“They’re not all the same.”
Thirty minutes after opening a pen gate, coaxing the sorrel coming three-year-old filly through a small, but big-eyed-spectator-gathering into a makeshift round pen, Scott Daily stood up on the back of the saddled Quarter Horse and received concluding applause for his adapt training skills.
“She acted a little scared, had a bit of disrespect and tried to sulk a couple of times, but this is a nice filly. Overhaul, this horse did really well for her first ride. I wished they were all like her,” evaluated the Arkansas City horseman-clinician, at the first of six horse training seminars he presented as a feature of the recent 26th annual Topeka Farm Show in Topeka.
Seeking audience questions, Daily continued his program for another ten minutes, adding, “Sometimes horses don’t settle down and cooperate as easy as this filly did. That was especially true of the wild horses we worked with recently in Nevada during a special training program.
“But, still most horses are trainable, will respond and do continue to improve when they find out we aren’t trying to hurt them, understand what’s being asked of them, and it’s easier to do what’s requested rather than try to fight it,” Daily explained.
Barb Hewes of Eskridge provided the home-raised Poco Bueno-Pacific Bailey-Doc Bar bred filly for the kickoff training presentation, while Mike Mikos, also of Eskridge, had a colt worked with by Daily in another session.
Although this filly had not been handled much prior to the program, she had been haltered and dragged a rope for several days at Hewes’ Wabaunsee County ranch.
Yet, due to her lineage and temperament with the limited work at the ranch, the filly was still overall quite responsive, Daily recognized.
“Some young horses are not trustworthy at all, and can become very scared, because they are naturally a flight animal, and will run away when frightened. I’ll frequently lay those horses down during my starting process, to get their respect and better understanding,” the trainer continued.
Although it wasn’t necessary, and all of the initial stages had been completed successfully on this fine filly, the bleacher spectators asked Daily to demonstrate how he would lay a horse down, and he obliged their request.
The clinician had the filly step with her left front foot into the loop of his lariat. Daily dallied the rope up around his saddle horn wrapped in mule skin, and tightened the rope, thus forcefully lifting the mare’s foot.
Showing flight and resistance initially, the filly hopped on three legs around the pen for a short time.
Giving in to pressure, the mare soon touched her knee to the ground, continued relaxing, so her left front leg from knee through foot was parallel. Without further ado, the smart filly was laying down, received Daily’s verbal praise with pacifying body strokes, and seemingly was quite calm.
Even when given opportunity to get back up on four feet, the sorrel Quarter Horse did so slowly, without effort to jump and getaway.
“All horses aren’t this easy to get along with,” Daily repeated.
Equipped with a portable microphone, Daily’s program was directed simultaneously to his audience and his equine trainee, with appreciative commentary most obvious to both.
First inside the circular training pen, the filly balked and backed away from Daily. But, in short order, she was moving around from voice command and with prodding of the long rope attached to her fastened rope halter.
First a walk, then trot, and a canter. “That’s better. Good job,” complimented Daily, as he asked the young Quarter Horse to change directions, which she did quite readily.
After several rounds of the pen, the mare was requested to come toward the trainer who tugged lightly on the lead with little response. However, after continued appeals, the mare came to the trainer’s gentle hand-soothing reward. “There we go. Much better,” Daily credited.
Working on both sides of the horse, the trainer rubbed her all over with the rope, wrapped it snugly around her heart girth, over her hip and down all of her legs.
“It’s important to do the same thing on all over her body,” insisted Daily, as the filly shied away from him, when he first moved to her right side.
In order to further emphasize the necessity for his trainee to give to pressure, Daily guided the filly to turn both directions several times, upon his directional request, pushing and pulling with the halter rope.
“There we go. It doesn’t hurt a thing,” contended Daily, as he jumped up slightly putting partial body weight on the filly’s back.
After only slight noticeable agitation from the mare, Daily was soon stretched over her entire back, his boot-covered-feet well off the ground, and then the effort was easily repeated from the right side.
Just ten minutes into the session, Daily walked over to the rail, gathered up his saddle pad and introduced it to the filly, who showed immediate fright, but soon gave in to acceptance as the blanket was rubbed all over her body. “See this doesn’t hurt you either. That’s nice,” Daily insisted.
Stretching to reach his saddle on the railing, Daily tucked both stirrup leathers and girthing over the seat, as he gently let the mare sniff what seemed strange to her. Again, shortly, the saddle was on her back, being shifted all around for the filly to become accustomed, as Daily let stirrups and girth pieces down. “Good,” he credited.
“It’s always important to go slow, so you don’t scare the horse. It takes a lot longer to calm one down, than it does to take your time in the first place,” the trainer stressed.
Daily continued snugging the saddle’s front girth, moving the saddle back and forth on the horse’s back, while fastening the rear cinch. “That’s good enough for now,” said Daily, as he put his left foot in the saddle stirrup and shifted his weight up and back from the horse’s back.
After tying the lead rope around the mare’s neck to form a bridle rein-of-sort, with the main rope length also in hand, the trainer stepped up into the saddle, and immediately dismounted.
The procedure was repeated several times, before Daily seated himself steadily and continually in the saddle, without any alarm from his mount.
From her back, Daily asked the mare to turn both ways in a tight circle, which she initially reacted with tight, cold jaw. But, figuring out quickly, it was easier to do what was bided, the filly gently turned in circles, as Daily increased the requested circumference.
The mounted cowboy rode his young mount around the inside parameter a couple of times at a walk, shifted into a slow trot each direction, and soon had the filly in a rough canter.
Yet, upon prodding verbally, and slight agitation from the end of his lead rope, the mare cantered quite freely. Then, stopping when the rider sat down tight in the saddle, and released pressure, the mare readily followed cue for change of directions, and was again soon cantering at ease.
“Very good,” acknowledged Daily, while uncoiling his lariat from the saddle tree. With initial alarm, the mare soon became accustomed to the lariat’s whirl, as the cowboy swung his rope, while moving his mount both directions of the pen. “Good job,” Daily repeated.
Coiling his lariat tight and reattaching to the tree, Daily guided the mare over to the fence, where he picked up his bullwhip, and started popping it softly from the horse’s back.
Again fright showed in the whites of the mare’s eyes, but soon the whip was being snapped loudly from her back, and around both sides of her head, without any concern. “You are a good horse,” Daily commended.
“Now, don’t get the wrong idea that she’s a well-broke horse. This nice filly has just had one positive experience in learning what will be expected in her lifetime professional career as a riding and working horse,” the horseman evaluated.
“It’ll be a long time before she’ll be well-broke, and she’ll continue to learn the rest of her life, and become better all of the time. It’s a continual learning process for all horses, just like with me, as I learn more about horses and handling them every day,” Daily recognized.
“This mare might not be an exception, but she’s sure done nice for us here today. Please give her a round of applause. She deserves it,” the trainer concluded.