with human contact.
Now, Kerri wants to bond with Kitty and show her what it feels like to trust a human. Luckily, she’s come to the right place.
Clinton begins the episode by letting us know that he’s basically going to treat Kitty like a big foal. With her previous traumas, he wants to start at square one and work from the basics up. He tells Kerri that he and his assistant Brittany will be working exclusively with Kitty for four days straight so that when Kerri comes back to the ranch, she’ll find a new horse. Using the Downunder Horsemanship Method, you can fix any horse, no matter what they’ve been through.
The first step is to establish direction and earn the horse’s respect by gaining control of their feet. You accomplish this by moving the horse forwards, backwards, left and right. When you do this, you allow a mental connection to forge between the horse and the trainer. Because of Kitty’s past, she struggles initially with having any object moving around her head, but she gains confidence quickly. Brittany takes control of the training and works with Kitty twice a day, for four days, about an hour-and-a-half each session. Kitty responds great and starts showing behavior that indicates that she’s using the thinking side of her brain. It’s huge progress.
After four days, Kitty is reintroduced to Kerri. It’s an emotional introduction and Kerri starts to cry after seeing Kitty for the first time. It’s overwhelming when you want the best for your horse and they just seem to keep getting stuck on the wrong end of the deal.
Clinton shows Kerri a few things to help with training, including the Jeffrey’s Method, where he lays on Kitty and just rubs her all over like a human curry comb. He explains that Kitty let’s this happen because of the amount of desensitizing that he practiced with her. The exercise helped her get over her fear of humans. Clinton moves on to show Kerri Lunging for Respect Stage One, the Sending Exercise, and Circle Driving. Then he has Kerri get in the roundpen and work with Kitty herself.
Kerri gets in the pen with Kitty and starts rubbing the mare for the first time in their partnership. To say it’s an emotional reconnection is an understatement. She continues rubbing the mare until Kitty shows signs of relaxing. Clinotn then has Kerri practice the groundwork exercises and gives her pointers so that she knows how to continue to work with Kitty at home. He reminds her that all she needs to do is follow the Fundamentals level of the Downunder Horsemanship Method and she’ll quickly gain Kitty’s respect and see extraordinary results in her training.
Clinton Anderson is dedicated to helping horsemen everywhere understand how to gain their horse’s respect. To learn more about the Clinton Anderson training method, or to get information on any of the products seen on today’s show, head over to Clinton’s website!