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Anyone sent their horse to a "cowboy" to have an issue fixed?

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  • Anyone sent their horse to a "cowboy" to have an issue fixed?

    Just looking for your experiences sending your horse to a cowboy... Did it resolve your horses issue? Was is worth the cost? How much did it cost? How much time did it take to resolve the issue?

  • #2
    define 'cowboy' please
    the NOT!! Spoiled!! Arabian Protectavest poster pony lives on in my heart


    • #3
      Cowboy as in person who fixes horses with issues. Like a NH type trainer that does ground work and de-sensitizes your horse. Not sure how else to describe....


      • #4
        A "cowboy" is somebody who works with cows and that work may or may not be done from a horse.

        The term, in fact, is very often used with no connection to agriculture at all. Consider people who act impulsively being described as "cowboys." The term "cowboy" is often connected to a personal/polictical philosphy ("The Cowboy Way"). And there's always "cowboy action shooting" which is done without a horse in sight.

        Hats and boots don't make "cowboys." Nor do claims of equine competance.

        I've sent horses for training to people who ride in Western saddles and wear hats and boots. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

        Put another way, there is no answer to your question.

        Look at what the "cowboy" in question produces and the methods they use.

        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


        • #5
          What is the particular problem you are dealing with?


          • #6
            As with any trainer...be careful and choose wisely!!! Speaking from experience, there are some wonderful "cowboys" who do amazing work, and some that will do much more harm than good. It also depends on what your "problem" is. I prefer a gentle approach, in a calm, quiet, methodical way, that the horse can understand and respond to. Some cowboys do this, some don't.


            • #7
              Horse is really nervous under saddle and rearing/bolting when dismounted. Vet has ruled out pain as the cause.


              • #8
                In many areas, a "cowboy trainer" is considered to mean someone who trains horses "the old way" -- ie bronc riding until the horse is tired of bucking and hopefully hasn't hurt himself or the trainer or anyone else...the world where the term "breaking" comes from, as in breaking the horse's spirit.

                From your thread's title, I mistakenly assumed that was what you were asking. sometimes folks who have horses who are 'bad actors' mistakenly believe 'the old way' is the only way to fix those things, esp aggressive behaviors.

                What I've often heard other folks call what I think you're seeking is a "problem solver" or, as we often get labeled, "a trainer who specializes in horses with people problems" (from a movie quote...).

                Having said that, we here at CWER provide outside training for clients, both adopters and non-adopters. Since our rescue work focuses largely upon horses with people problems or simply under-handled and under-trained horses, we feel like we have a great background to be able to help other folks with their horses. The training fees go directly into the nonprofit's operating budget, with no fees paid to our trainers or our volunteers who assist. We charge $500 per month, including feed up to a certain level and assuming your horse eats what we stock.

                Some of the kinds of cases we've worked with include things like:

                1. an abused horse that was drugged at the sale barn and dangerous when it got home -- 30 days ground manners training;
                2. a spoiled weanling (the owners teenagers were caring for her right after weaning time when the more experienced mom was on bedrest from a surgery) who would rear and strike if she didn't want to do what the handler asked;
                3. rehabilitative saddle training for a horse with a variety of bad behaviors, from balking to rearing, from balance to bolting, and so on.
                4. farrier training (this is a 7-10 day program that we charge $100 for if done without other training time) -- horses will allow all 4 hooves to be trimmed while standing at liberty in the indoor round pen before they go home.

                We also offer transportation, and trailer training as part of the training while the horse is here. Finally we STRONGLY prefer to have the owner ACTIVE in the training process as often as they are able during the time the horse is here.

                Finally, we have turned down a few projects. If we don't think we have the skills to fix what you feel is broken, then we will gladly say so and if we know someone who can, will recommend other options. (For example, neither of us teach neck reining nor train horses to jump; we are capable of teaching only the most basic green grass of dressage skills, etc.)

                Hope this is helpful,
                AnnMarie Cross, Pres, Crosswinds Equine Rescue, cwer.org
                Sidell IL (near Champ./UofI/Danville IL/IN state border)


                • #9
                  Originally posted by filly78 View Post
                  Horse is really nervous under saddle and rearing/bolting when dismounted. Vet has ruled out pain as the cause.
                  Does your vet do chiropractic? if not, do you know one who does?

                  We've rehabbed several horses that a vet cleared as healthy (even one the lady spent a fortune on a prepurchase) that, it turned out, had a chiropractic issue. Two or three adjustments and a bit of time of turnout to 'just be a horse', and they were back on track and went on to working careers.

                  I'm sure not saying that's the answer from your 2 sentences above; merely trying to suggest one outlet you may not have thought of or tried for her.

