Art is 69 years old, well versed in traditional training methods and, after reading an article about Foundation Training in Natural Horse magazine, (and being a typical New Englander) traveled halfway across the country to see if “FT walked the walk or just Talked the talk.” The following is the email he sent home while visiting our facility here in Hutchins, Texas.
Cold and wet here and muddy. Haven’t been able to work with the horses a lot but what I’ve seen is very impressive. It is hard to believe that it’s possible to develop a bridge language with the horse where he can understand and interact with a human but I’ve seen it using simple hand signals and verbal instruction. The horse becomes like a child that willingly and enjoyable interacts. He is still a horse with all his instincts but when properly approached and taught can adapt in a relationship I’ve never before seen. Once this method is seen it becomes obvious that most of the training methods with comfort/discomfort are in the wrong direction. For the horse to participate with no halter, ropes, tools or confinement allows him to make the choice. Of course there is something he wants out of the relationship just as there is something the human wants out of it. To see it achieved without punishment or restraint is very enlightening. A child should not be punished for a mistake while in a learning process but rather helped to correct it and go on to the desired behavior. It is hardly possible to tell in words the interaction between human and horse for it must be seen to fully appreciate. To see the horse co-operate willingly as a responsive partner using voice and hand signals should make every horse owner that respects the horse, the horse’s Creator and himself want to know more of this method and use it to achieve a natural relationship with this remarkable animal. It truly should be fun for both the person and the horse. Don’t mean to ramble on but I haven’t seen these results at any clinics or anywhere else and the simplicity of it allows anyone to use it. As with all relationships it takes time and a desire for quality. People that love and regard the horse for the awesome creature that God made him to be and the partnership that can benefit both should look into using Friendship Training to obtain a level of interaction that they could only dream about previously.
Don’t know for sure when I’ll start home. Depends on the weather. See you when I get there. Love, Dad
Art in Pennsylvania