Different and faster best describe a horsemanship clinic at the Topeka Farm Show.
While there are similarities, every horseman has personal techniques used when training a horse.
Scott Daily, Arkansas City horse trainer, had a previously only halter-broke, three-year-old gelding saddled, ridden around the pen at a lope and unsaddled in a 30-minute program.
Minutes before starting time, Daily brought the Quarter Horse gelding, owned by Mike Mikos of Eskridge, into the round pen. The trainer trotted and loped the cremello around with persuasion from the long shank attached to a rope halter also equipped with rope reins.
Being soft-spoken and with a weak sound system, Daily’s commentary was difficult to hear as he described the maneuvers.
Rubbing the gelding with the lead and his hand, Daily soon lifted his saddle, with a lariat attached, and placed it on the horse’s back. “I put the off-stirrup over the seat, so it doesn’t scare him when it lands on the other side,” Daily noted.
There was little fright expressed by the horse as the girth was draped around his heart and pulled down. “I want it snug enough not to come off, but not so tight to hinder his breathing,” Daily said.
“I sometimes lay colts down to help desensitize them, but it’s not necessary with this lazy horse,” Daily shared.
“He is a good minded colt without a doubt,” the trainer credited.
The horse was soon circled around the pen at a walk, trot and lope with considerable persuasion required by Daily using the lead shank. Very little fright was apparent, and there was no attempt to buck or run off.
A short bull whip was brought out by Daily, who rubbed it over the horse’s neck. Soon, he popped the whip on each side and over the head of the gelding. “He’s a bit goosey and bug-eyed, but not mean or anything,” the clinician commented as he wrapped the whip over his own shoulder and knotted it behind his back.
“This horse is extremely gentle,” Daily recognized. “I’m just going on ahead and start riding him.”
With little warning, Daily mounted the horse which moved only slightly. “I pulled him off balance, but he’ll soon learn to stabilize himself when I mount,” Daily explained while getting off, remounting and then mounting from the right side. “Very good. That was the easy part,” he added.
From the horse’s back, Daily pulled the head toward his legs both directions so the gelding was soon turning in small circles on the forehand. “It’s essential to have control over his head,” Daily stated.
With continued persistence from the handler, the gelding started moving around the pen at a walk, then a trot and before long a lope, only with sluggish resistance. Never did the horse hump or try to get away.
Wearing spurs on his boots, Daily emphasized that he never used them but rather prodded the horse with his seat, legs and soon was tapping the lead shank on the horse’s hip. Considerable pressure was required to keep him loping.
Contending his mount was “still a little nervous,” Daily qualified, “his horse is pretty laid back. Most of those I work with are like him, but a few will buck around some.”
With little effort, the horse was stopped, and Daily uncoiled his lariat and started swinging it around. “I have to show him it isn’t hurting anything,” related Daily while dragging the rope under the horse’s legs as riding around the pen.
Unraveling the whip from around his shoulder, Daily soon was popping it from the horse’s back.
“This is really a nice horse,” Daily remarked as he dismounted.
“The whole purpose in horse training is establishing a working relationship between the horse and rider,” Daily summarized. “In order to accomplish this, the horse must become acquainted to handling by a human being.
“With adjustments, nurturing and well-tempered training, a relationship develops between the horse and rider. Horse training is that simple, and is the most important thing you will ever do to truly enjoy your horse and trust it to be your companion,” Daily concluded.