I can sound like a broken record, but I’ve got to say it again—every single person who gets on a horse is a horse trainer, whether you’re reinforcing good habits or teaching bad ones. You’ve got to be aware of that every day.
So in this month’s column, especially in this issue that’s so focused on the horse side of the industry, I want to talk about the little things you can do daily to ensure you’re helping increase your horse’s value rather than decrease it.
Learn from Trevor Brazile on Roping.com
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest, and that’s truer in the horse game than maybe anything. If you learn to reinforce cues in the horses you buy, you can sustain a horse so that when it’s time to sell, you can keep your money together.
I had this hidden goal my whole career that I never said out loud: Even if I bought a really nice horse, I wanted to make him better and increase his value by doing the little things that take time. Those little things may not be as fun, you may not be able to run as many live cattle, but you’re bringing the horse along on the journey.
It doesn’t matter how good of training that horse has had, if it doesn’t stay in good habits.
Read: Rope Horse Revolution
Age is not as important as the process. It’s great to have a 16-year-old horse you don’t have to worry about, but that window is small. Because that 16-year-old won’t last forever, and you’ll have to find the next 16-year-old because you haven’t learned how to reinforce the good things or increase the horse’s performance.
People complain that the horse market has been ruined by horses bringing so much. But take advantage of that—put the work in, take advantage of the market and work on bringing a horse along. Don’t have the mindset that you’ll lose your money in the market right now. You have the opportunity to do good business and make money if you take the time to keep a horse right.
You can give a guy a fish and he can eat for a day, or you can teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime. That goes the same way in the horse business. You can give a guy a great horse, but if you don’t give him the insights and the knowledge to reinforce good habits in that horse, the horse will be worth a small percentage of what he was initially. You’ll see a gradual deterioration of the horse’s skill set.