Audrey – Texas

by | Testimonials |

Hi folks,

This is the post I have sent to my other horse groups about my visit to Chuck’s this morning….

If you have not seen a video or seen this ‘live’ you just cannot adequately grasp what is going on between Chuck and the horses. No wonder Chuck has such a hard time putting it into words…. My 2 sons and I were readily accepted and responded to by his horses as well. They just assumed were nice like Chuck, just not as well versed as he. They are soooo eager and desireous(sp?) of interacting with people and doing things with you. There is no way that any relationship one has created with ‘traditional’, though kindly used, methods can compare…. it is so different…. anyhow…here’s what I wrote…

I just came back from a visit to Texas Pony Express just north of Hutchins, Tx. The purpose of the visit was to meet with the developer/founder of Foundation Training©, Chuck Mintzlaff. This is not ‘training’ per se, at least not in the manner we are so used to seeing/hearing about horses being trained. It is a very deep connected understanding between the horse and the human partner. What was so absolutely amazing wasn’t the way the horses responded to the requests for different activities, but the complete and joyous need the horses felt to please and be accepted by this human ‘friend’. There is complete and utter trust between both parties….and these horses were quite happy to treat us, new human acquaintances, with the same giving and trusting responses.

To give you an example, imagine a mature breeding stallion loose in a 5 acre field free to come and go as he pleases with no halter and no real means of catching him either. You call him from a distance, and he looks up from his grazing, OK maybe he looks up, he’s kind of feeling like being obnoxious today. But when you call him and give him the ‘come here’ sign with a polite but emphatic gesturing. He turns around and comes to you – in a trot. Not impressed? Well, just 3 minutes before that you had put his feed in his bucket played a little ‘you’re the big bad stud’ with him and told him not to eat yet….and he DOESN’T.. he’s focused on you and what you would like….he is by the food and you walked off about 200 feet away!!!

Or how about ‘lunging" him in the round pen, performing circles and continuing around? Oh, but I forgot to tell you, the gate’s open and you’re outside the pen telling him and giving hand signals!! You DID NOT lead him into the round pen either!! You had pointed to the gate and asked him to go in…

These types of interactions went on for a while longer, including coming over and turning in the proper place so that he could be mounted bareback – from a chair – and ridden sans halter, rein, anything…walk, trot, turns, whoa, back up, turn on haunches etc…

It might be easy, after all, we’re so conditioned to be skeptical, to dismiss this as ‘trick’ stuff. But then, when the stallion – oh and so ferocious he was too (big grin) – really wanted to go eat and tested his ‘limits’ by not listening and walking into his shelter; he got a good talking to about minding his manners, shooshed out of the shelter and had his "time-out" and told to stay put. Within about a minute, if that long, he wanted to make up and was told no, "you were not being good"; proceeded to lower his head, soften and nicker and then whinny in a way that was unmistakable "I’m sorry, can I please come over?!" When told OK, literally perked up like a light bulb, happy as can be and trotted quickly over for his ‘making-up’. It was at that moment, that the realization of how truly bonded, and connected this horse was to his human friend really hit me. This was the real horse, his full personality shining through, wanting, needing and happy to have a human friend to be his ‘alpha’ leader.

They are emotionally dependent upon your friendship and will do any thing you ask to maintain that friendship. But this is a two way street. You don’t get this without building the relationship so that the horse trusts you and you have taken the time to build a bridge ‘language’ so he can understand you. You, not the horse, are solely responsible for maintaining the integrity of this trust and not abusing your privileges with hurtful or impossible requests; but he gives you, in return, his heart and soul. What Foundation Training© does is teach the human how to develop this relationship and build the basics of the language so that any further ‘training’ can proceed with greater understanding and joy from the horse. It’s not the horse that needs to learn, it’s the human first, then the horse can be educated.

This isn’t just a once in a million horse occurrence, all his horses have this same affinity to like and respond to humans, even new ‘friends’. People who learn and apply FT, find this level of harmony with their horses as well. FT allows us to tap into the instinctive responses and needs of the horse so that we can develop this willing and trusting and, yes even devoted, relationship.

Before this trip, I had thought that some of the ’round pen’ methods were very enlightened. Well, they are, if you compare them to harsher methods as though it is the middle ages compared to caveman. But FT is like going to the moon, it leaves one feeling very sorry about the confusion we put horses through with other methods and leaves us yearning for this closeness with the horses we chose to call ‘ours’. With FT, they truly can be ‘ours’, without it, the relationship is but a shadow of its full potential.


Hi folks, I was writing back a reply to an ‘e-mail’ friend and I wrote something that I needed to share here as well… I realized this when I started writing… I had sensed something last night, but this was an opportunity to put it into words…

Here it is…

Sorry, I saw Parrelli in the ‘showdown’ last year and was not impressed at all – much to gimmicky and complicated… Lyons is much more in-tune… I’ve seen Shrake, Van Hargis and others, seen people using Roberts etc… this seems way past that… It is very hard to describe the emotional difference in the horses…it starts with the very first interactions… even when you are ‘restarting’ the friendship with a trusted companion… But what I saw has changed me and when I got home and went out to see the horses, I KNOW I looked at them differently (from inside of me) and they seemed to know something was different… unexplainable…everyone I physically touched turned to look me in the eye… I KNOW they sensed the change and I hope I can keep that until I can get into Chuck’s program.

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