J Lazy YL Performance Horses

Training Focus

"To make sure all of our horses have all the necessary foundation skills to reach their maximum potential at whatever discipline his/her owner chooses."

This may appear to be overly simplistic, but we truly believe that virtually all horse problems--or problems people have with their horses--can be traced to a shortfall in the horse's foundation or a lack of consistency by the rider to maintain that foundation. An analogy of this would be: Our children require at least 12 years of education in fundamentals, theory, principle, practice, etc. just to prepare them to continue their education for a specific career. Yet we see so many horses who have not even finished grade school before they are expected to perform graduate level work. We will not push our horses into something for which they are not prepared. Our focus is one step at a time, one skill at a time. The slower you go, the faster you'll get there, is a very important thought we keep in mind when building a horse's foundation. People who attempt to shortcut this extremely important beginning for their horses are usually the same people who feel it necessary to use tie-downs, martingales, draw reins, more severe bits, or any other assortment of tools designed to force their horses to comply. You will never see us using any of these gimicks on our horses as a shortcut.

Training Focus
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Natural Horsmanship

We are definitely not people who jump on the bandwagon with whatever is the current magical "technique" or "catch phrase" being used in the equine world. We do however use the term "Natural Horsemanship" as the most universally understood definition of our horsemanship philosophy. Natural Horsemanship is not just about techniques, it's about a way of life. To us, this means treating horses as equals, always offering them the best deal we can, and trying our best to keep our horses from getting bothered, or feeling the need to protect themselves. Our horses should never feel like they are being told what to do and then forced to comply. Hopefully our horses feel they are being asked to try and then given the time to understand. If we are successful at setting it up and waiting, our horses will never feel they are being forced. Every moment we are with our horses we strive to implement this very simple-yet extremely critical concept. The question we ask is; "How can we do less so our horses can do more?"

If you asked 100 different people to define a "finished foundation", you would probably get 100 different answers. Why debate differences in technique--which are irrelevant--because the finished results are what matters to us, and most importantly to our horses? Hopefully the following thought will give you an idea of how we evaluate a particular technique. Certainly there are a hundred different ways to get something accomplished, and eighty of them may have some degree of success, but in reality only fifteen of them are good for the horse.

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Evaluating the Quality of a Horse's Foundation

Let us try to explain how we evaluate the quality of a horse's foundation.

Trust- We'll define this by determining how many "things" we can do around our horses and how many "objects" we can expose our horses to--on the ground or under saddle--without them being bothered, or feeling the need to move their feet.

Respect- We'll define this by determining how much control we have of the feet--on the ground or under saddle. How many things can we do with those feet and how little do we have to do to accomplish it without the horses being bothered?

Like we said --no two people will give you the same evaluation of the same horse.

What we consider pivotal to creating a horse with a solid foundation is : Gaining a horse's trust, and acquiring their respect, while establishing control of all body parts (head, pole, and neck; forequarters; hindquarters; feet; and rib cage). Combining trust, respect, and control plus working in harmony with each individual horse's personality to develop a "willing partner" creates a foundation that lasts a lifetime in the hands of a patient and consistent horseman or horsewoman.

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Our Training Philosophy

As we said, there are no magical techniques. Nothing will replace time, consistency, persistance, and patience in a training or horsemanship program.

We feel a timetable based on a quantity of days (i.e. 30, 60, 90, etc.) is unrealistic. Here the time invested at each level of training is determined by each individual horse's disposition and ability. The key is preparing the horse for each step in the training routine by presenting it to them in a manner that they can understand. We must have them in a learning frame of mind. We must recognize and reward the smallest change and the slightest try.

We know all horses will not be able to perform all skills at the same skill level, but each horse can learn to perform to the best of their ability if we can set it up for them so they can understand, and then give them the time to learn. One horse may seem to learn quickly, or just knows what to do naturally, while another horse may take considerably more time to understand what we are asking.

We have a very specific round corral and ground work routine that we use before much of the under saddle work begins and this routine continues after riding begins. The more trust, respect, and control we have on the ground, then the safer it is for us and the horses, when under saddle work begins. These are all things that the experienced horseman will recognize and appreciate, and that novice horse owners can use to help themselves develop their confidence and their horsemanship skills.

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Trust, Respect and Control

So again, as the cornerstone of our training philosophy, let's cover the three critical areas that form the foundation for any discipline- Trust, Respect, and Control !!!!

Trust- The horse "wants" to be with us (is willingly caught), is desensitized to and accepts our tools (ropes, plastic, blankets, saddles, rain slickers, etc., etc.), and ourselves. The horse demonstrates this by standing calmly and quietly while being handled (saddled, groomed, farrier work, clipped, bathed, etc., etc.). Gaining their trust is the first step in developing ...

...Respect- When the horse responds to our requests for movement (forwards, backwards, left, right, on the ground or under saddle) we are acquiring their respect and teaching them acceptance of us as their leader. The ultimate demonstration of acquiring their respect is by refining the...

