Hi, this is Jim
I’ve created this website with the beginner through intermediate horse trainer in mind. I would like to share with you, the fun and excitement, and the joy, and the companionship that working with horses has brought me. And maybe above all, the sense of accomplishment that comes along with riding a well-behaved horse, that you yourself have trained, maybe from day one of their lives. And even if it’s a horse that you’ve acquired after it’s grown and somewhat experienced, you can still find great satisfaction in teaching him new things and by perfecting the things he already knows.
It doesn’t matter whether your preference is English riding, Western riding, or just plain Pleasure riding, It all starts the same. With good basic training habits that will stay with your horse for a lifetime. And it ends with a relationship between you and your horse, that will take you through whatever riding discipline you prefer.
Let’s start from the beginning
I started riding horses when I was about 19 yrs old. I lived in the city (Chicago), but some friends and I would drive out to the country, to a livery stable, and rent horses for a couple of hours and ride in the adjacent forest preserve. I didn’t know anything about horses, but it was a fun break from city life. If you’ve ever ridden livery horses, you know that most of them are quite “barn sour”.
We did find however, that if we could get them across the road, past the first line of trees, so they couldn’t see the stable, they became a lot more cooperative. But anyhow, that was my first taste of riding, and trying to get horses to actually do, what I wanted them to do. My friend that I would go riding with, had told me that I should ride “English”, and so I got my start with horses, by riding with an English saddle.
I met my wife because of horses
I worked in a gas station, and she had a horse that she boarded at a hunter/jumper stable out about 50 miles from the city. Well anyhow, she would come in to gas up her car as she was heading out to the stable, and I thought she looked ‘interesting” (and pretty) in her riding pants and boots. We got to know each other, and pretty soon I was going along with her to the stable and she taught me to “properly” ride English.
I won’t tell you about some of the fun things that went on out there, like taking some of the thoroughbred race horses that were in training there, out for “trail rides”. (That’s a no-no with race horse trainers) But anyhow, life went on. Oh by the way…riding English, and doing some jumping, does teach you to ride well, especially when part of the training is to go over jumps, with no stirrups. It also teaches you how to “land” properly, after you go sailing off.
About a year later we were married
And about six months after that, we did something really crazy, we moved to Wyoming. Truthfully, it was the best move of our lives. (I couldn’t stand the city anymore, and had already taken some vacations out west) So we rented an old house with a vacant lot next to it, and soon we bought, “a livery horse” (her name was “Pat”). It wasn’t exactly a livery horse, it actually belonged to an outfitter and hunting guide who took people up into the mountains on pack trips for fishing and hunting.
Well the horse, a paint mare, was too hard to handle for most people (actually she was downright ornery), so we were able to buy her cheap. She was tough though. While she was our only horse, we used to ride her double in the mountains, and she didn’t have any “quit” in her. Well, we built a corral in the lot next to the house, and we proceeded to teach her to jump. She was actually very athletic, and jumped really well. We got here taking about three foot jumps. That was a lot of fun, but then, being here in Wyoming, Jan got interested in rodeo, so that’s the direction we went for a while.
We bought a couple of other horses, that we could find “cheap”, and Jan entered the local rodeos. One of the other horses that we bought,was a mare that had done some rodeo events, and was really good at pole bending. It’s too bad though, that the poles didn’t actually bend, or Jan’s knees would be in better shape now. But we sure had fun.
But I really wanted raise some horses
So we had met an older fella, who lived about three miles south of town, and he raised Arabians, and he also drank too much. We used to hang out at his small stable, and one day after he had been drinking, I said, “Hey Charlie, how ’bout if I put my mare in with your stud? Well, we did, and they did, and we got a really flashy filly, the next spring. Having a foal was so exciting, and training her was even better. That Arab stallion really put some good traits into her and she was really gentle and easy to train. We pretty much just got on her and rode her when she was a three year old. Of course constant handling for those three years really helped too.
The next horse we bred her to was a “running” quarter horse (a race horse) that a rancher friend of mine had. That foal was a bit more stubborn, but we got her going and rode her in the mountains some, and then ended up selling her to some friends, for their daughter’s birthday present.
Our Involvement With Missouri Foxtrotters
One by one, we sold the horses that we had, and replaced them with Foxtrotters. After a couple years, we bought a really nice mare, that had won a yearling championship down in Ava, Missouri, and we started breeding Foxtrotters. It didn’t take long for the horses to multiply. I usually kept about four mares for breeding. We had a beautiful older stallion, named Zane’s Lad, and we would have two or three foals per year, sometimes four, and we always kept an older riding gelding for my wife. I would ride the young horses, training them as I used them. (When we went to the mountains, she didn’t want to be messin’ around training as she rode)
I’d sell the horses at different ages and different levels of training, but if I kept one through it’s three year old year, that’s when I really began to feel that sense of accomplishment. By that point in the horse’s training, it was such a pleasure to just ride and “enjoy”, rather than to be “training” every step of the way. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the training, it was so much fun, but to ride the almost “finished product”, well that was even “funner”. (Please no grammar lessons here) And what a great feeling, to know you did it all yourself. We raised Foxtrotters for over twenty five years.
I also took in a few outside horses to start for people. We had a few neighbors who had bought some BLM Adoption horses, and we got the chance to train some of them also. That was interesting to say the least. I remember one in particular. The BLM people had named him Step-ladder, because he was so tall, you about needed a step-ladder to get on. For some reason, he would only turn to the right when we first began working with him. He would just lock up solid when you asked him to go left. Very strange.. It took quite a while before he started to loosen up and begin to “give” to the left.
Finally we got interested in Icelandic horses
When I keep saying “we” I mean of course my wife and I. I was running my own business by this time, an automotive repair business, and no longer had the time to spend training the horses, so we quit raising horses, and just had a couple riding horses, so we could enjoy riding up in the mountains. But horses have brought us both so much enjoyment and satisfaction, that at this point in my life, I’d love to be able to give that to others as well.
I ‘d like to invite you to take an active part in this website
If you have any comments, please leave them for me. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. As I said, this site is for you, to help you get the same enjoyment from your horse, as I’ve gotten from mine. My hope is that I can help you train your horse easily, safely, and successfully, and that you can have a lot of fun doing it. God bless you, and “Happy Horse Training”, Jim.