How do you know the trainer/mentor is right for you and your horse? Who is your favorite and why?

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I am so pleased you have found Chris methods working for you - I think the point is that they cannot NOT work! The whole point is about doing the work on yourself, not simply practising 'using techniques' ON your horse. As you say, he teaches us to speak horse and to understand what they are saying to us as well.

Chris is also now offering 'private lessons' online if people can't get to his clinics. You can video yourself working with your horse and then send them in to him and he will advise what is going on between you and what you need to do. I think it's a great idea.

I said at the beginning of this thread that Chris Irwin is the only trainer for me and a few people were saying things like 'oh no, that's not right. No one person has all the answers' but I suspect that they have never seen Chris do his stuff. If they had, they would not say that. It is a good idea to learn and take what you can from different sources, but some of the other 'approaches' are completely at odds with what he teaches and to use them together would be extremely confusing to the horse.

There are so many levels to what he does that anyone describing him in the same breath as some of the other well-known trainers really hasn't 'got it'.
I had to pleasantly smile as I read this. How many times I feel this exact same way about the Parelli's. If people only knew what they don't know...'they'd get it' . I think they both have fantastic methods.
Maybe you could share where you think the two methods directly oppose each other as to be confusing to the horse.
This is a sincere question, not sarcasm or ridicule, just wondering as I've thought they might actually compliment each other. I can't think of anytime I've seen anything from either of them that I found to be 'bad' for the horse or my training. My brain connects better with the Parelli's but I know that is not the case for others. I think it was Jenn that liked that Chris uses a professor type training. I have a hard time connecting and keeping focused on this. Even on some of the parelli's DVD's I end up forwarding thru some of this stuff and that's not my norm, I try to listen all the way thru .
Hope you will share so we 'get it'.
Friends, Shirley
When I said both have fantastic methods, I meant Parelli's and Chris Irwin...
Hi Shirley, I'm having a bad horsey day today so I went to reading a book instead... geez, why does this "training" stuff take up so much of my thoughts and emotions??? oh ya, because I have a horse with "issues"... that's why... look what I read yesterday... the book was written by Nicole Golding and Andrew Goodfellow..... they are followers of Monty Roberts, and the book is there account of how his methods helped them... here we go.... I found this particularly interesting because of Oliver... of course... what else do I worry about?

'We had several challenging horses in for training, including Duncan, a bottle reared colt.... He'd been a twin, and rejected by his mother and the odds of his surviving were considered poor. His owner hadn't put a headcollar on him for years, (sounds like me) and used to bring him in from the field by opening all the gates from the field to the stable, putting his feed in a box, calling him and scarpering... (running and hiding? is that what that means?LOL, sounds like me 2 yrs ago) The last time she tried to lead him anywhere, he'd knocked her over, and broke her hip.(with me it was my neck, but thank god he didn't break it).. Underneath it all he was good natured and affectionate, but hard to handle, all teeth and hooves and tossing head (um, ya)... .... Like so many orphan horses, he was also prone to tantrums, and more than once resorted to throwing himself on the ground when he couldn't get his own way.(Oliver tries to bite you or strike you if you ask him what he doesn't want to do)...... He arrived a tight bundle of hard juscles and jangled nerves, and when he went home, he was soft as butter. Adam drove him back and stayed for a day to make sure he remembered his manners. (which Oliver never does)

That was the end of the paragraph... I hope as I read on further they explain what they did with this horse..... but most trainers, they don't... they like to lure you in and then you have to spend a zillion dollars trying to figure out what they are doing... or they make it seem so easy, "just do this mate, or that mate..." or, "make the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy", or "okay, lets do the yo yo game...." which by the way, what even is that...

Chris just shows you... for free.... on videos.. he is so unselfish... "put your foot here, your eyes here, your core here, use the whip like this... I have faith for the first time in my life that I might actually learn something useful.... after 5 years I have hope...

That is why he is my fave... I know the Parelli's stuff is good, but they always put the carrot out in front of your face to get you to buy stuff..... their method is awesome. I just can't afford any more money right now to "try" something.... so I appreciate that Chris is so willing to help me with his videos.. I feel like he made them for me.

and all I am doing is trying to get my bratty orphaned horse soft like butter... I am getting so tired..... my good days are so few and far between... but I know I can watch a 10 minute video and try something that I might be able to do....

:) I am so glad for anyone that finds anything that works..... I think this is really hard... I honestly do. Jen
The main thing is that we each find someone we can connect with to learn what they are trying to teach you.

Where are you finding Chris' videos for free? He must be making money somewhere. He has to make a living. I know I paid for my DVD's from him. If you are referring to the video clips that are on or something similar, I suspect he gets paid to do those rather then doing them for free. but great they end up free to you and others. I'm thinking he gets paid to do these just like different trainers get paid to write articles for magazines.

