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RE: [RC] Tevis Low completions/training for obstacles - Paul Sidio

JIm said, "That's exactly why you TRAIN your horse on the stuff you expect to encounter
before you put him out there in harm's way at a ride. "
At this years Land Between the Lakes Ride, the vet check was out of camp.  I was about 15 minutes behind the lead rider and happily enjoying the hold when he took out of camp on his second loop. About 60 seconds later he came roaring back into camp with a very nervous horse.  " There's a buffalo that won't let me by" He cried. Several of us went to look and sure enough the trail went alongside this large pasture where buffalo are kept. There was one place where the trail narrowed (due to fence on one side and a grown up ditch on the other) to  a single track path just wide enough to get through.  Of course at the only point where it made a difference was Buford, the Bull Buffalo.  He was pushing against  the fence and snorting and making this funny bawling/grunting kind of noise. Plus  he was pawing the ground and his tail was swishing all over the place.  We yelled at him, but he just got more agitated.  I have a foolish horse (one who trusts me a lot) and being foolish myself, I offered to lead my horse past  and then the others might follow.  ( By now the second and thrid riders were done with their hold.)
So we went through the ditch and close enought to Buford to scratch his forehead, My horse kept eyeballing him, but we went nice and slow so he wouldn't try to run me over. After we got past him, Buford followed us up the hill, snorting and  pawing. The other riders were able to come on through. The lead guy asked me how many times we had  gone past Buffalo.  I replied, "Counting this time.... once.." 
I am a big believer in training your horse to trust you and respond to you. You can never prepare for every possible obstacle, so you should prepare your horse to listen and pay attention to commands.  Then no matter what you are trying to do, you have the basic work aready done.  If you have built a trust bond with your horse they should follow you over a creek or off the side of the Grand Canyon if you ask them to.  If you don't have that bond, you can train them to cross a 3 foot wide clear creek on level ground, and then when you have to cross a 4 foot wide muddy creek with steep banks you have a wreck. When you have that trust you can do  anything with them. You will be able to conquer Buffalo or even Bison. If you don't have it, there isn't a crop big enough to whip them to do something they are terrified of.
Paul N. Sidio
Spokane MO