Lesley Neuman: The First Touch Gentling Your Mustang $45.00
Lesley works with 3 wild horses at a BLM adoption, and very clearly explains what is happening, what she is doing, & what she sees in each horse as it progresses. Study this video and you can learn "pressure and release" gentling techniques to gentle your own new mustang!
Help for Burro adopters! Crystal Ward Donkey Training
All the basics of gentling, handling, and training. A MUST for new burro adopters! Good for domestic donkeys, too!
Calico Mtns HMA horses, Photo by Dustin Gasser
GENTLING & TRAINING MUSTANGS (Wild Horses)
Mustangs/Wild horses are wonderfully sophisticated, intelligent social beings.
Only one thing stands between them and a loyal, lifelong bond with you: FEAR. Bottom line is, the horse thinks you want to have it for dinner!
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself... - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Another basic principle to keep in mind is: One Size Does Not Fit All! There are basic underlying realities of the way horses' brains are hard-wired. But there is no universal set of steps, etc., that must be followed in gentling a Mustang. The ideas presented in this section are presented to assist you, but should not be used as a substitute for direct personal experience.
HOW ARE MUSTANGS*/WILD HORSES DIFFERENT FROM DOMESTIC HORSES?
Wild horses, like mules, must be trained the way all horses SHOULD be trained. They will not respond well either to being treated harshly or aggressively, nor to being handled in a lax or indecisive manner. They do not respond well to anger. Nor to "wimpiness". Like children, they will take over if you can't establish clear boundaries and limits. They will not do well if rushed, if you skip steps.
Wild horses are, first and foremost, simply HORSES. In most ways they are just like any other horse. There are some important differences, however.
Wild horses haven't been spoiled, abused or taught bad behaviors by anyone else. You are getting " Pure Horse." They are "blank slates" as far as experience with humans goes (but not to life in general!).
Wild horses have a much stronger sense of self-preservation than domestic horses, which must be understood in a training program. That's why going at the horse's pace and making sure everything is solid before moving to a more advanced step is important. That's why building trust is so important. Mustangs are capable of great loyalty, once they have learned to trust you. But until then, that sense of self-preservation will be challenging.
A horse who has spent time in a social band is smarter, has a stronger sense of himself, and is more sophisticated socially than one who has grown up a in a stall. Such a horse already knows good manners, respect, the ability to function in a social order, how to get along with others. Wild horses understand leadership - what a good leader is, and how to follow a good leader.
A wild horse has a deep ability to read and understand movement, energy, intent, and body language. It can read YOU loud and clear. We do not always read the horse well, however, and that's when the trouble starts.
Like all horses, mustangs are honest, and will give you immediate and honest feedback. That is why working with horses is so useful for personal growth, and even for rehabilitating prisoners.
If you want the horse to trust you, be trustworthy!
Gentling and training your wild horse will make you a better trainer and handler of all equines, and a better person, too.
Once you have earned the horse's trust and loyalty, it is ready to be trained just like any domestic horse. And just like any horse, the better the training, the better the horse.
An added PLUS is that Mustangs have all the wisdom and savvy learned from their life in the wild. Even young horses with only a few months in the wild are better off for the experience!
Jerry Tindell says, "They were born into a Black Belt Family!"
*Note: By "Mustang," I am refering to horses who are wild-born, or born to and raised by a wild or formerly wild mare - not domestically bred "Mustangs."
WHO AM I?
I am not a professional trainer by any stretch of the imagination. I started out with Sparky in 2001 as a rank beginner.
Like many other beginners who adopted a Mustang as their first horse - despite all the naysayers who warned that "Green on Green Makes Black and Blue" - I (through passionate study, commitment and hard work, including finding and working hard with good teachers) have been successful with my Mustangs, and have gone on to successfully gentle and halter train several more.
I have shared on these pages things that I have learned that I hope will be helpful to you.
SO HOW TO TRAIN WILD HORSES?
There are a wide range of effective, humane approaches to gentling & training wild horses.
Each horse is unique, as is each human handler. You may feel more comfortable with certain methods than with others. You may find that one idea clicks with you better than others. What may work best for an expert may not be useful for a beginner who lacks the experience and background to understand the techniques. And each horse is unique in its temperament, issues, and talents. There's no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all set of steps that work equally well for all wild horse training! Listen to your horse! Adapt your training to his needs and abilities.
PAGES IN THIS SECTION ABOUT WILD HORSE GENTLING & TRAINING: (Click on an item to go to a page about it)
Cliff Tipton says, “Mustangs have a survival instinct. They’ve had to struggle and fight for their food and water all their life...When you train a mustang you’re not domesticating him, you’re becoming his partner. You’re creating a bond." (Read More by following this link.)
Learning to communicate with your horse through pressure and release is the foundation of most wild horse training.
See left side panel for "The First Touch" DVD by Lesley Neuman. ________________
Kitty Lauman's bamboo pole method (See "From Wild to Willing" DVD on left side panel) - if followed correctly - provides even people with little experience and a small pen a relatively safe way to start working with a wild horse.
Nothing beats working with a knowledgeable teacher, in the flesh, who can talk you through things as they occur. If you can attend an "In-Person" Gentling clinic or private training with a good trainer or someone who is "a good hand with horses" - DO SO! _________________
Jerry Tindell: The Ten Most Wanted, Part 1: Catching Leading Handling the Feet Avoiding Pushiness Helping the Cinchy or Over-Reactive Horse or Mule (Most horses in the video are BLM Mustangs) $50 (expensive but worth it!)
copyright 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Nancy Kerson, all rights reserved - I'm happy to share, just need to be asked and have credit given where due.
Disclaimer: Horses are inherently dangerous. Use the information contained within this website at your own risk.