From the editor of Western Horseman
The round pen can be a useful tool to help build a strong relationship with your horse. But used incorrectly or too much, the round pen can be more destructive than constructive. In his new two-part training series, Complete Round Corral Communication, trainer and clinician Brandon Carpenter of Hashknife Tennessee Walkers, Shepherd, Montana, explains how to capitalize on your round-pen training and develop a trusting bond with your horse using your personal energy and your horse’s natural behavior.
“True horsemanship isn’t about controlling or conquering the horse,” Carpenter says. “(It’s) about listening to, understanding and communicating with the equine species to establish a relationship.”
Carpenter accomplishes this without a lot of hype and gimmicks, just a round pen, longe whip, patience, awareness and instinctive wisdom. In the 2 ½-hour program, he works 10 horses with a variety of problems, from aggression and dominance to laziness, in a non-scripted clinic setting. His goals are simple: to teach the horse to establish steady, relaxed forward motion, stop on cue, acknowledge him and come on cue.
The keys to Carpenter’s methods are reading and understanding each horse’s body language, and using his energy to communicate with the horse physically, mentally and emotionally.“ A horse is a reflection of what’s going on inside of you, so you have to control your emotion,” he says.
The horseman treats each horse as an individual, tailoring his methods to fit the horse’s behavior and working the horse and his handler only as long as necessary to net a positive response. As Carpenter works, he clearly explains what he’s doing and why, what the horse is doing, what that means and how to use that behavior to your advantage.
Carpenter thrives on the challenges each horse presents, and he communicates with each horse’s owner as well as he does with the horse. You’ll want to reference these videos often to pick up on Carpenter’s and the horses’ subtle signals. The horseman’s methods aren’t meant to be used for quick fixes, but rather to yield long-term results.
JD – Editor, Western Horseman
From the editor of The Gaited Horse
For anyone who’s ever wondered, ‘does the world really need another round pen video?’, all I can say is these should have been first. These are the ones to study before you even think about following any 1, 2, 3 instructions. They will help you to understand not only what your horse is doing, but why and give you clear understanding about how to mold and alter his or her behavior.
Brandon Carpenter is something of an enigma. He looks the part of an old-time cowboy, and sure enough, his roots are firmly planted in generations of Montana ranch family tradition. But this is a horseman who combines the old world with concepts a lot of people consider “new age” and by doing so gets to the heart, mind, body and energy of the horse. All this in a 30-foot diameter round corral.
The videos begin with some clever exercises that illustrate the importance of non-verbal communication, followed by different ways in which humans can communicate with horses and vice versa. But what you have to love most about these videos are Brandon’s candor and honesty. Nothing is staged, not every horse reacts the way more scripted videos or texts will tell you they “should”.
Horse after horse – with very different histories, energy levels and attitudes – enters the round corral and after sizing each one up, Brandon proceeds to connect in ways that he clearly explains. Some give him a run for his money, some quickly consent to his leadership, and you can almost see the light bulbs coming on as the horses begin to realize what is expected of them. Best of all, he invites the owners into the corral to participate and to learn right along with their horses. The transformations are obvious, some taking only minutes.
The videos’ repetition with various types of horses helps tremendously for us to understand when to apply pressure and when to back off, when to use our body language and when to let our attitude/energy level do the talking. Subtle, but incredibly important and effective. As far as another round corral video, I can hardly wait to see what he comes up with next!
RJ – Editor, The Gaited Horse
This is an extraordinary work that will take those that watch, listen, learn and apply to find that true foundation of great horsemanship.
Elizabeth Graves, Trainer / Clinician
How refreshing!! A Real round pen video done by a Real horseman who knows what it is to rely on his horse for his life.
David Genadek, About the Horse Inc.