Authentic and Natural Horsemanship - Horse Training at The Hideout Ranch
Authentic Horsemanship (AH) is a concept based on respect, consistency and a genuinely low-stress approach to horsemanship that is shared by a group of open individuals, rather than focusing on one specific trainer’s methods that might claim to be the best and “only way.” In many life situations, leveraging the knowledge of several individuals usually provides a more balanced and complete approach to any given situation.
The AH approach allows us to work with a variety of trainers and equine professionals from different backgrounds and cultures.
Training Approach: Our AH Horses
We seldom start our own horses from scratch and prefer to work with a support system of trusted, accomplished professionals and partners who are specialized in low-stress colt starting methods. In addition to their training skills, these trainers also have a knock for finding young horses with great potential.
Together with these trainers and horse specialists, we select our preferred horses and the horses customers would like us to train for them. Once we have chosen a horse to work with, it begins 90 - 120 days of colt starting (sometimes this time is spread across as long as a full year). The brevity of this time period depends on how much new information the horse is physiologically capable of absorbing in a gradual, non-forceful manner. At the end of this training period, we consult with our partners and trainers to see if the horse has developed in the expected manner and how it fits in with string of horses and riding program at The Hideout Lodge & guest Ranch or with its owner’s preferences (In case we are preparing the horse for another owner).
After initial training, the next step in the training program is for the new horse to arrive at The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch (www.thehideout.com) or The Trapper Creek Ranch (www.trapper-creek-guest-ranch.com,) the headquarters of Authentic Horsemanship for further training. The horses have a couple of weeks to get used to their new surroundings and become integrated gradually with our herd of 60+ horses in the pastures.
A dedicated trainer will work with the horse for a period of time (mostly through the winter months,) after which each of the other trainers will have a chance to work with the newcomer. Through this process, the horse becomes used to different riders working with it and results in the horse being less sensitive to changing hands. This method also gives us the opportunity to get feedback and observations of the different trainers working with our horses. Different trainers have an eye for different things; have different backgrounds and bring different experiences.
Each horse is also different and might react different to different trainers as it would to riders. To us it is important to be aware and it is also part of a Fair Process of Training & Learning for our horses and ourselves.
Once the spring season begins, the new horses are ridden out on the range on a regular basis to expose/desensitize them to situations such as: trailer loading, trail/range riding with other horses, working cattle, arena riding, different riders, crossing bridges, riding through diverse scenery (forest, desert, canyon, open range, wildlife areas, etc.) and crossing creeks and streams.
Because the horses in training are kept in the same herd with our other horses, they are brought in and turned out on a daily basis. This means they are worked with the herd and learn the different ways of handling, being caught in the big outside pen, being shoed or trimmed together with others horses, exposed to noises, trucks, people, dogs, vet-checks, etc. through their general daily life.
Training: Adult or Established Horses
On a regular basis, we come acquire seasoned horses that have been put through a training process, but are in need of fine-tuning or more in-depth training to become reliable, enjoyable and safe mounts. These horses will follow the same practical program at The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch or Trapper Creek Ranch as the young horses in our colt-starting phase received after their initial 90 to 120 days training.
We use the same principles for selecting horses as we use for selecting our staff and trainers: The 3C’s of Character, Conduct and Competence. The concept maintains that a horse or human can be coached for Competence, but Character and Conduct are inherent.
Involving the Herd in the AH Training Process
At Authentic Horsemanship, our herd of existing riding horses aids the continuation of the training process for newcomers to the herd. Part of the training program involves the new horses or colts learning by observing our other horses in their pasture setting or when they are handled by our staff and trainers. If young horses are around calm adult horses that trust their handlers, they will reflect this trust and calmness in turn.
We bring the herd in every morning and catch our riding horses for the day in the big corral using low-stress methods. As a result of spending this time observing the other horses’ reaction to our staff and the daily process of being brought in and turned out, the newcomers become increasingly relaxed and comfortable with their new surroundings.
Since we operate a guest ranch and go through this daily routine as part of our business, consistency is a benefit for our herd. Similarly, trailer loading is never a big issue for our horses, as they do it as a part of their daily routine and are accustomed to it. For example, a new horse that might otherwise be uncomfortable or nervous about loading onto a trailer will see that the older horses have no problem going and are more likely to follow suit. If one is still a bit nervous, we will load them next to their “buddy” he/she might gravitate towards in the pastures. This builds trust through leveraging the other horse’s relationships.
Life is a journey to excellence…
In life nothing is perfect, but we try to take the right steps in our journey to perfection. At AH Horsemanship & Training we surely try hard to give our horses all the opportunities to become great, sound and enjoyable mounts.