Orion came to us at the age of 7 months.
The first thing we noticed, after the fact that he looked for all the world like a llama, what with all the curly hair and silly long neck, was a near total lack of fear in the little guy. Not just no fear of the usual things like strangers, the trailer, the new home, etc. but also the lead line, lunge whip, me jumping up and down in a vain attempt at making him move away. In short, the colt was just about fearless.
This posed a interesting problem when it came to beginning his training. For many “Natural” trainers, round pen is often the first step in training a young horse, but is pretty much dependent on driving the horse away until the animal begins to show signs of deference to the trainer, who then allows the young horse to “join up”. In Orion’s case, this was not possible. Not only was it very hard to make him move away and drive him around the pen, but once I did manage to get him to move off, he showed no real sign of having any real desire to come back.
Independent and self-possessed, he was just unlike any animal I had worked with before. I was therefore obliged to develop a completely new training form and so the Hands-On Method was born.
It was working with this horse that gave me the opportunity, nay, the necessity of trying training method I had never had reason to try before. I soon discovered that while my previous training methods worked well for most horses, there are some that it just wasn’t quite right for. I was very pleased to discover that the methods that were successful with Orion worked much better with all horses than what I had been doing.
Orion began competing at three years of age and at six is the best horse I have ever had the pleasure of riding. He was born to be a jousting horse but is equally adept at mounted combat and mounted archery as he is as a trail and lesson horse.
As I continue his training, I will try to keep a running record here on this blog.
If you are a Facebook user, you can find Orion’s page here.