Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Run Away Horse!

According to Van Hargis, we're all scared of the idea of a "run away horse" because we imagine a horse running full speed away with us, maybe bucking a bit, too, and we're unable to stop it. This idea scares us because it's something we might not be able to handle.

But he wanted us to think about "run away" on a smaller scale. For example, the horse who is walking without being asked to walk. Or, the horse who stopped who wasn't asked to stop. Isn't that a run away, too? The only difference is, one scares you and one doesn't.

So, back to my trail riding example from Monday, I dropped the reins and Cowboy kept walking. Is this a run away horse?

Yes and no. No, because this is what I trained him to do. I trained him long ago to move out on the trail, plow forward and basically ignore all the goofy things I'm doing up on top of him--like turning to chat, or whatever else.

Yes, too, however, because he's not listening to me, and in Van Hargis' opinion, this is a run away horse.

My goal is to ride him actively and then stop "riding" and see if he comes to a stop. If he does, he's listening and following me. If not, he's in control.

On another note, I'm going to see Buck Brannaman this Friday in Dayton, WA. I'm auditing the clinic. I hope to bring back more ideas from it to write about after the Van Hargis discussions. You know, the Van Hargis demo was only an hour or so and yet I have all these concepts from it--imagine the ideas a day with Buck Brannaman will generate.

There are two more things I want to write about later from Van Hargis. One is the idea of bits and how to use them and the other is the toothpaste example. Actually, there's one more, so three things--and the third is "riding" a horse from the ground.


  1. Yup, exactly. That's what Coriander was doing to me. Just because he wasn't galloping didn't mean he wasn't running off.

    I'm enjoying these posts and looking forward to the rest. I'm also excited to hear about Buck's clinic :)

  2. Interesting ideas! I can't wait for more updates!

  3. Good stuff - can't wait to hear about your time with Buck.

  4. You got my attention. Van Hargis sounds interesting, and a clinic with Buck? Lucky lady.

  5. Blue can "run away" with me at a walk. He has the ability to totally tune the rider out and just keep going. I've got to say since I've been riding more he's gotten much better at listening though. So I'm trying to keep him from getting bored by riding more actively. Hope you enjoy the clinic.

  6. Good point. Yes, it is the runaway at break neck speed that scares me, but you are right - horses can take control at the walk too. I had a trainer comment that a horse "ran away" many times while being worked in the round pen. He ran away with his body language and attitude.

    Enjoy the Buck clinic.


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