Would you like to drive down the road knowing the neighbor’s 16-year-old teenager with 90 days of driving experience was operating an 18 wheeler? What about your own teenager? Would it make a difference if he made an A in driver’s ed? The answer is obvious, the lack of training and experience makes the idea completely unacceptable.
Let’s take it a step farther. Is your teenager smarter and more capable of learning than a horse? Unfortunately many people have the notion that a horse has the ability to learn everything necessary to make a good trail horse in 90 – 120 days. It doesn’t happen that way.
A solid trail horse takes training and experience. Just like a kid learning to drive, it takes time combined with knowledge about how to appropriately deal with the situation at hand. Your horse is no different. Any other expectations are unrealistic. Horses have limited intelligence compared to humans and suffer the natural language barrier that allows us to communicate ideas and concepts to one another.
It takes years, not months to make a good trail horse. Some horses learn faster than others and certain trainers have more skill and ability to teach, but no one has the ability to turn out an experienced, well-trained trail horse in a few months. So if you are looking for a horse you trust, find one that has been given the time, patience, and effort required to properly train it. Also make sure the horse has the mind it takes for a quality trail horse. Just like some people don’t belong behind the wheel of the big rigs, some horses don’t have the mental and emotional makeup for the trail and unexpected things that come up.
We frequently receive inquiries from people wanting horse training. Many times these horses aren’t suited for the job. They are naturally too high-strung to develop into the quality horse we want. It doesn’t mean the horse can’t be ridden on the trails by an experienced rider, but the horse will not become the quiet, willing, and trusting steed they hope to have. It isn’t going to happen no matter how many thousands of dollars they spend on training.
Our program selects horses physically, emotionally, and mentally fit to do the job. Do we always get the right horse? Absolutely not. We have to cull those that aren’t capable and from time to time load the trailer for the sale barn if a horse we thought would work just doesn’t cut it. While we put a lot of effort into finding the right material from the start, the only way to really know is to put the horse in the program to see what he can and will do.
When our horses graduate, the customer is receiving the benefit of our selection, culling, training, and two-years of wet blankets on the trail and working at the ranch. If someone tries to tell you they can do all of this in 90 -120 days, consider letting them teach your teenager to drive. In closing, if you have unrealistic horse training expectations, you will undoubtedly be disappointed.