Clean Trainers

We would like to see all Icelandic Horses be trained "naturally"; not specifically meaning *natural horsemanship*, but in a gaited horse context of "natural", meaning training gait without gimmicks.

Trainers who train gaited horses without gait enhancement, without mechanical aids, without gimmicks, are generally referred to as "clean" trainers.

Some personal definitions and opinions:

"It means that a person who has at least elementary riding experience can mount a gaited horse and cue it from a dogwalk into the intended gait (the gait that the breed is meant to do) and that this horse has hooves trimmed to his own conformation and needs no special gimmicks, no long shanked bits, no weighted shoes, no special saddles other than one that fits well, in order to be happy and comfortable staying easily in the intended gait until asked to stop or slow down."

"A clean trainer is one who is responsible for the above described horse as well as its impeccable, respectful mounted and ground manners."

"Naturally to me would mean that no artificial devises were used in their training. No weighted shoes, boots, no chains, no soring, no harsh bits, & etc. "Clean trainer" would be someone that does not use any artificial devises."

"Trained naturally means trained without the use of chains, weighted shoes, boots, enormous long shanked or gag bits, chemicals, bungies, "developers" overchecks, but instead taught to carry himself by the use primarily of the natural aids (seat, legs, hands) using basic equipment (snaffle bit, noseband bridle, saddle that fits).

"A clean trainer is one who does not now, nor has ever in the past, used chains, topical caustic chemicals, injections or extreme devices to train. A person can be clean without being natural in his training."

"Clean being anyone who trains without using mechanical or chemical means in order to influence gait.

Natural being anyone who trains without using mechanical appliances designed to influence or inhibit way of going: including weighted shoes, boots, tie-downs, long curbs, long toes, & extreme angles, etc. Who train the horse to carry his own gait at all times."

"A naturally trained horse is those that the finished "trained" product is simply a polished version of the original talent.

A clean trainer is them that don't resort to drugs or tactics or gimmicks that don't cause a training change to be long lasting...such that when the gimmick or tactic or drug is ended the training change also is ended."

"Natural training means that communication between the horse and rider is done through balance, horsemanship, understanding of the horses movement, and support of the horse.

I don't believe using gadgets like tiedowns or martingales are needed to collect or form frame of any kind. You should be able to do this with your hands and body. Using anything more than a ring snaffle with a gentle mouthpiece (that won't nutcracker or jam the roof of the mouth) as a training aid is unnessary as well. Shanks, no matter how short are for the show, not true performance. Training is not in the bit, saddle, gadgets, etc. it should be in the mind of the horse. Don't even get me started on chemicals, shoes, weights, pads, etc."

"A clean trainer is one that develops a horse to it's full potential of the horses natural ability, with out the use of gimmicks or abusive training techniques, whether it be mechanically or chemically. JMHO"

"I strive to train and get performance from a horse with little to no gadgets if possible. Strictly speaking like a total purist, a bit is a gadget. Of course I do use a bit, but I like to get the horse to use their natural abilities and athleticism to gait. Any enhancement to do this I believe should be done through your balance, horsemanship and support of the horse. IMO (see I did learn something), anything used that causes enhancement of gait that is not part of the communication in this way, is not natural. I do not even use tie downs, or a martingale because you can keep a horses head low and affect a turn with a level head with your hands. I think even those two items are a mechanical aid. I will not use them. Weighted boots are even more egregious. They are no different than weighted shoes, because they serve the same purpose and cause the same strain on the horses' legs. Unfortunately I think you have a group of trainers that want to use an association so they can be perceived as clean, yet go with business as usual.

Saying that using boots is clean is like pulling the leaves of a dandelion forward and calling it a rose. It isn't colored, shaped, or smell like a rose, but if we say it is, then it is. I wish these people would be forced to have the same treatment they do to their horses. I bet they would change their minds after 6 - 8 weeks of wearing weighted boots 24 / 7."

"When I say I use a bit to train, I use a progression of three bits. The first is a copper mouthpiece eggbutt D ring snaffle. I don't have reins on it, only a headstall. I use it for the horse to get used to holding the bit.

I then transition to a full cheek snaffle to teach them to neck rein and have gentle control over their mouth when riding initially. I use this until they are reining with neck rein, leg cues, holding gait with a loose rein, and stopping immediately (horse tucks butt and sets with the body) with voice commands, seat position and at most a very light lifting of the reins.

I then go to a very gentle Myler level 1 ring snaffle with a roller in the center. Myler calls it a training bit, but my philosophy is that if I can get a horse to handle as above with this bit, they are finished. Less is best. It won't nutcracker in their mouth and won't jam the roof of the mouth. I also encourage the use of this bit for owners and people I sell our horses to. You never know how rough their hands are.

With the "handle" I put on the horse, it is easy to transition right into a bitless bridle or hackamore if so desired. Just wanted you to know I do not use any kind of shanked bit for training or finishing."

"YES! A CLEAN & NATURAL trainer is an honest trainer. One that does not resort to dishonest *short-cuts! (what a joke because the only thing they are shorting is the horse and any potential buyer who would care to actually work with and ride it) The best *trainers* I know are just regular owners and riders who truly love their horses and are devoted to their welfare. They may not know much to begin with BUT, by golly, they get out there and ask the questions, put in the work, and oh, THEY SMILE ALOT TOO! They don't run off and point accusing fingers at the horses, former owners and / or former trainers, when they have a problem. They DO diligently seek the horses history (if possible) so that they can better address the problem and they DO seek out good, sound, HONEST advice, help, and encouragement to this end. They actually care about the welfare of their horses and make an honest effort to learn all they can about their horse's strengths AND weaknesses. They do this because they aren't just about looking good. They are about helping the horse become the best horse it can be! They take pride in every little accomplishment. They worry incessantly about every little set-back BUT they keep on loving the horse and, their worry is rooted in this, more than in themselves. It would NEVER even cross this person's mind to pursue a dishonest and / or harmful means in the schooling of the horse. These *trainers* get to know REAL exhilaration and sometimes REAL heartbreak. They tend to ask "what am I doing wrong?" rather than "what is wrong with this horse?" They ask a lot of questions and, oh yeah, THEY SMILE ALOT!"

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