The yo-yo game is one of the first things taught to help keep people safe. Yo -yo refers to sending them out and bringing them back a yo yo. It can be used in many ways with different amounts of energy behind it depending on what you need to do. It is much easier to explain all the ways you can use it when you can see it. it can be used to back a horse near you or from several feet. If a horse is coming at or on you, you can use it with a firm snap to back him up or stop him. If they aren't staying far enough away from you if you are lungeing you can use it to send them into a larger circle. As your communication grows you can just wiggle your finger to get them to back up and come back to you. I have seen situations where the horse is dancing around the human and sometimes running at them when they get them under control by waving the rope hard and the clip will bump them hard on the chin. They listen up! Depending on the situation, some respond immediately and others take several times to get the idea and gain respect for the human. I am sure there are examples of it on 'you tube' when people demonstrate the 7 games. Generally those are going to be examples of how to use it with mild mannered horses.
Does Chris offer techniques that work with aggresive horses or more so for fairly calm horses that need direction. The three DVD's of Chris' that I have are more on teaching fairly calm horses that do get excited at times but not charging or anyting like that.

I do want to watch my DVD's again before I sell.them. I have several tapes,books, and DVD's of a few trainers that I really need to sell. I keep thinking I want to watch or read them "one" more time.

I am also happy for you to find some things that work for you. If you just keep doing what you are doing, you will amazed where you are in a few months. Tape videos if you can. that's where you can really see the progress being made and that's the best motivator. I'd love to see some video of you and Oliver when he's behaving and being naughty to get a better idea of what you are dealing with. That idea of being able to do a lesson by mailing in a video tape to be critiqued is a great idea! Do you know what that cost? Just curious! But it is a cool idea.
Happy Horsie Days are soon to come!
Hi Shirley

I have no axe to grind with the Parellis or anyone else for that matter. I think the 'yo yo' game is a perfect example of why Chris Irwin and Parelli's methods don't go together. The yo yo game (as I understand it) requires you to stand in front of the horse and put pushing energy directly into its head via the rope in order to make it back up. This is in direct opposition to Chris's teachings, which require you to only use blocking or drawing energy to the head, telling the head where not to go, while you direct pushing energy to the body only.

I know what you are saying about Chris' DVDs showing only calm horses. The most recent one that Jenn mentions, Barn Manners, does show some more challenging situations. Chris would I'm sure also add however that a lot of horses he works with don't react aggressively to him for very long because he is so aware of his body language that he doesn't cause them to charge and so on. He doesn't offer 'techniques' as such as the main point of the stuff he does is about diagnosing what's going on between the horse and the human before rushing in to 'fix' the horse.

I'm not sure about the cost of the video lessons - its all on Chris's website - I think you can choose how many to buy.

Hope this helps.
Okay then, I am convinced that I must look closer to see the differences. Right now I'm thinking there is an initial difference in philosophy but after that many of the techniques are very similar. But, similar with different energy could be like night and day. Even when viewing some of the Parelli information they offer different solutions for the very same horse behavior but the behavior is coming from a different source of is it fear or aggression?
Jenn is talking about 'free' videos. Are those on his web-site too? I know one of the magazine .com websites offer free video clips from him but it appears you don't get the full scope of his teaching without purchasing some information. Right? Like I said earlier, they do all have to make a living.
Does Chris ever come to the US to do seminars/clinics? I don't have a trailer but I'd love to go as an observer.
I met a really great lady at a gathering I attended that is a high level instructor from Chris Irwin and she lives in Canada too. I think she still travels with Chris some. Her name is Anne Gage and she is the one that introduced me to BarnMice. That was a great gift in itself. You can look her up by name and see if she is in your area. She will come to do US clinics if you can get a minimum amount of people together to attend. I don't remember what she charges or how many she needs to make her trip worth while. I am sad to say I don't know enough people in my area interested in any form of natural techniques. I'm sure they must be out there but I'm not bumping into them. Maybe cause the only place I've been going lately is in front of the comp and to my barn to be with Cash. I think I need to keep spreading my wings, it's an interesting world out there with great people to find. BUT I LIKE HORSES COMPANY!!!!
Anyone listening from Michigan?
I think it is a fundamentally different philosophy as you say. At the end of the day, 'solutions' are so dependent on what else is going on that it is not possible to know all the answers. What many trainers fail to do, however (and I'm not naming any names) is show you how to tell the difference between fear and aggression, or stubbornness. Either they don't know or they just seem to know through their own experience but they don't (or can't) articulate what it is about the horse that is telling them this. What I like about Chris is that he explains equine body language and demonstrates cause and effect of our own body language so clearly that it is indisputable (unless you don't want to accept what you see!). So we begin to learn to really read what we are seeing, rather than delude ourselves that all is wonderful and fluffy!

I don't believe you can get the full scope of anyones' teaching without seeing them in person or actually studying with them. As you rightly say Chris has to make a living like the rest of us! The free videos are on a website called Stateline Tack I believe but I don't know the details, you'd have to look at his website.
Yes Chris does travel a lot in both Canada, the US and more recently Europe. His website gives details of his travel itinerary and clinics although next year's stuff is not up there yet. It's well worth going to see what it's all about - perhaps the DVDs will make more sense once you've seen him 'in the flesh' so to speak! :-)
Yes Anne Gage is one of Chris's Gold level trainers - she also introduced me to Barn Mice! She should get commission or something! :-)
I just realized when you said charge for lessons, you mean sending in your video so Chris can critique what you are doing....Okay but I still wonder about the rest.
Hello. :) Fiona helped with answering about and the Video Gallery. I am sure that Chris gets paid by someone as he deserves to, but it isn't me....

