Mary O – USA

by | Testimonials |

I don’t care what you all call FTX, natural, unnatural, black or green. It is just semantics. I agree with what Laurie said :

This is what is meant by "natural"…no fear, no pain, no close confinement, no ropes, halters or direct physical contact (yet). When contact IS asked for it is ENTIRELY up to the horse…he is ALWAYS free to walk away, but the imperative instinct will over-ride most of his reservations and in the long run patience will always win him over.

So, no matter what you call it, what I care about is my safety and my horse’ safety, comfort, and happiness. I used the Parelli Method for a little over a year and was told that my horse was a difficult horse but workable. He did get better over the year, but…..He could be sweet and also bite or kick out. I did not trust my instincts enough during that time. People would say "He’s putting his ears back …. he has a bad attitude" There were several times I actually listed him in the paper for sale. I should have trusted my instincts because my instincts were telling me that he was confused and didn’t understand. I’m glad I didn’t sell him because we are doing great ever since I started Foundation Training. Although the PNH method was supposed to be "Natural" it just didn’t get the results I needed. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good things in it, but it did not help me safety-wise. It did not bring about a real change in Jack. Once I started FT exercises though, my horse gained a lot more respect for me because he could understand me and trust me. Not only does he come when I call him, but he comes without being called, just to hang around me. I wiggle my hand at him to back him up or tell him to GOUT and he will leave the stall area and wait patiently while I put his food out. He respects my space now. This is a horse that would walk all over anyone in the past to get food. This has made it safe for my husband to feed the horses also.

I have also always had a difficult time getting Jack to stand still for any period of time after asking him to whoa. Now I can say "Stand" and he will actually stand. He will actually stand while I put my gloves on or zip my jacket up. He has always had his own mind – stubborn I guess you could say. Last year, I had an experienced trainer work with him for a few months and even she said he was hard headed. This is a horse that she would not let her 13 year old son lead to the paddock because she felt it was not safe. What a difference there is in him now. I am sure some is due to the work I did with him last year in PNH, but the big difference has been since I started Foundation training. I can tell that he understands me better now – he would get angry when he was confused before and I never see that anger anymore. I think it is because I am asking him to do things in a more "natural" way that he can understand. One thing I have learned from Chuck is that Jack is one of those horses that will always be testing your right to be "alpha," (abnormal need for herd rank ascension I believe he called it) so I can never just let things slide or he will think I have slipped in status. I am sure there are good things in most "natural" methods of training, but this method was just what Jack and I needed to gain mutual respect and safety…..and we have only been doing this since mid December. I understand HIM better now too.

As for the horse that would just about kill for his chance at the food, I can back him up 15-20 steps and walk a total 360 degrees around him and stop away from his food, call him to me and he will come and wait for me to tell him it is OK to go eat. No ears pinned or tail swishing.

FT is the only truly "natural" method of training because it mimics the way horses talk to each other. We are speaking their language and they are given the opportunity to learn “ours.”

Mary O – USA

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