My father had a horse or horses ever since I was ten years of age. Until I was in my mid 40’s and moved to Wyoming, I never bothered to own a horse. I was too busy with my career and it was far easier to just ride my Fathers horses.
Heart was a ranch horse any hand would die for. Heart was a horse that could do any job you wanted and make any one his back look like a hand.
Freckles were the second horse I bought. He was advertised as a horse you could do anything on. Freckles is the horse that sent me on this journey in 2000. With Freckles, I began to truly understand the issues that circus-training horses was creating in the industry.
Peppy and Lassie, I bought as a pair. Peppy was an untrainable 4-year-old horse. I was looking for an experimental horse that was rideable so I could figure out what was real and what was not in the horse industry. I fully expected to ruin Peppy by doing everything I though was wrong, then I would know for sure why it was wrong.
Lassie was an easygoing horse, who would make anyone look like an expert trainer. I had her doing just about anything I asked on her second ride. She went lame about her fourth ride. I suspect the scrapes she got from a stall pen in a colt-starting clinic did the damage. She got into it with a colt in the next pen.
Smoky was another horse I bought as a pair. I tried to pick an easy horse and the difficult horse so at least I get one horse working. Again, the easy horse got west Nile and died. Smoky was the only horse out of a 50 yearlings at a quality private production sale they could not halter train. When I got him home it took me a month to get the halter off and even at that it mostly fell off. It took me a year or so worth of work to even get to the point I could touch him.
Son of a Jack was a four-year-old stallion I bought off of Emmett Brislawn if he showed me how to start him. Son of a Jack was the start of my formal apprenticeship. We never did get him started. A lot of life just got in the way.
Milo was supposed to be an easy horse. I sure misjudged him. I guess Emmett was laughing about that when I was not around. He sure surprised me. I original plan was to use Milo as a halter training to campaign stage example. It turns out he might be the toughest horse I have ever worked.
I did not pick my horses for this project. Peppy, Smoky, and Son of a jack were the toughest horses I could find, I wanted real answers and I knew you had to work tough horses. Peppy turned out to be a heck of a horse. Smoky is not far behind him, if I can quit falling off of him. (He is cat quick) So I have plenty of horses to ride, more than I can keep in condition.
I asked Emmett Brislawn how tough my horses actually were, as I have no real way to judge that. Emmett told me they were the toughest tree horses he ever saw in one string. Milo became the fourth.
From a marketing standpoint, all four of these horses are a disaster. From education process, these are the types of horses you need to stress your education process. From a personal standpoint, other than wishing I was 30 years younger, I enjoy the challenge.
One of the advantages of building horsemanship is a structured approach, is you can you can build a feel of the difference between easy horses and tougher horses. Since there is no real accepted process in the horse industry, most of the “tough” horses are really just confused horses. When you work some of the issues Emmett Brislawn was struggling with, then you understand the difference between poorly trained horses and tough horses.