I recently rented a colt starting DVD from giddyupflix called The First Week. It features Joe Wolter, Bryan Neubert and Jim Neubert working together for a week to start 20 colts at the Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, Texas.
Note: This review will only focus on disc one of this four disc set. I was not impressed at all with disc one and do not plan to rent the rest of the set.
Quick and Dirty Colt Starting
Joe Wolter, Bryan Neubert and Jim Neubert don’t waste a whole lot of time on ground work and preparations. The 20 horses in this DVD are basically unhandled, they’re not even halter trained. However, the trainers are sitting in the saddle, beginning to ride around a bit by day two.
None of it looks pleasant at at all for the poor horses. Haltering the horses, even on day two, involves roping the horse first so that they can get a halter on. The horses don’t want any part of this kind of “training.”
My opinion of this kind of colt starting is similar to my review of the In A Whisper colt starting challenge–faster does not equal better!
The trainers saddle the colts by circling around the moving horse with a saddle and pad, throwing both on, cinching up tightly, and then releasing the horse into a large arena to run and buck around and “get use to it.” I wonder how many of these horses were cinchy or had issues with being saddled later in life?
If you break saddling and desensitization down into small steps–it really doesn’t take very long to have a horse who is happily standing to be saddled. No bucking or wild running around needed.
Listen Folks–Don’t try this at home!
That’s the disclaimer that needs to come with this DVD.
Not only are methods such as this unkind to the horse, they are potentially very unsafe for humans! Joe Wolter, Bryan Neubert and Jim Neubert all have a lot of experience around horses. They have a good sense of timing and are able to predict what the horse is going to do next. They’re able to quickly get out of the way of a swift kick or bucking horse, if need be. And, actually, I’m sure many of these colts turned into fine riding horses.
However, for the average horse owner, this DVD and the horse training methods shown spell trouble. Anyone who tries to repeat the ground work or exercises shown in the DVD could easily get hurt if they were not very experienced with starting young horses. And, I would hope that anyone who was very experienced with starting young horses would be smart enough to use different training methods.
If you’re interested in starting horses or are exploring different horse training methods, I wouldn’t bother wasting your time or money on this DVD set.