My friend used to date a big time reining horse trainer. We were talking about confidence in horses… how to get it back when a horse loses their confidence. She was telling me how her ex brought in a show jumper horse – into the reining facility – to help him gain confidence by doing something completely different than he was used to doing. He even brought in bison for the horse to work! After this new work, the horse was a new horse.
Sometimes, changing it up is all we need… a fresh perspective. Horse and Man.
Thank you, Tracy, for this story… which I tracked down as linked here on Les Vogt’s blog.
Will Simpson called me, Will is one of the great jumping horse riders in the western United States. Nobody out here has accomplished what he has. Will’s won just about every Grand Prix – he’s really hot, I mean he’s the man out here at least. On top of that he held the puissance high jumping world record for 13 years at a crazy height of 7’ 9.” Also, Will was a member of the U.S. Gold Medal jumping team in the 2008 Olympics that were held in Hong Kong. There has never been a Gold medal winner from the western United States, except for Will. So that gives you a little history of Will’s accomplishments. I’ve known him for 20 years, we’ve worked together back then on a project and we’ve been good friends ever since. Well he and a friend of his, George Ludwig, came over and he brought this horse, and stayed for 2 days.
The horse had some problems that Will thought I could help him with. It was so amazing that even though we come from different styles of riding, our approach and theories of horsemanship are exactly the same. We were always on the same channel as far as the things that worked or didn’t, the way we thought the horse was thinking or reacting or the solutions to the problems might be. So we tried to think about what we’d do to fix this horse’s problems the western way not the jumper way. This horse wasn’t relating to the jump course anymore and he was just a little spoiled. He had a bit of an attitude problem here and there. But Will kept telling me this horse wasn’t just the best horse that Will has ever ridden; he says he is the best horse that he’s ever seen. The horse is potentially worth $5-8 million, if you can imagine! He’s a beautiful French warm blood, a Selle Francais. He’s drop dead gorgeous and he floats like he’s on a cloud, moves like a deer.
We ended up doing some fun things with him, he was a little bit spoiled and needed to be handled so I gave him another job. First we worked the flag, that is the mechanical cow. Cody did that. He rode the horse first and got him limbered up. Will does a pretty good job with his horses actually. They are softer in the neck than most jumpers, and stayed pretty bridled up, and Will does it for all the right reasons. Then we took him to the round corral with the western saddle and Will worked the buffalo with him. He worked good and hard, and in the end he seemed like a happy, horse especially compared to where he was the first day. I told Will he was on the right track for sure, asked him what he was thinking. We figured that he’d done so well, he’d keep him off the jumping course for a while, give him a new life and let him forget any of the problems he had before. We got to film a lot of it and hopefully he’ll be on our television show on the RFD-TV, or at least on YouTube. Will and George are great horsemen and friends, and it was quite an honor for me to give an Olympic Gold medal rider a lesson. I’m totally flattered.
(Disclaimer: I don’t know anything about Les Vogt, Will Simpson, or the horse mentioned in the article. The photo used was one I found on the internet of Will Simpson. I do not know if the horse pictured is the horse from this article.)