The Yo Yo game, and some things that even Chris Cox and Clinton Anderson suggest, are exact opposite of Mr. Irwins teachings in this one simple thing that I have learned, and I am only on about the 20th segment. See, when you bash the horse in the head with the clip, his head is inverted and he is releasing adrenaline. Chris is teaching me how to get Oliver to release endorphins. I think his chip is so big on his shoulder, the kid is carrying around so much crap, that for as long as it takes I feel like he needs to chill out. I have to tell you that yesterday, he was yawning so much and licking and chewing so much that it was actually distressful.... he is such a spaz... he has so much pent up, that he wouldn't stop, his eyes were rolling in the back of his head... ..... but it was good. Few hours later he was all punky again so I had to practice more. I want to ask Fiona.... cuz this is something that I am kind of confused on and something I work on and why Chris really is saving my life. The yo yo game would get me killed..... if you ever meet my horse, who is going on 16 hands, 4 years old and born of a wild stallion and the alpha mare in the herd, don't elevate his head. Do whatever you can for your own safety to get him to chill and relax and lower his head.... and lick... I feel like Chris is helping me gentle my mustang.... and both of us need that, or I won't be able to deal with him. anyway, for the first time, since I learned this, I am making it a point to not have a face to face with Oliver.... I am trying, get this, just to get him to turn his side to me, not block me with the head, and not manage me in the least... and it isn't that easy.... and not letting him come forward, but also, not touching him... not pushing him away, but blocking him. eventually, if I can get there... I am confused about when to block and when to draw... he licks and chews and lowers his head..... then I can get to his side, this was a big deal, I know it sounds so stupid, but he is all about his front side, like he'd head butt you before he'd turn to kick.... now, the question.... I'm on his side, and rubbing his girth, and getting his head to come in, he still has attitude, I'm betting it's me now that I think of it.... you know what? I know where it is in the video if I think about it.. see, he's turning in and bending his head to my hand, but not nicely yet, kinda grumpy still. He is totally reacting to me and I'm thinking I'm doing it right, but I bet he's sensing apprehension of me being that close, doing something different.....

here is a visual for you shirley. One time, my friend and I.... we were measuring Oliver to see how tall he was. I was with him and she was on his side, going hand over hand..... he was patient for awhile, and then after she lost count and tried over, out of the blue, he turned into her, knocked her into a summer sault and jumped over her...... and ran off..... now, let me say... never in my life had I ever seen that, didn't even know it could happen, and it really scared me..... because up to that point, Oliver and I were very close in grooming, at liberty. I was kind of traumatized..... so to be close to him, rubbing his girth and asking him to give me his head, I must be subconsiously remembering that..... cuz he hasn't ever done it to me, but it sure scared the crap out of me when he did it to her. I don't think my relationship with Oliver is going to ever be about control. There is no controlling him... he is gonna be more like asking him to submit.... be soft, give it up, let it go, easy, easy, easy and lots of guidance. Every move that Chris teaches, is to get him to relax, like John Lyons does, who is a genius, and I need that with my horse.... I just can feel for the first time that this is what I need. Oh, and when you are working with a 1200 pound mustang, and you have no fricken idea what you are doing, I honestly believe you need like a step by step direction handbook of how not to piss him off..... how not to get killed by this thing that lives in your back yard. this is my life Shirley, LOL.... I rescued an orphan colt mustang with a left brain personality, and a hard stiff chip on his shoulder....

I actually put up 2 videos of Oliver and I, but video taping myself and working with him is most likely not going to be something I can do... and I'm not ready to work with him with other people around.... I need more of his attention... it's a gonna come though.. I'll do alot of videos. I just bought a camera. My daughter can film us. Right now though, to be honest, Oliver lets me know when I'm screwing up.. he is pretty patient but when I'm not getting what I want, I quit.... now, some would say that is wrong, but with a sensitive creature that gets escalated, I just back off of him and let him process and calm down.... because once he gets jacked up, you don't want to be in the corral with him....

I hardley ever see elevated emotions from him, but that's because only my trainer and I work with him.... I'm not trying to make him out to be a beast, but he really needs to be "handled" every day..... he is definitey a challenging horse. In the wrong hands, like if you tried a yo yo game with him, or tried to roundpen him, or back him up with a handy stick, he'd run you down. Or try to.... I don't recommend anyone going in his pen, LOL....
My First Trainer Hans Reimer, who explained everything so simply,
Learning about horses is easy, It's only the first hundred years which are the hardest, after that it a peice of cake.
Live you equestrian life with an open mind and seek multiple approaches that make common sense.
He would think I am a baby still then... I'm in my 5th year. :) No wonder everything is taking so long... I have 95 years to go. :)


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