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Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship has a truly inspiring partnership with horses. He believes that while they’re smart, graceful, strong, and athletic, they can also be dangerous when not handled correctly. To avoid any risky situations, an owner needs to gain their horse’s respect, learn how to control their horse, and make it very clear that they are a trustworthy leader. In this training session, we learn about the struggles that MacKenzie Davis is facing with her horse Jetta and learn along with her as she overcomes her fears.
Not too long ago, MacKenzie’s mare brutally attacked her mother Leslie. Jetta turned and faced Leslie with her ears flattened back against her head and her eyes zeroed in. Before Leslie could react, she was knocked down, hit a few times, bitten, and even kicked. Today, Jetta continues to show aggressive tendencies. Due to the nature of the attack, neither of them feels safe and MacKenzie has lost her confidence around Jetta. While she doubts Clinton’s ability to truly turn her mare around, she thought it was the best available option and worth a try.
Clinton approaches MacKenzie’s horse the same way he does other aggressive horses—with a strong black-and-white attitude, heaps of confidence, and outwardly projected courage. He believes that to gain MacKenzie’s horse’s respect, he needs to start moving her feet forwards, backwards, left, and right to establish control. Since the mare has shown such aggressive behavior in the past, Clinton communicates that his priority, first and foremost, is to stay safe. To do this, he needs to catch the horse in a way so that she doesn’t attack him and then work with her in a safe environment where he can start training her.
He catches MacKenzie’s horse by teaching her to look at him and give him two eyes anytime he approaches her. Once the horse is safely haltered, Clinton’s next goal is to earn her respect and gain control of her feet by working with her in the roundpen. Whenever Clinton works with a horse in the roundpen, he focuses on five steps: 1) Establishing Direction; 2) Change of Direction to the Inside; 3) Consistent Change of Direction to the Inside; 4) Draw the Horse Into You, and 5) Teach the Horse to Follow You. Clinton works MacKenzie’s horse through each step to teach her to respect and trust him. As her training progresses, her surly attitude and aggressiveness give way to willingness and responsiveness.
While Clinton shows fearless behavior, it’s apparent that MacKenzie is still struggling to put on a brave face. In the video, Clinton acknowledges that feeling intense emotions and fear around a horse after such a traumatic attack is completely normal and over time, the feelings will fade. The key is to continue adding to your horsemanship knowledge and to be a trustworthy leader for your horse. He explains the importance of MacKenzie doing the horse training herself to avoid any future setbacks or attacks. Throughout the clip, we watch as MacKenzie’s confidence grows, her horse’s attitude softens, and she reunites with the animal she once knew and loved.
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