Times They Are a Changin’
As the generation who has never heard the above song is taking over the horse industry, the significance of correct lunge line work is diminishing.
I’m not talking about the American trainers who have always preferred to send their young horses to cowboys to get “broken” or who have used students to “hack” the youngsters.
In the past, my European working students were well trained in the basics: they had the necessary skills in, understanding of, appreciation of, as well as patience for correct lunge work. However, the past 7-8 years the vast majority of these European youngsters stared at me like I was an alien (pun intended) when I tried to explain them that just because you can, you shouldn’t “get on” a young horse after a week or two of chasing them around and that it’s downright detrimental to the development of the young horse.
I was actually shocked to learned, that while I was firmly believing in my roots if European classical training, most European farms figured that it’s not necessary and it’s too expensive to sell a bunch of horses to the U.S. Just because breeders are breeding more athletic, balanced horses, that look like they were “born in the bit” – they actually aren’t – the correct physical and mental preparation is indeed necessary for long-term, sustained success.
This notion was just re-emphasized by the fact that while there have been no shortage of extremely screwed up American trained horses that came to my farm for re-training, I have been getting in a lot of European-trained imports who have absolutely no clue about correct basics.
When I sell horses that have been bred, raised and trained by me, there is no appreciation for the added value gained by classical training. I have been getting fewer and fewer young horses in to start for the same reason: I need time to do correct work and people want their horses “broke” in 30-60 “days”. Well, that’s what they are getting with that type of training, BROKEN horses.
Yes, times they are a changin’