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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Wild Horse Training

Dear Franklin,

I am intrested in purchasing a wild horse from a BLM auction. I have many years of experience with riding and training, but im still a little worried about this new investment. I went to an auction a couple days ago to get the feel for wild horses. My friend went with me, and she purchesed 3 new horses for herself. I have a background in natural horsemanship (I am a level 4 Parelli method), and I would love to work with a wild horse, but I'm not sure how to get started. Have you ever worked with a wild horse before, and what would your suggestions be for getting him used to humans? What kind of enviorment would you recommend? I LOVE your website, and I always go there first if I am having any trouble with a horse. Thank you for putting together such a wonderful refrence for the rest of us horse people.


Hi Alie,

Thank you for most kind email and a good question. The Parelli students I meet and work with are great with their personal horses but not so experienced with a wide variety of horses in different and difficult situations. Unfortunately many do not admit they have limited experience and put themselves out there as know all, experienced trainers after they get their certificate from Pat. I respect and admire you very much for being honest about your concerns about working with wild horses off the range. I also find myself working with a lot of horses that go through Pat's programs. Many seem to come out rather mechanical and stiff in their responses and movement. Sometimes the humans seem that way too. Anyway, thank you so much for reaching out more to learn. I have worked with numerous horses off the range and, thank God, so far so good.

A round pen will be an invaluable tool for you working with the BLM horses. Your relationship with them will be built through appropriate activity and action on the ground. A basic principle is your ability to ask the horse to move forward, change directions, stop and back up and have it be smooth and successful. The round pen is not to tire the horse out. It is there for you to dance with the horse with you as the great leader of the dance. Use a flag (Plastic bag on a stick) to motivate tthe horse. For the first few weeks, only ask for simple things. Give lots of praise (a Good Boy is plenty). You do not have to touch the horse a lot. Get so you can play with this horse at liberty and on a lunge line, lead rope or whatever. Take your time. Make every little step a clear, simple and precise request follow by a Good Boy when the horse tries. Set up an environment with you as the great herd leader. Always make anything a clear request, even little steps. Give Good Boy (praise) a lot. Don't over due things, pay attention to how everything 'feels'. If it doesn't feel right it probably isn't.

After a week or two of steady playing, you could put a saddle on the horse and let him get his bucks out. Most horses will buck a bit when first saddled. Let me know if you want more information on this first saddling and riding. I like to ground drive a horse a lot for a week or so as well. Let me know if you do not have experience with this.

You have enough experience to do this yourself, expecially if you have a round pen. The biggest thing is to take your time and not rush anything. Get connected through simple ground movement and a lot of it. Keep it simple. You may encounter special problems. Please let me know about them and I can help. It is difficult to give you tons of informaiton in a email. Please know I am happy to help through this limited medium and do offer horsemanship coaching via the telephone and online chat. If you are interested, please let me know. You can train these horses. Keep me posted and good luck to you. Thanks again for you kind email and question.

Sincerely, Franklin

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