“Time and patience make the difference.”
That was the emphasis of Scott Daily in the fourth session of the horse training clinics presented again as a feature of the recent Topeka Farm Show.
In a return engagement, the Arkansas City horseman added, “Still, some horses take less time than others. This young stallion is a fast learner, but there are horses that take considerably longer to understand what a stranger might be expecting from them.”
Daily admitted, “This colt acted like he was going to be a problem when I first started to catch him this morning, but he’s really coming around quite well.”
In the second workout with the coming two-year-old dun colt brought to the Expocentre by longtime Quarter Horse breeder Barb Hewes, Daily said, “This horse had never been handled before I was fortunate to slip the halter on him. He was pretty rambunctious getting into this round pen. But, this colt has really melted and is progressing quite well this afternoon.”
With only a loose rope halter and long lead rope on, the horse was described as “sulking,” as Daily calmly moved him around the pen both directions at a walk, trot and canter.
The clinician rubbed all over the young horse with hands and rope, before re-saddling, then slowly stepped on and then off both sides, before settling softly into the saddle seat.
Slightly tugging the dun’s head both directions, Daily soon had the horse moving forward. “All I am is a passenger. I just want him to know I’m not going to hurt him in any way. As long as I stay calm, he’s more inclined to not get too excited.”
Still, the colt was very cautious in moving forward, “clamming up,” such that eventually Daily requested outside assistance. Mike Mikos, Eskridge horseman who also brought a young horse for Daily to train during the three-days of clinics, prodded the stallion around the pen with a small flag on the end of a buggy whip of sort.
As the dun “freed up,” Daily took his lariat from the saddle horn and popped it on his own leg and touched his mount lightly on the hip to increase movement.
Before long, the colt moved into a resisted trot, and with continued pressure from rider and assistant advanced into a collected canter, first one direction, and then the other.
Soon, the rider was swinging his lariat while galloping his mount, and then brought out a bullwhip that was snapped all around the horse’s head and body.
“All of these people in a tight enclosure inside a barn can make a horse more timid, so he really didn’t seem to have much inclination to ever buck. However, it could change the next time I ride him.
“Or, let this horse think about it overnight, take him into a wide open environment, things could be dramatically different. But, the colt seems to have a lot of common sense after he got used to me,” Daily credited.
The clinician pointed out, “I have spurs on, but I don’t use them, or even squeeze my legs much during the first few rides. I mostly smooch my lips and encourage forward movement with light taps of the rope.
“The main thing is to not get in a hurry. It’ll take lots of time, years before this horse can be developed to his potential. Students don’t learn everything in a few weeks of school, or even in a number of years, and horses continue to learn all of their lives with their handlers’ patience and guidance,” Daily contended.
Originally from Inola, Oklahoma, Daily began working with horses in 4-H. “I started out riding horses for some friends, just helping them out,” said Daily. “They had show horses and race horses, and it just grew from there.”
Completing a degree in equine management at Northeastern A&M College in Miami, Oklahoma, Daily explained, “I never thought I would be training horses as a profession. Then, a guy saw me working horses and asked me about doing a clinic. I did one, then did some state fairs and started working farm shows. It’s been great.”
Owning and operating Daily Horse Training Stable, Daily trains about 200 horses a year, while conducting training clinics throughout the Midwest. “I’ve had many different horses, and I love helping horses develop and become their best,” said Daily.
After working with challenging colts and horses for more than 15 years, Daily has developed and perfected his training techniques.
While he didn’t do it with the colt during this clinic session, Daily explained, “Sometimes I’ll lay a horse down to eliminate fears and help build trust between it and myself.”
When preparing for a series of clinics, Daily always asks for the rawest, roughest, ill-mannered horses available in the area. So far, Daily said he hasn’t met a horse he couldn’t handle.
“I’ve had some that have been darn sure challenging,” said Daily. “I had one a couple of years ago that would come and try to strike and bite me. But, he eventually got so he trusted me, and we got along good.
“You have to have a lot of confidence whenever you go in with a horse. You just have to stick to your plan and read your horse real well. Some horses might be very defying, but that’s when you have to just keep on trying.”
Daily says the most gratifying part of his job is being able to give horses a second chance with their owners.
“People will bring horses to me that are on their last hope just to see if I can get anything done with them. Usually, I can change those horses’ minds around. I think that’s a pretty good deal on its own, when I help them get their horse to where they can enjoy it. That’s the main thing.
“I really enjoy meeting the people and working with their horses. So, it works out really nice,” Daily recognized.