Meet Justin Morgan an Oak Creek Wild Horse.
Found in the mountains of Tehachapi, Ca. there is a herd of about 100 wild horses that have been observed feral for at least 100 years.
These horses are unbranded and free-roaming. They have a strong resemblance to the Morgan horse breed and even have one less rib, just as Morgans do. (I believe they are purebreds!)
Follow Justin's fun video path from roaming with a wild herd to becoming a competitive trail horse.
Taking a wild horse, aka: animal of prey, from his free roaming wild life and asking him to trust a human, aka: a predator, is a journey of patience and mutual respect.
It takes understanding and communication to create a bond between these two species, and getting it done without fear or force is essential.
Justin is a kind and innocent soul who deserves to be handled with compassion, wisdom, and expertise. Enjoy his journey!
Training a wild (or any untrained horse) to accept the restraints of a rope is an essential stepping stone. The goal is to have respect and understanding of the containment of the rope, without fear or resentment.
Easy enough to do by taking a calm pace, allowing the horse to delve into a deeper level of trust and communication with their human handler. Very proud of Justin - he did great!
Justin gets to learn about having a halter on his face, with the new smells, sounds, and feel.
His flight instinct is SO strong - when something is scary to him - he flies! Working through his fear of containment is a very important step for his journey into domestication.
Establishing understanding and communication every step of the way, without fear is the balancing act that many humans fail achieving.
As a trainer, I learned a technique that I feel is THE most important thing to teach to ALL horses, no matter their desired usage.
Horses have a natural reflex point just behind the elbow, right in the cinch area. By applying pressure to this reflex point while simultaneously applying pressure to a chain under the horses chin, you can teach a horse to sub-miss their head.
This understanding of submission is THE foundational ground-zero point for all future trainings.
After having some time off for the winter - we start out going over everything we have learned already before we start with new trainings.
Justin is very attentive and light and easy to work with. If you watch his body language, his stance, his head positioning, his ears and so on you can see his demeanor.
A horses ears are always facing the same way each of their eyes are. An attentive horse's ears will be paying attention to their handler. A stressed out horses' ears will be erratic and possibly pinned flat.
Justin's trust for me is growing (which is such an rewarding feeling!) and this made it very easy to teach him to accept a saddle.
There are a few key steps in training a horse to be saddled. First it is important to show them the saddle pad, letting them smell and touch it. Taking the pad and rubbing them gently until there is no fear...
Watch this video to see what to do next and how Justin does with his new learning.
Training horses to get into trailers can be one of the more challenging things to teach a horse to master. The best tool I have found is teaching them submission and understanding ahead of time.
Teaching Justin to yield to pressure on his jaw, nose and poll area have provided him with a foundational communication that gives him the tools he needs to learn big new tasks.
When a horse drops their head they are not only sub-missing, but they also relax and take the time to view the new training obstacle aka- trailer.
Only bummer here is that the first time I chose to work with Justin and the trailer, my generous neighbor was not around to film it. I did not realize that we would make SUCH good progress on our first attempt - that videoing the second attempt was rather anti-climatic!
The technique that I use to teach what I have found to be the ultimate guide to clear communication between horse and human, was taught to me by an amazing horse savant named Mark Rogers.
When a bridle is put on a horse it applies pressure to multiple areas. A horses natural instinct is to resist such pressure on their heads.
Once a horse understands this training it is EASY to get them to do anything you ever want - trailering, crossing water, stepping onto bridges, etc.