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Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship has a tried-and-true method for training horses, and it begins with training the owner. Using his method, Clinton works to tackle some of the most challenging situations with problem horses and problem owners.
In this week’s episode, we get to see Clinton work with Cider for the third time to strengthen her training. Back in Part 1, we were introduced to Cider, a 6-year-old, Palomino rescue mare from Habitat for Horses. She was very frightened of humans and skeptical of relinquishing control, but after two sessions she’s able to perform all of the roundpen techniques and is considerably less frightened. Now, we’ll watch as Clinton starts to work Cider’s feet, yield her hindquarters and forequarters, and back her up in an effort to gain more control.
Clinton begins by using the halter and lead rope to put pressure on Cider and get her to disengage her hindquarters. This helps us control the horse’s gas pedal, steering wheel, and brake. Clinton uses the halter and lead rope to put rhythmic pressure on Cider and gain control of her movements. When he wants her to stop he simply rubs her. His goal is to have her front legs stay put and her hind legs revolve around in a 360-degree circle.
This exercise continues into stage two, where Clinton works to get Cider to yield her hindquarters and face him with two eyes when he looks toward her hindquarters with active body language. When she doesn’t give him two eyes, he applies pressure. When she correctly disengages her hindquarters and faces him with two eyes, he rubs her with the stick for praise.
When Cider gets the hang of yielding her hindquarters, Clinton progresses into Lunging for Respect. Unlike traditional lunging, Lunging for Respect asks the horse to move their feet forwards, backwards, left, and right, constantly changing directions. Clinton’s goal is to send Cider out onto a circle by just pointing with his hand holding the lead rope. He’s looking for Cider to trot energetically around him with her nose tipped in towards him, creating some slack in the lead rope. Then, when he looks toward her hindquarters, Cider should yield and face him with two eyes.
In Lunging for Respect Stage Two, Clinton works to get Cider to stop on her hindquarters and roll over her hocks and go off in the opposite direction, just like a cutting horse that stops, pivots, and turns. Getting the horse to stop, roll back and go in the opposite direction is done in five steps: palm up, stick in your hand, slide your hand down the rope, step in front of the drive line, and point up high, and, if necessary, swing with the stick towards the horse’s head and neck. This exercise helps a horse mentally refocus and helps you gain control of the forequarters. It’s another way to earn the horse’s respect and get her to use the thinking side of the brain.
After all of the sensitizing exercises, Clinton moves on to desensitizing. He reminds us that it’s important to show Cider that just because he approaches her it doesn’t mean she has to move her feet. He desensitizes Cider by throwing things at her that won’t hurt her like the rope and the stick and string. He desensitizes her with his training tools so she respects them, but doesn’t fear them.
Throughout the rest of the episode, Clinton teaches Cider to flex to the rope halter and lead rope. He works through this exercise on both Cider’s left and right sides to ensure that she’s equally soft on both sides of her body. Cider gets lighter and lighter.
After working with Cider through these exercises, he tells us that he’s going to tie her up with an Aussie Tie Ring to let her think about the lessons they just went through. This encourages the development of patience. Clinton ends the episode continuing to desensitize Cider and praising her for a successful training day.
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, you can visit us here!