Spring clinic offers tips on training

Published 5:00 am Friday, March 14, 2008

Lincoln County 4-H students learned ways to communicate withtheir horses more effectively on Wednesday at the Multi-PurposeBuilding.

Adams County Extension Director David Carter showed around 40children different ways to get their horses to cooperate and listenby looking at specific horse body language clues.

“He has this talent, almost like a horse whisperer,” saidLincoln County Extension Director Rebecca Bates of Carter.

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Carter said he learned what he knows about horses from what heconsiders some of the top horse handlers in the business.

“I moved here from Louisiana and I trained a lot of horses overthere, and still fool with horses a lot on the side,” he said. “Ilove horses and have always gotten along good with them, and I’velearned, in my opinion, from some of the best.”

Carter showed the children how to make a skittish horse morecomfortable just by handling it and watching for things such as itsfacial expressions and body mannerisms.

It’s important to tailor horse training techniques to the horsethat is being trained, Carter said.

“Horses have their own attitude and attributes, and no twohorses come in there the same,” said Carter. “One thing you have todo is approach each horse as an individual, and while most peoplehave set patterns of how to train a horse, you have to fit that tothat horse’s needs.”

Bates said Carter had learned his unique horse trainingtechniques in Honduras.

“He went to Honduras for the summer and he learned thisdifferent technique in how to learn to understand the horse, tolook at the face, ears and mannerisms of the horse and to work withit instead of beating things into it,” she said. “He’s done it eversince.”

She said at that point she saw the opportunity to have Cartercome over for an expo for the children during their springbreak.

“He showed them how to work with their horse, jump barrels,crack whips,” she said. “It was just a fun day.”

Carter said it’s good for kids to learn early about traininghorses because even the experts continue to try to learn the tricksof the trade.

“Horsemanship is something you have to share,” he said. “It’s sobroad there’s no way you can learn it all yourself, and one thingyou notice about all the top trainers is that they go seek advicefrom other people. There’s no set way to train a horse.”

Bates said the clinic was for all the 4-H, both the livestockand horse groups. She said it’s important for children to beexposed to not only horses but other agricultural activitiesbecause farming is still a part of the future of the country.

“I think we want to keep kids in agriculture and on the farm,and if you catch them young and get their interest, they’llremember these things for the rest of their lives,” she said.