Here at Paisano, the training never stops. Every day, we talk about horses that are making progress and, unfortunately training set-backs, or as I call it, backsliding. Backsliding is a term you Southern Baptists will probably recognize but if not, backsliding is when someone, or something, reverts to their old way of doing things and all their training goes right out the window. Horses are masters at backsliding.
But horses, like people, are happier, more confident and more productive when they are well trained. Yes, training takes time and resources, two things we often run short of. But the short and long-term benefits far outweigh the effort it takes to “finish” a horse, or a person for that matter.
In horse training, it seems as though progress is measured in minutes (the amount of time since the last training session) and we spend a fair amount of time re-training on something we thought we had already mastered. And frustration rules the day. Sound familiar?
When I think about training I think of Meryl Haggard’s rendition of the country song One Day at a Time and the line when he sings “Lord for my sake, teach me to take, one day at a time...”
Know Your Target
Because we train a lot and we repeat a lot, it is critical that we adhere to a training process. If not, we would be dizzy from chasing our proverbial tales!
Our training approach is this:
A Classic “horse” Story
We see horses in trailers all the time and likely assume that horses love going for a ride and that loading in a trailer is second nature to a horse. Nothing could be further from the truth and in fact, horses are flight animals and VERY claustrophobic! But trailering a horse is unavoidable and a horse that won’t load is a danger to themselves and everyone around them! So this fundamental training is central to our life and our horses must load easily and safely.
So here is our process for teaching a horse to load properly.
First, our goal is to have our horse step up into the trailer and move to the front, facing forward on their own. Simple enough!
Second, our training plan requires getting our horse comfortable and confident around and in the trailer. Our training plan includes teaching our horse to move forward on command, pass through a doorway, and feel comfortable in a confined space.
Step Three; We follow our plan:
Effective training is the life-blood of a well-run operation. But it takes time and resources. Whether it’s something as simple as teaching your staff to load or perhaps something more advanced like learning to side-pass or open and close gates, someone has to do it! If you need help designing and implementing an effective training process at your club we can help with training guides, on-site Train-the-trainers and internet based training courses.
Before you reach the end of your rope, call me and let’s discuss your needs. And remember that song, One Day at a Time!