Oddly enough I have done that in the past. Shane's suspension was not recent, it was a long time ago when he was young and stupid and he leaned from it and cleaned up his act (unlike a certain Cleve Wells, a big quick fix guy who just won't learn). I've seen Shane Dowdys horses and know people who are strongly against abuse that swear by him.
I think what we often forget is that education plays a huge role in how we treat out horses. Some people are brought up to believe that ____ is the RIGHT way of doing things and don't ever realize that what they're doing is wrong. Perhaps in severe cases this is inexcusable but a lot of stuff like overusing spurs, harsh bits, being heavy with your hands is due to a lack of education and not actually due to malice. People can learn and change from that. But iirc Shane was suspended for disorderly conduct, not abuse. I may be wrong but it was a long time ago.
Sadly there's little you can do to convince the jerks who think it's okay to bleed out horses or put acid on their feet.
Last edited by ladyfreckles; Sep. 26, 2012 at 04:59 PM.
Clinton Anderson! Hands down, he has the most clear and effective method for training horses. Parelli uses the same techniques, as do most professionals, but he leaves some mystery up to his training. Clinton, on the other hand, is meat and potatoes. Black and white. He shows you what your goal is. Then how to get there with a horse who has never done it (whatever the goal is) before. Then he tells you/shows you all the horse mistakes and all the rider/handler mistakes and how to correct them. He covers every topic you could ever wonder about too - from starting to finishing a horse, problem horses, trailering, what to do with your foal, clipping, exercises for the trail, gaited horses, the list goes on...If you follow his method you will be a better horseman and build a relationship with your horse based on trust and respect.
Clinton can also demonstrate, among other things, how to absolutely blow a young horse's joints by incorrect longeing. He's on my 'watch how not to do it' list, which of course can also be informative.
I attended a Steve Heckaman clinic years ago that was great. He and his then assistant rode nice, broke horses that moved correctly and softly. He worked with various breeds and levels of riders and was very clear in his communication. I still use some of his exercised with great results!
I also attended a Craig Johnson clinic years ago that was fantastic. I had been exposed to him growing up, and he's just such a soft, quiet rider. I may be a western pleasure or all-around rider, but I strive to ride more like him!
I would love to attend a clinic with Jason Martin or Charlie Cole--they are the ultimate all-around trainers.
I also use the Cleve Wells training videos (bought them long before his troubles). They are excellent tools. I have also heard good things about Dana Hokana and Mark Shaffer. I saw Alissa Bernhard showing as a youth and amateur before she went pro, and if I had the money she is THE trainer I'd put my horse with. While her specialty is H/J, she's won plenty of western stuff and her horses move correctly. Love watching her show!
I think there is a very big difference between training a horse to do a job and training a horse to try and win something in the show pen (not rodeo). The old guy at whose place I was a barn rat, did nothing competative and mostly rode out to check water troughs and bring in the horses from the far pasture, and lead us kids on over night pack trips over the mountains trails to the Santa Ynez valley. If we were lucky, we could ride along on an expedition (with cross buck pack saddles, rawhide paniers, the whole nine yards) down to Safeway and watch his horses, tied to the fence, while he grocery shopped. He used his silver mounted bridles, vaquero saddle, and beautiful spade bits as working tack. I suspect the original Vaqueros did the same on the local ranches.
The guys I watched show in the stock horse classes were not yahoos. Today their names are west coast legend and reining futurities are named after them. But they were trying to win something - right here, right now, and had all the pressures of owners and show schedules. Horse training has come a very long way, and if we had videos of the olden days, would the techniques stand up to the best of the present?
One thing that gripes me about today's trainers is that they have mostly come up from Juniors in their chosen venue. They do not have the cross-training perspective that the old guys did. The old guys, like Jimmy Williams, started out training all types of horses until things got big enough that they could specialize in their later years. Bob Loomis showd saddlebreds before reining. The late, great Western Pleasure trainer, Guy Stoops was a young apprentice at the Spanish Riding School in Austria.