The first thing I give my colts, is Confidence. It's so important to let a horse know he can do what you're asking, that he can find the answer, and that he's able to please you. Don't try to confuse them on purpose to make a point about something, instead, always set them up to be right. The difference between a horse who's confident, and one who doesn't believe in himself, is staggering. Within my first 90 days I aspire to develop a new language between me and my colt, one that gives him the confidence to talk to me. In this process, I remove fear, establish trust, and foster the colts essential willingness to please. Through kindness, patience, and preparation, I design a horse that is always there when I need him most, whether it's in the show pen, arena, or outside on the trail!
My entire understanding of horse training can be summed up in one brilliant quote by Portuguese dressage instructor, Nuno Oliviera, who says, “Technique can get to a certain level, but beyond that, a certain connection with the horse's heart is necessary.” With that in mind, everything I do with my young horses is developed on a deep level of communication, unity, and trust.
A horse is not something to be conquered, or forced into submissiveness, and should never be trained by fear or pain. Always remember, “if a horse is trained by force, then force will be required to ride it.” Although my methods are based loosely on classical avoidance training, I consider my techniques to be centrally focused on developing a clear language and dialogue between horse and human. To train a horse is to have a conversation, and without speaking the same language, nothing can be said. However, it’s important to understand that horses and humans speak entirely different languages, therefore, in order for conversation to be achieved, a new language must be developed, one that is unique to horse and rider. To me, training is both the art of teaching a language to the horse, and learning a language from the horse. When I ask, the horse replies. When I speak, the horse listens. When we communicate, the horse understands. My method is patient, and employs a true understanding of the horse itself.