We don't take in horses for
training, and I don't expect us to ever offer that service. However, we do
buy a lot of young horses, green or not started under saddle, and we train them
on the farm. We use our own combination of training methods - mixing
methods that seem appropriate for the horse we are working with at the
moment. We use only gentle training methods, strongly influenced by
natural horsemanship (NH). Most of the horses we start here begin their
training with the Pat Parelli Seven Games for groundwork, but we also use some
techniques we've learned from classical riding, and from other NH trainers and
clinicians. We also supplement those games with some of the TTEAM/TTouch
body work. Our riding style (using the term loosely!) has been
influenced by a few years of basic dressage lessons, basic "English"
riding lessons, reading Sally Swift's great
book, Centered Riding, and from taking clinics of these and similar,
compatible styles. We also incorporate a little NH into our riding, as
well as in our groundwork. We are very lucky to have a good and qualified
trainer, Shirley Humphrey, in our area who is trained somewhat classically (BA
in horsemanship, experienced with dressage and hunters) but also embraces gaited
horses and Natural Horsemanship.
We breed and train our horses to be
sensible, easy-going and versatile trail and family pleasure
horses. We have no personal interest in showing, other than possibly
at some little local fun shows.
Regarding gaits: we believe that a
gaited horse should gait without force. At Wind Gait Icelandic Farm, we
don't (and won't) force our horses to gait by using any harsh riding styles, nor
do we depend on any gimmicks, such as heavy shoes and/or pads, tight or oddly
placed saddles, or harsh bits. In fact, all of our horses are barefoot,
and all can be ridden in any saddle that FITS, and in mild snaffles or even in a
bitless sidepull. We use some treeless saddles, a flex-panel saddle
and a few conventional, treed English saddles, in endurance, dressage or all-purpose styles, but we
don't object to western saddles - as long as they fit the horse and the rider is
comfortable, we could care less! I've found several sources for gait
information to be invaluable: Lee Ziegler's great book "Easy Gaited
Horses" and her website, www.leeziegler.com.
Liz Graves also has some great videos, and they can be ordered from her website,
Both also have some great articles on their websites. I really enjoyed the
Liz Graves clinic I attended. I also enjoyed a Tolt/Centered Riding
clinic I attended at the Icelandic Horse Farm in Canada.
Next on our list of things to
Here are some links to training
being started from the ground and under saddle, and Loftur,
doing some groundwork as part of a therapy program to rehabilitate an old back
injury and pain from a castration scar.