When a horse comes to Shining Mountain Thoroughbreds for training, whether a foal or yearling needing handling, an older horse being started under saddle, or a broke horse just needing a tune up or further training, every effort is made to first gain that horse's trust and confidence as a trusting, confident horse is usually a horse willing to work with me and learn. If a horse trusts and is confident in the person handling it, even the scariest situations can be gotten through no matter where they may show up. A scared, nervous horse is always looking for something that may jump out at it, so even the smallest thing can and usually will set them off.
My first goal with any horse I am starting to work with is to be sure that it is comfortable with its surroundings and that it knows that nothing is going to hurt it. This takes longer with some horses than others, but most of the time, with patience and quiet handling, this goal can be accomplished. I have found through my years of working with horses of all breeds and types that if a horse trusts me on the ground, that trust will carry over to when I am on its back and the horse quickly becomes relaxed and easy to work with under saddle.
I started my first horse when I was 12 years old with the help of an old Indian man who told me that time and patience were a trainer's best friends. I have attended several different clinics over the years with various clinicians and I think that every instructor has something to teach that you can take and put into your own training. I can't say I am a true follower of any one method as I have pulled bits and pieces from all of them and worked them into my own method.
Not every training technique works with every horse, so I feel that treating each horse as an individual and proceeding at a pace and in a manner that is comfortable to that horse is the only way to get the job done. Some horses take longer than others and very few arrive at the same spot in the same way. The first 30 to 60 days with a young horse are my favorite as that is when his or her entire future is determined and what is done during that time will have a huge effect on what becomes of that horse down the road.