Robin – Colorado

Wow, what a coincidence! I have been looking for information about starting to do CTR and when I found this list, I saw a name I know. First, a brief bio. I have been a horse owner for 30 years, and been training my horses for 30 years. My horses taught me what I know, along with several tons of written material by everyone from Alois Podhajsky to _Western_Horseman_ and _Equus_ contributors. When I started my second horse, after owning the first one for 2 years, he had had no prior handling except to be roped, thrown, and hogtied to get his hooves trimmed. A couple months after I got him, I mounted for his first time. His response? A curious look that said, “I don’t know what you’re doing up there, but I’m busy grazing. If there is anything you need from me, I’ll be down here.” I have looked for and found the mildest, most clear and understandable, most effective methods of teaching and understanding my horses.

Which brings me to Chuck Mintzlaff. I heard of him on a horse list, and after about a year of conversations and reading his posts, I decided I needed to see for myself how Friendship Training works. I went to Texas and I was floored! He plays death-wish games with his stallion including close-up views of an equine navel and looking up to see flailing hooves, then as soon as he gives the calm-down cue Combustion drops his head and Chuck can mount up, sans tack, and go for a quiet ride. Some of the others will drive with air reins (a hilarious sight, Chuck pulling on these non-existent reins and the horse responding perfectly), match Chuck step for step front back and sideways with no whips or sticks swinging around, free-longe on voice cues, even in reverse, and more stuff than you can imagine. Perhaps the most impressive was when he brought out the enormous sheet of black plastic. Instead of having to “acclimate” them or “desensitize” them to it, he had to shoo them away to be able to spread it out. It was more like “Ooooh, look! Grandpa has a new toy for us to play with!” What I didn’t realize at the time is that that was the second time they had ever seen a sheet of black plastic. Fear is not a part of their world, as long as Chuck is there.

Getting back to me and my horse, I have mostly trail ridden her, with a few dressage lessons and a little cow-working and an elementary level pair pace thrown in for fun. I started her 4 years ago at age 2, and she is a sweet, willing partner. I tried a part lease last year, which had disastrous effects on her confidence due to the other rider’s lack of tact and awareness. I ride mostly with a halter or bosal.

I live in the Denver, CO area and I’d like to meet any other list members around here.

Looking forward to getting to know everyone here!

Robin in Colorado