                  AnnMarie Cross, Pres, Crosswinds Equine Rescue, cwer.org
                  Sidell IL (near Champ./UofI/Danville IL/IN state border)


                  • #10
                    My "magic cowboy" not only helped my horse, he showed me how to do it myself. The horse was a completely unstarted 2yo TB homebred filly-a more Alpha mare you have never met. She was resistant at every turn. She yanked me down so hard during a lounging session that I sprained both ankles-and I was wearing Blundstones! I said Uncle, and turned to this guy, who came highly recommended, with background in forward seat, as well as Western (very familiar with TBs) He uses the "join up" technique. After he did some initial work with my girl, he put me in the round pen and taught me how to read the filly's body language. It's addicting-I've used it to start 2 others-so much safer and easier on human and horse both.

                    The mare is a great ride-she's still a challenge, but we both have the skills to handle it now!


                    • #11
                      Yes, I have.

                      I used a cowboy (who yes, had cows that would rub on the side of the indoor and scare the horses) that had come recommended by more than one person that I trusted. I had seen the results of his work on other horses. I went to his farm and saw him work another horse I was involved with.

                      I was comfortable that his methods weren't cruel. We discussed riding/training philosophy and agreed (my horse HAD to go forward and could NOT buck, period).

                      I knew he would do some things that I wouldn't do - and was OK with that, since my daily rides consisted of hanging onto my horse for dear life while he leaped and bucked around.

                      When I came back 3 weeks later, he lunged politely (with a chain on the noseband - something I wouldn't have done but which did cure the bucking), I rode him in the ring politely, we went on a hack and he went through a huge creek (up to my stirrups) without blinking an eye. He was much more focused on me when riding, instead of the monsters he could & couldn't see.

                      The cowboy had ponied him and when my horse didn't want to go forward, he got dragged (something I would have done if I'd had a "pony" horse!). I could feel such a huge difference in him - like an unruly child who actually settles down when boundaries are enforced.

                      I left him there for another week, just to confirm his new behaviour. My horse wasn't "cured". He was better. I still had to insist on good behaviour, but I finally had tools and a way of communicating with him that made sense to both of us. And we both trusted each other more, which helped and got us out of being defensive during rides.

                      It was worth the cost - at the time I was paying $400/month board, the cowboy was $900 including board, so I got a month's training for about $25/session. (Less than I charge for lessons or pay my own coach.)

                      Having said all that, I was actually much better at loading my horse than the cowboy (he wanted the horse to go in NOW) and insisted that he back off and let me do it myself. When the horse walked in calmly 3 minutes later, the cowboy was impressed. Fine with me, I didn't send my horse away for trailer loading, and if I had, I would have checked out the cowboy's skills in that area first.

                      You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


                      • #12
                        IME, many trainers in the various English disciplines are either unable or unwilling to deal with common problems like won't load, won't tie, pushy on the ground, won't stand to be mounted, spooky on trails etc. I'm not sure why this is. It does seem like the western world has more of an emphasis on "do-it-yourself" as opposed to the "you-just-show-up-and-ride" mentality of the stereotypical hunter princess or DQ.

                        Properly done, some (not all) of the so-called NH exercises are useful for teaching a horse to not invade a human's space or to not react to every unfamilar thing with "OMG RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!" I think the stuff that works is just simple good horsemanship that western trainers have been doing for years, before various unnamed PT Barnums decided to put on a show and make a few bucks. My own trainer, who many people would consider a "cowboy," often says he doesn't like to call what he does with problem horses NH, just horsemanship. I don't look at it as a final destination, but more of a means to an ends. Once you get the respect and trust of the horse, you go on to teaching the horse the specifics of whatever discipline you prefer.

                        I have had good experiences with a "cowboy" trainer, though I consider him more of an all-around horseman. His own personal preference is to ride western, but he's made a good reputation for himself locally as being able to fix "horses with issues," regardless of the tack. My mare was a real handful on the ground, and I admit I was unprepared to be the alpha mare in our herd. The change in her and the knowledge I learned was worth every penny. I liked the quiet, methodical approach and his willingness to try something different if approach #1 didn't work.

                        In the end, it's not about the equipment, it's about the horsemanship skills of the person holding the end of the rope. You can find skillfull people in every discipline, using every kind of tack. You can also find plenty of ignorant, unskilled "trainers" using English tack as well.
                        Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
                        Crayola Posse: sea green
                        Mighty Rehabbers Clique


                        • #13
                          BlueEyedSorrel ---

                          Well said!!! Thank you.

                          I too have learned a LOT from good trainers who are primarily Western riders, but can ride in any kind of tack. It is truly common sense horsemanship with a slant on how best to communicate your leadership to the horse. Some real working cowboys can be the best horsemen.

