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Articles by Lewis from Essex Rider Magazine

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Lewis Blackburn
www.blackburnnaturalhorsetraining.com
Telephone: 01799-543711  Email: blackieb@btconnect.com

Personal: I am originally from Fort Worth, Texas, love horses and enjoy riding in many disciplines, as well as solving equine problems, generally training and dealing with horses.  Given my love of horses, as you might expect people are an anathema to me, although I continually try my best to make myself understood.  I am married to an English lady and have two children, a son in Texas and a daughter in England.  I grew up in and around Fort Worth, Texas and the surrounding towns.

Over the years I gained an understanding of horses and apply what I have learned and experienced in remedial training, problem solving and improving confidence / communication between horses and riders.

Lewis Blackburn

I consider myself fortunate to have a feel, empathy for horses.  I see every horse as an individual character with its own quirky habits, likes and dislikes.  I try to stay kind and even handed with every horse I encounter (even when explosions occur).  I do not condone nor will I ever beat or reprimand a horse with anger or excess force.  My work is not directed solely for English or Western riding styles as it is suited to improve any style and to improve overall communications.

General: My intentions are to deal, in a friendly, firm and natural way, with all breeds of horses and their worries/problems, also in helping riders/owners to better communicate to their horses what they have already learned (or are in the process of learning of learning).  I feel that it is essential to try and deal with horses in a firm, relaxed fashion by working more with the horse instead of against him.

 
Study / Education:
The following is a list of respected trainers who I have studied extensively, worked with and/or dealt with and some whom I consider mentors.  I also rely on them for any unusual problems I might encounter that I feel I need help with.

  • Mark Miller (Texas)
     

  • Casey Deary (Texas)
     

  • Mark Rashid (Colorado)
     

  • Larry Trocha (California)
     

  • David Deptford (March, Cambs.)
     

  • Tad Riley (Texas)
     

  • My 'well seasoned' uncle
    (in Louisiana when I was a child).

Lewis Blackburn

I have also studied extensively and applied much of the teachings by Bill Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Craig Cameron, Dan Franklin, Pat Parelli, Monty Roberts, Clinton Anderson, others.  I continue to learn from other sources and most of all from the hundreds of horses I meet and deal with.


 My Training Perspective / Attitude:
Over my time dealing with and training horses and my experiences with several hundred horses (here in the UK I have conducted more than 3,500 sessions so far), I have been lucky enough to have run across (in person as well as in other mediums) a growing number of trainers with similar training attitudes as myself.

These trainers not only want to solve problems for horses (rather than intimidate horses) but also want to teach owners to carry on in the correct / best ways with ongoing exercises and attitudes towards their horses - as well as generating true understanding between the horses and their owners and riders.

Theses trainers not only want to produce good, well trained horses and educated owners, but also truly 'care' about each horse 'as an individual', no matter what breed, size, color, age the horse happens to be and with no bias as to which training discipline the horse happens be have been trained.

By working with and treating each horse truly as an individual - listening to and learning the horse's point of view / current understanding (or misunderstanding) of the (our) world in which we have forced it to live in, there is a much better chance of being more effective in generating a true 'two way' communication with the horse and lasting relationship.

When a horse truly believes that we are truly listening to its replies / comments (its tries, efforts, etc.), the horse will gain much more self confidence and believe that his best interest is being looked after and will not feel so much that he must look out for himself (acting alone) with no help from the trainer and/or rider.  This aspect of communication is not all that different from humans when involved in conversations where one is talking over the other and not really hearing the other's point of view.  Confusion is generally the result in such conversations and that is often the same result between horse and human.  Horses, not being used to humans truly listening for most of their lives, will check or test this premise from time to time and we must be patient with them as they reaffirm this.

By working with each horse as an individual whilst attentively listening and paying attention to replies (even when ever so slightly given) the speed of the training process is often sacrificed (sometimes to the chagrin of the owner) in exchange for the quality of the result.  But to the trainer (myself included), this should not matter, as a good horse with a sound mind, is much more important than having a mechanical horse with no calm / sound mind.  By mechanical horse, I mean one that is doing things because, during his training, he has been forced to do them.  The horse doesn't end up working because he wants to; he does everything because he has to.  There is no feeling in what he does just a mechanical motion.

This 'mechanical motion' is generally the result of the old 'speedy' training methods of Do it now and this way or else! as well as from the over-use of mechanical / equipment based methods for control - such as incorrectly using martingales, draw reins, double bits, etc. and the list goes on.

Trainers should tailor training methods to fit the personality (or horseanality) of each individual horse.

By doing things in such a way, the mechanical feeling you sometimes get from a horse can generally be avoided.  In its place, a more natural flow and genuine willingness will come from the horse.  Put more succinctly, it is like forming a partnership between horse and rider.

Lewis Blackburn
www.blackburnnaturalhorsetraining.com  Telephone: 01799-543711   Email: blackieb@btconnect.com
Articles by Lewis from Essex Rider Magazine