...Control- By being softer, more supple, and responsive to lighter and lighter cues for movement (on the ground or under saddle) the horse tells us how to guide them in establishing softer, and softer control, in whatever manner that may be. (i.e. latteral or vertical flexion, backing, sidepassing, disengaging hind or forequarters, stopping, gait departures, turning, neck reining, loading into a trailer, lead changes, etc., etc.). Establishing control develops over time. With the attributes we have discussed in tact we will soon find ourselves with a horse that displays a true....

..."Willing Partner" Attitude- Now this is our ultimate goal--as well it should be. What we want is a horse that wants to be with us, wants to work with us, and is eager and willing to please!!

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This web page is not intended to be a complete synopsis of our training philosophy, but rather as an outline of some of the most important elements. We hope, that at least, you can get an idea of just how important we feel that the foundation ground work and under saddle work is. We want you to understand something about the depth of our commitment to producing a quality horse with exceptional foundation abilities. When the time comes for you to acquire your next equine companion, we hope we have a horse that will fit your wants, but if not, please do yourself and us the favor of allowing us to demonstrate the type of foundation you will hopefully come to require of any horse you consider purchasing.

To summarize:

  • Training under the banner of "Natural Horsmanship" is defined as the ability to gain a horse's trust, acquire their respect, and develop control of their whole body, all while having a calm, willing, and eager partner.

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Horsemanship "One Liners"

Following are a collection of what we call horsemanship "one liners" that to us would require volumes of information and untold hours of video to try to explain or demonstate everything that can be said in such a simple statement. We wish it was possible to give credit to every individual that has influenced or contributed to this collection, but that would include the name of virtually every person we have ever watched or seen with a horse. We honestly believe we can learn something from everyone, even if it's why we don't do something, or confirmation of why something will work! We will specifically pay tribute to one horseman that has definitely influenced us beyond all others combined. Ray Hunt is the largest contributor to this collection and we wish to thank him for his life long efforts to "give the horse a better deal". When we can achieve the same level of understanding and connection with the horse as this man appears to have, we can say we've come a long way, but horsemanship is a life long process and it takes a lifetime to learn it. Our horses would appreciate an effort by all of us to apply these thoughts in conjunction with every second of contact we have with them!

- Recognize and reward the slightest change and the smallest try

- It's controlling the life in the body thru the legs to the feet thru the mind.

- Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult, but not hard

- Changing the horse is easy, but changing the human is the hard part

- Most things are taught to horses by people who don't realize they are teaching their horses anything

- It takes three things to make a good horse- long rides, wet saddle blankets, and intensive training

- Where you release is what you teach

- As gentle as possible, but as firm as necessary

- You cannot love a horse into respecting you, but you can love a horse that respects you

- Horses learn one thing at a time

- There is a fine line between calming a horse's fears and confirming them

- Horsemanship is 10% technique, 90% how you do it

- Set it up and wait

- A horse needs and understands discipline and authority- never punishment. Discipline and authority are what you use before and during the act, punishment is what you do after the act.

- A good horseman is like a good teacher or parent- they assume full responsibility for the mistakes of their pupil or child- while at the same time giving full credit to their pupil or child for their accomplishments.

- Time means nothing to the horse

- You cannot take pride or ege into the corral with you, your horse does not care.

- Treat your horse as an equal.

- Stay to the edge of trouble- you cannot go thru something bad to get something good.

- Lack of confidence is the single biggest reason people have problems with their horse

- You must be able to rise up to the level of what the horse is ready for-not bring him down to what we are comfortable with

- Steps one-to-ten are usually taken care of- it's the zero-to-one that usually gets missed

- Do less to get more

- Without your horse's trust, you have nothing

- To get respect you have to give respect

- A horseman's job is to get out of a horse what mother nature put in there

- You have to teach both sides of the horse

- Practice doesn't make perfect- only perfect practice makes perfect.

- Your body and legs are far more important than the reins

- What's your horse thinking?

- It's the preparation to the position for the transition. Once the preparation is correct the transition takes care of itself.

- Your horse will not lie to you.

- Virtually everything your horse does-good or bad- is a direct consequence or result of something you or somebody else did or did not do

- Never destroy the curiosity of the horse

- The smallest thing can mean the most to the horse

- Your horse is like looking in a mirror-what you see is what you put in

- He learns what he lives and he learns it the way he lives it

- It's not that the human is doing wrong on purpose--they just don't know there is a better way

- Have a picture in your mind of what you want, and let the horse work it out

- Stop--Think--Adapt--Adjust

- A horse never forgets, yet he is amazingly forgiving

- If what you're doing has your horse in trouble--stop and start over

- First you go with your horse, then your horse goes with you, then you go together

- 90% of the training aids sold today are nothing more than a way to compensate for a lack of training or horsemanship

- The best training tool you will ever have is attached to the end of your arm

- You feel of him, you feel for him, then you both feel together

- You don't want a hard tightness, but a soft firmness

- In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity

- Your horse knows when you know and he knows when you don't know

- You have to operate from where your horse is--not from where you want him to be

- Your horse doesn't know he didn't learn what you wanted him to learn the way you wanted him to learn it

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