                          And as stated, not all NH techniques actually do what the simplest, easiest techniques convey to the horse.


                          • #14
                            Well you have had a lot of good advice so far. If Pinky 107 & Filly 78 are the same person then say so. Otherwise the OP needs to tell us what the problem is.
                            "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


                            • #15
                              Well, I had a cowgirl start my then 3 year old. SHe had him 90 days. I took him home and we were doing fine, then DST ended - and I ended up on the ground. He wouldn't let me mount him from the mounting block.... and if I did manage to get him to stand still long enought to mount, he'd take about one step from the mounting block and explode. Aaargh. I called the cowgirl and took him back. She worked with him when I first arrived, and "fixed" at least for the moment, the mounting issue. However, he didn't even TRY to buck with her, and she felt that it was something he didn't try with her - his trainer - but was testing me with. She gave me some ground work exercises, and a way to cope with his bucking (pulling his head up and booting him forward was NOT sufficient), and we went home after a long weekend, and haven't had any major issues since. He kept testing me for a while, but when he reached fully age 4, he's evolved (!) to merely doing normal horsey spooks, rather than illustrating his talent for a job at the NFR. He's 5.5 now, and while he's a bit touchy at present - we're rehabbing from a slight ligament tweak and he is not getting enough exercise, but vet has limited him to 30 min walking under saddle per day - over-all he's behaving well. I would not hesitate to go back to her if I needed help for non-dressage issues. (She has taken dressage lessons from my instructor on her "working ranch horse" show horse.)


                              • #16
                                I had a lovely TB mare who an idiot, so-called "dressage trainer" in the local area completely screwed up in 5 sessions. This was a horse I had had for 6 years who was a doll, and this idiot woman ruined her. Anyway, I watched a clinic that a "cowboy" gave and really liked his quiet manner. I sent her to him for 2 months and was amazed at some of the stuff he did with her, all very quietly and kindly. She came back the horse that she had been before idiot-woman had touched her, plus some.

                                On the other hand, there is a self-called "cowboy" that has just started a 3 yo for the woman down the road from me. He left the mare all night on a hot walker - ALL NIGHT - and then got onto her, still on the hot walker the next morning. He put a harsh bit in her mouth a couple of days later and galloped her round their arena, round and round, there was blood coming out of her mouth. He also rode her down the road and when she spooked, he spun her around and galloped (on the asphalt) up and down the road past the scarey thing.

                                So - like any trainers, there are good and bad in all categories.


                                • #17
                                  Well since the OP has not responded with specifics, I would suggest she get recommendations from people she knows and references from the trainer she wants to hire.

                                  There is "cowboy" and there is "yea-who" A cowboy is a good hand with a horse. A yeawho will cause you to need a new horse.
                                  "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


                                  • #18
                                    I agree completely with Blue Eyed Sorrel. We have a pretty talented local 'cowboy' here who will take on anything at a reasonable price. He fixes problems without shenanigans or hoopla or props, just good old fashioned horsemanship (marked as 'NH' these days but sorry, no, nothing new). Your talented dressage horse won't stand still for mounting or paws when tied to the trailer? He'll solve that problem without harming the dressage talent. Just one random example.

                                    When I think of people looking for a 'cowboy' to solve a problem, particularly a 'bratty' problem, well, cowboys are among the few who earn a living on the back of a horse- and the horse needs to do its job without incident. That carries over into manners and basics. A useful horse does need to stand still when tied- and stay tied wherever it is tied. And yes, ANY horse can learn those skills...


                                    • #19
                                      A good trainer is a good trainer regardless of what type of saddle they ride in. If you're looking to fix a behavioral issue (as opposed to a discipline-specific training issue, if that makes sense) send the horse to whoever will do the best job.

                                      IME the prices are about the same for the type of trainer--in other words you'd pay less at the "cowboy" who doesn't compete's place than you would at the competition-oriented trainer's, but a western colt starter and an english colt starter will probably have pretty comparable prices. I imagine that varies depending on your specific area, though.
                                      exploring the relationship between horse and human


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by BlueEyedSorrel View Post
                                        Properly done, some (not all) of the so-called NH exercises are useful for teaching a horse to not invade a human's space or to not react to every unfamilar thing with "OMG RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!" I think the stuff that works is just simple good horsemanship that western trainers have been doing for years, before various unnamed PT Barnums decided to put on a show and make a few bucks. My own trainer, who many people would consider a "cowboy," often says he doesn't like to call what he does with problem horses NH, just horsemanship. I don't look at it as a final destination, but more of a means to an ends. Once you get the respect and trust of the horse, you go on to teaching the horse the specifics of whatever discipline you prefer.