Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Three Types of Training

This is probably the best conformation pic I have Fox.

It seems to me that most of the training methods I have found that could be useful to Fox and I follow three very different paths.

The first: Tried and true practical horsemanship. The guys who have been around horses their entire life, know their ins and outs. Tough and firm but fair.

The second: Science a la Andrew McLean. Methods based on scientific studies of how a horses brain works, why a horse reacts the way he does in different situations and how a horse learns best.

The third: Spiritual. I'm not sure this is the right word for this but it follows the lines of Linda Tellington-Jones and a man named Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling. This is the genre I've probably done the least research on and I am desperately waiting on a Tellington-Jones book to be returned to the library so I can find out more about her methods.

The key thing here for me is that I am probably using bits of all three in varying degrees of competency. But can I keep mixing and matching all theses styles? Will I end up confusing Fox which will negate my aim for open honest communication? Am I thinking too much into how much it will effect Fox? It seems to be working so far but I really do tend to overthink things!

All I know is that by changing the way I think when I am around my horse and being aware of every little thing I do with him has changed Fox's behaviour considerably. He is still a little too ready to invade personal space and other bad ground manners and we have yet to tackle float loading but the improvement is major. From a stubborn obstinant horse, I now have one that I like hanging out with.


  1. Hi!
    So great to discover your blog. I really like what you've done her and will continue to enjoy catching up on your posts.
    I'd like to add something though: Personally, I would never put Linda Tellington-Jones and Klaus Hempfling in the same group of horsemanship styles. That's not to say I have anything against Mr. Hempfling.
    While Linda's personal style is quite spiritual, her horsemanship is backed by solid science in research into brain waves patterns heart coherence, mirror neurons, conformation studies, and more.
    The TTouch Method's foundation is touch--obviously :) --and that touch can be used to take a horse past its initial instinctive reactions to things such as fear, pain and fear of pain, which cause so many problem behaviors. The TTouch ground work and work under saddle is great, and unlike the training offered by other prominent training methods, uses no dominance. The point is to show the horse what is desired while allowing him time to think without anxiety.
    I'm wondering where you are located--are you in England? Check out www.tilleyfarm.co.uk/ if you are interested.
    In all, I think that Tellington-Jones has laid out a carefully-integrated left- and right-brain learning program for the horse that really works.
    I wish you luck in your search for a training program. Over at my blog (http://enlightenedhorsemanship.net) we have discussed the issue of cherry-picking from different trainers and still have not arrived at the right answer, especially for the novice horse person.
    Another possible trainer of interest is Anna Twinney at www.reachouttohorses.com
    Come see me at my blog some time! I'll be back to see you here!

  2. Thanks for that explanation!! I was unaware of her science. That's why I've been desperate to get my hands on her book as I can't seem to find out a huge amount of detail on the net. Sounds very interesting and definately worth persuing some more!
    I'm in New Zealand.

  3. Hi! discovering your blog. Mugwump advertised it on her blog ^-^

    I can relate to you. I bought a sold as "green broke" 4 yrs old 17.1hh WB mare. It turned out she was NOT started, bucked me off when I sat in the saddle for the first time. She was very dominant and she was using her size and her force to bully any human around her. Shoeing trimming vet etc... was very difficult.

    Yes she got a few well-deserved corrections, but it did not work, because she would become either fearfull OR agressive.

    Finally after three different trainers, and THREE years later, I called in a NH trainer. Within 5 minutes the mare changed her attitude. He taught me how to handle her. I had fantastic results on the ground. NO MORE BULLYING from her. Unfortunately under saddle she had taken over-me. I did not want to take the risk to hurt myself being a Mum and all that AND being a nervous rider ...

    I finally sold her to an eventer, he loves her to bit. She is his dream-horse, very athletic, bold, and funny ....

    My only wish ... when I realised that she was not broke, I should have sent her to the NH trainer who specialises in difficult horses. *MY* life and her life would have been much much much eaiser.

    I did not use "tried and tested" traditional horsemanship method, the firm anf fair method because she became more agressive and distrustfull.

    But you have the key of your problem you wrote it All I know is that by changing the way I think when I am around my horse and being aware of every little thing I do with him has changed Fox's behaviour considerably.

    When *YOU* change your horse will change. Whatever method you use. I am not into spiritual or traditional. I am more scientific like MacLean or NH (clinton Anderson or Parelli), it does not matter, it is down to the TRAINER who uses it. If you ask help for a trainer make sure he/she is specialed in DIFFICULT horses.
    All trainers are NOT trained for difficult horses, it is a specialty like pediatry in medecine.

    Good luck, but I think you are on the right tracks!

    Oh and Fox is gorgeous!

  4. Hello! Found you through Mugwump as well. I can definitely relate to you through my last horse Dylan. He was drugged when I got him and his owners lied through their teeth through the interview, and I was alas very inexperienced. Mine ended in a very bad match and an eventual re sale. I love how you have taken it head on however and I am enjoying reading about your journal. Keep up the great work it seems like you have made some great progress and have learned a bunch in the the process.

  5. Hey, thank you, Raven.

    I find black backgrounded white text blogs very painful to read. I have old eyes.
    I have an old Equus monograph of LTJ. I'll happily scan and send it to you, just drop me an e-mail that I can reply to. Could you read it as a jpg, or a pdf? It's a few pages, but not huge. I loved the Equus Monographs.

    My wonderful readers just sent me a copy of Sally Swift, have you ever read her?

    Best of luck, I don't really know your history yet, sorry. I can't read this type of blog for very long:(

  6. Just wanted to say your boy is adorable!

  7. Sorry GoLightly. Maybe I'll try have a play round I like the black cause pictures look good against it.
    I have added my e-mail to my profile.
    Thanks Stacey!

  8. That's awesome, I can't imagine how hard for your boy to have three type of horsemanship. But he's wonderful. You try also to check Saltriver horsemanship for more ideas.