The days of "breaking horses" are pretty much a thing of the past. Training horses has evolved into a much kinder, more humane way of teaching; thanks in part to John Rarey, considered the original horse whisperer. Rarey trained with kindness, patience and firmness. He was a master at taming horses who other trainers had deemed too vicious or wild to train.
Who Was John Rarey?
As he aged, Rarey grew his career of training equines and conducted exhibitions and published a small book explaining his method of training. he caught the attention of the British royals and he gladly showed them his skills on horses they deemed “trouble.” He was given the challenge of “taming” a particularly vicious animal called “Cruiser.” Rarey was able to use his method to tame the equine much to the amazement of its owner, Lord Dorchester. The taming of Cruiser solidified Rarey’s fame.
The Rarey Technique of Equine Training
Rarey is most known for his work with traumatized or "mean" horses. He would perform a technique that came to be known as "rareify" which means to "tame a horse by kindness," or "to win by love." This method entails drawing up the near foreleg of the equine and positioning the leg close to its body with a short strap. The horse is relegated to standing on three legs and cannot buck or kick. The next step is to fasten one end of a longer strap to the lower foreleg of the far front leg of the animal; thread the other end through a loop in a belt around the horse's belly. This enables the trainer to bring the equine to its knees in a humane, injury free manner. Putting weight into its shoulder will cause it to lie down, after about ten minutes or so. The horse is submissive to the trainer and it is at that moment when a trust is formed between the equine and trainer.[1
While training the average horse does not include this method, it illustrates the basic principles of calmness, patience and kindness in equine training. Many modern day trainers use various forms of these principles in their methods of training.
Laying a Horse Down
Caution: only experienced trainers should attempt this
Modern Training Methods
The equine is an intelligent highly trainable prey animal. In the past, horse wranglers used two methods to "break" their wild mounts: punishment and fatigue. Cowboys did not consider it
Eventually, man learned that the best way to train horses was by using kindness and using the animal's natural instincts; in essence, the trainer becomes the dominant member of the herd. The animal learns to trust and follow commands of the "dominant "horse." Trainers such as, Craig Cameron, John Lyons,
The one thing all of these trainers as well as most other trainers who give clinics and train professionally, have one thing in common. They use the kind yet firm method of training. When a trainer has received trust from the horse; the animal will do just about anything for the trainer. Displays of this
Trainers do not use punishment. What they teach the equine instead is to make a better decision. Horses tend to be reactionary; like most prey animals their first instinct is to flee. Today's training methods teach them to think before fleeing. Horses are rewarded by release of pressure and rest. Trainers listen to the body language of the horse and it quickly learns the body movements of the trainer and associates the movement with what the trainer is asking the horse to do.
Breaking Horses a Thing of the Past
There will probably always be the few who try to train a horse by "breaking it." However, these people are generally cruel and abusive. Today's trainers whether professional or amateur, use methods based on t
Just because someone rides horses does not mean the person is a trainer. Some people have natural instincts with equines, like Rarey, they are able to learn how to train horses without the aids of clinics, DVDs or books. However, for the average person, it is wise to get guidance from an experienced trainer.
The copyright of the article The Horse Whisperer Method of Horse Training is owned by Cheryl Weldon and permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.
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