Just Stay Out of The Way...

Posted by Sharon Labels: , , , , ,

Several years ago, when I was training a three-year-old reining prospect, I asked my husband if he would like to get on and try a sliding stop. After a few coached rundowns to the fence, I told him he was ready to run Cimarron at full speed and "stop short".

"Collect him for a few strides, slowly lower your hand, keep riding all the way to the stop, say "whoa" and stay out of his way," I instructed. It was one of only a few times Don followed my instructions to the letter. . . and Cimarron slid 30 feet!

A lot of horse training technique is exactly that - staying out of the horse's way. I watch my young horses running and playing (my barometer for their talent) and it's pretty obvious that most of the ones I raise now can do what I will be asking of them - if I let them do it! Check out these two photos of week-old foals doing what comes naturally...

Wildwood Sable stopping (and ready for a rollback!)

Wildwood Sapphire going "down the fence" like her mother does...

...and Wildwood Liberty, first photo as a yearling in 2007, then as a three-year-old "trained" reiner in 2009!

Wildwood Liberty running free 2007 - one year old. (Photo by Verna Allinson)

Wildwood Liberty and Terry Lee Sapergia at the Canadian Supreme 2009 (Photo by Sharon Latimer)

Horse training is simply putting a horse in a position where it is easier for him to do the maneuver than not do it - and staying out of his way so he can! Cimarron's stop was like that, but so are circles, a spin or a lead change. I can "fix" or position before or after the maneuver but it generally works better if I stay out of my horse's way when he is actually executing the maneuver. When I start my colts, I don't want to mess up that natural talent they were born with!

Sable and Sapphire are two year olds now. Sable has went on to another home and, from all reports is going to be a fantastic reiner. I am riding Sapphire and she is super athetic and sweet. I'm showing her what I want and trying to stay out of her way so she can show me she can.