Ability & Talent in a Potential Prospect

If I’m considering buying a performance prospect, a little test I always do to see how athletic, willing and good minded a horse is, is practicing Lunging for Respect Stage Two.

I do this for a couple of reasons. First, I want to see how willing the horse is to give to halter pressure. Secondly, I want to see how well he stops, rolls over his hocks and goes back the other direction. To me, when a horse is athletic and trainable, he’ll stop on his hindquarters, collect himself and do a 180-degree rollback. If I work a horse for the first time and he catches on very quickly, has a great attitude, tries hard, makes only a few mistakes or seems keen to correct his mistakes, I feel comfortable buying him that day.

On the other hand, if the horse struggles to make that 180-degree turn, stumbles all the time or drags me around, that tells me he’s not really naturally talented. If this is the case, I’m not going to purchase that particular horse.

However, just because I may have a horse that doesn’t do terribly well the first time I work him doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not going to buy him. If the horse seems really athletic but just sorry-broke, I’ll try to go back and work with him again the next day. What I’m looking for is considerable improvement in the horse by the next session. If I see a lot of improvement in the second session, and the horse is within my price range, I might go ahead and take a gamble on him because he’s shown me that he is willing to please and learns quickly.

About Clinton Anderson
Born and raised in Australia, Clinton grew up with a love of horses. Although he lived in the city with his father, Rob, mother, Cheryl, and sister, Andrea, he looked forward to the weekends he got to spend on his grandparent’s farm where his grandmother would give him rides on her old Thoroughbred mare. By the age of 12, he began playing polocrosse and was eventually chosen for a national team representing his state.
In 2001, he became the first clinician to create a made-for-TV horse training program that aired on RFD-TV. The use of untrained horses and a variety of topics covering common problems faced by horse owners quickly made Downunder Horsemanship the network’s number one equine program. Nearly 15 years after establishing Downunder Horsemanship, Clinton continues to instruct horsemanship clinics, presents Walkabout Tours across the country, produces two television shows, hosts an internet TV website and is constantly creating comprehensive study kits and training tools to make learning horsemanship as accessible and easy as possible. Clinton and Downunder Horsemanship are recognized as world leaders in the equestrian industry and continue to offer the very best in innovation, inspiration and instruction.