Taming a wild Patagonian horse
January 12, 2018 5:22 AM   Subscribe

Watch a gaucho tame a wild Patagonian horse in this short clip from BBC Earth (SLYT).
posted by Harald74 (11 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Was just thinking about a 16mm film I used to have, Dream of the Wild Horses. Don't know what the background story is there, or who lit that fire.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:27 AM on January 12, 2018

This was wonderful. Thank you.
posted by bardophile at 8:00 AM on January 12, 2018

Beautiful! I feel tame now, too! Thanks for sharing.
posted by sixpack at 8:19 AM on January 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

She is already quite positive from the outset, I suppose the very long trek home is part of the taming proces. And he probably smells strongly of horse, too. Still it is really impressive that he can get up and ride on the first day.
posted by mumimor at 8:42 AM on January 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't really like horses but man that is a beautiful horse. That's really something.
posted by dismas at 8:57 AM on January 12, 2018

When you’re in grade school, you’re told you can be anything you want — Doctor, lawyer, astronaut, firefighter. Not once was I offered “Wild Patagonian horse tamer” and now I’ve wasted my life.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:00 AM on January 12, 2018 [13 favorites]

If you'd like to play the home version of this game, many of the techniques employed in the Patagonian Gaucho video are standard "colt starting" techniques you can learn from assorted clinicians in arenas all over the US on Any Given Saturday. Round pens, rope halters, pressure&release, timing... you have your choice of guys to study and learn from as this stuff relates to horses and there are tons of videos on YouTube. Some names in the biz include (but are not by any stretch of the imagination limited to) Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance, Buck Brannaman, Pat Parelli (comes with Extra Magic Kool-Aid but the basics are the same and his timing is decent even if his upsell is annoying), Clinton Anderson (side of Kangaroo), John Lyons, Chris Cox, yadda yadda yadda.

You'll also need a horse that needs to be started under saddle but those are readily available from local auction places and/or craigslist for under $500 so that's not a huge barrier to entry.

(I start young horses under saddle as a hobby. They aren't wild horses but neither are they equipped with most of the skills you'd expect on a "doesn't ride yet" horse. Starting colts is fairly routine and unexciting, or it should be. If you are starting colts under saddle and it's "exciting" you are doing something wrong.)
posted by which_chick at 9:49 AM on January 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

which_chick: is the beret required or just encouraged?
posted by dismas at 10:00 AM on January 12, 2018

I use no helmet if I'm doing unmounted ground work or a helmet if I'm aboard. So the beret is optional.
posted by which_chick at 10:01 AM on January 12, 2018

I always love watching a trainer with good timing.

As which_chick says: Starting colts is fairly routine and unexciting, or it should be. If you are starting colts under saddle and it's "exciting" you are doing something wrong.

100% in agreement!

I tend to think that most people don't need to 'play the home version of this game.' I was starting colts before I met Ray Hunt, but I had already had some of 'the moves' and he helped me to refine them to be a better trainer. I wish I would have met him sooner. (I also wish I was young enough to keep working with colts, but that's another ancient story...)

It's wonderful to have the resources out there, and these horsemen help many people (and horses), but what I find is no matter how many clinics many people attend, a lot of them just never develop the timing to be a trainer. After a horse knows his job, they're incredibly forgiving about mistimed cues, and (mostly) figure out what's wanted. Getting a colt to that point takes much more consistency and the ability to predict what is going on with the horse and how he's reacting. This gaucho knows when to send the horse off because he's lost the horse's focus, and when the horse is still focusing, but needs a second's worth of time, a bit of distance, or more reassurance.

(Which-chick--Now that I'm just a fence sitter instead of being in the roundpen, I enjoy watching my local fella, Martin Black. He's a Dorrance/Hunt protege, and starting to develop a larger international presence. His moves are very precise and subtle. AFAIC, regarding the self-proclaimed guru, Parelli's ego has overtaken his skill, and he has all the patience of a piss ant.)
posted by BlueHorse at 1:42 PM on January 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

The discussion here is interesting to me, as it reveals another cultural gap between the Americas and Europe that I didn't even know existed. I broke in my first pony when I was nine, and it was in many ways a failure because nine-year-olds shouldn't be doing that job, but in other ways it was fine because he was my friend for life and I was training to be trainer and no one wanted to profit from my pony.
I grew up training very valuable horses, and there is just no way we would approach it as cavalierly as in this video. I have certainly learnt from watching the video and I appreciate it, but the risks of damaging the basic skills of the horse are too great for what we were doing when I worked with training. After I stopped, quick and dirty methods were brought into European training, but my daughter's pony was damaged severely by those methods and it cost us a fortune to get it back on track, and there is generally a lot of controversy about harsh training methods.
Working horses are different from show horses, and it is very clear from the video that he communicates very well with the mare. But if I did that to one of my neighbor's horses (I'm not breeding right now), it would lose value, rather than gain from being broken in.
posted by mumimor at 3:41 PM on January 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

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