How to make a horse a friend. One cowboy’s partnership with horses | The Nature of Things
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How to make a horse a friend. One cowboy’s partnership with horses | The Nature of Things

August 15, 2019


On the eastern slopes
of the Rockies Jimmy Anderson is
a bit of a legend. Jimmy’s part of a new
generation of cowboys, who’ve left the old idea of
“breaking a horse” behind. He doesn’t “break” horses. He “starts” them. Jimmy>>In the past, when we’ve
talked about colt starting and colt breaking,
that’s what it was. They wanted to get a job done. Kind of just force
everything onto this horse. They expected the horse
to jump, they expected the horse to rear, they
expected them to buck, because there was
no relationship. Talk about breaking the
spirit… and now it’s almost the opposite of what
we’re wanting now. We want that spirit,
we want that heart, we want that desire. Niobe>>I’m here
to see Jimmy start a two year old
colt called Shiver. Until now, Shiver’s only
seen humans from a distance. He’s never been ridden. Jimmy>>Now what I’m going to
do is start working myself a little bit closer to him. Niobe>>I’ve come for the
week, but Jimmy figures he’ll get a saddle
on sooner than that. [horse neigh] That seems a little
optimistic to me… [horse neigh] Niobe>>Jimmy and Shiver
aren’t on speaking terms yet. Baby steps. Jimmy>>There… there we go. So, you’ll hear me
talk about two eyes. Niobe..Uh huh.Jimmy>>When that horse can
start to give me them two eyes, he also gives me his focus. Jimmy>>Nice. He really needs to
get used to this. Niobe>>If he can’t take that
touch, he won’t take a saddle. Jimmy>>No. We’re getting him
used to an external pressure. Tap this hind end and have
him yield that hind end. Nice. Tap this hind end. There… nice. I’m going to come up
here and see if I can’t get some petting in there. Niobe>>Jimmy knows
horses are prey animals. Dogs are always
looking for supper, but horses are looking
for safety. And that need
is Jimmy’s magic key. Jimmy>>When I look at
horses that are spooky… if he’s away from the herd,
he doesn’t have a leader. When you get that trust
and that confidence and that relationship
with a horse, I mean, really sky is the
limit of what you can do. When I start a colt,
it’s never a competition. It’s more of a partnership
and a relationship that we can start to
get working together. I’m going to come up
here now with the rope I’m going to move
them hindquarters. Move those hindquarters. Move those hindquarters. Nice. [sound of tarp hitting] Niobe>>How do you know how far
to take it and when to stop? Jimmy>>You know, we’re looking
at the expression in his face. Looking at that tightness
through his neck. He’s telling me “Jim,
you can do more” or “Jim, I’m getting too
worried, I can’t take this”. So that’s where I am just
reading him and letting him tell me how much. And so when I can go
through this with him not getting worried
and just no big deal, that’s when it’s going to tell
me, he’s ready to saddle. Now he’s getting
good with the tarp. Jimmy>>Nice. Good boy. Niobe>>So what are
you doing now Jim? Jimmy>>I’m just
bringing Maverick in. Maverick is going to give him
a little bit of confidence as I put this saddle on. Niobe>>And that’s
the first time? Jimmy>>That’s the first
time right there, yeah. [bucking sound] [horse neigh] Jimmy>>And that’s
totally OK with me. He kind of got worried.
He had to deal with it that way a little bit,
that’s totally OK. Good…
there he moved his feet. Kind of tightened
up, but come back. And so the next thing
that I’m working here… see every time he stops, I want
him to start to look for me. [trotting sound] Jimmy>>
There we go … Nice! That’s what I want to see. That focus, that looking
to me for that answer. Niobe>>He’s come a
long way since morning. Jimmy>>He’s come
a long ways, yeah. [sound of rope
hitting saddle] I need to get him used to me
jumping up and down here, because if I want to get on him. Really, really
good changes here. [Jimmy signals Maverick] Niobe>>Just amazing. Completely calm. Jimmy>>[clicking sound
to Maverick] Jimmy>>My partner is helping me. [Niobe laughs] [Jimmy makes kissing noises] Jimmy>>Good! [Jimmy makes kissing noises] Nice! Niobe>>That was just superb! That was incredible to watch. Jimmy>>Good boy! You know, couldn’t have asked
for a better first day… good boy! And here he is
for… first time. Niobe>>Yeah he’s your best
friend now, isn’t he? Jimmy>>Yeah. When I
take the halter off, what I want to see,
is him not leaving me. [Jimmy whistles] His focus isn’t there. Nice! Perfect. See and I want to be hooked up
to these… not through a rope or through manhandling or
forcing, through their mind. Niobe>>In a single
morning, Jimmy and Shiver have found a common language. It’s truly incredible
what we can do together when a horse agrees
to trust in us. After all, we sit
on a horse’s back exactly where a wolf
would’ve leapt up to attack. It shows us, horses
judge humans. And some of us pass the test. Jimmy>>Horses are really amazing how much they will be
a partner and they try a crazy amount and
I want to try that same amount back for them. When they give me
that much trust, I can never let anything bad
happen to them. When I lay Maverick
down in the arena, he has given me
his trust. Maverick knows, I won’t let
something happen to him. ♪♪♪

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  1. A common language. Humans can communicate with all animals in amazing ways. It's us that need education.

  2. This was amazing. He surely is the real horse whisperer. This is the first time I have seen " breaking in " a horse done so gently and successfully . God bless him

  3. Watch the full doc 'Equus' now (Canada only): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0AVN__NJyI&t=5s Part 1 or a 3 part series.

  4. It makes me sad that our President hates horses and dogs because my horse Thunder and fox terrier tic are the loves of my life. When my wife and son were killed they knew and became extra calm and licked and kissed me. So I had to put them down. Hell if my President doesn't care why should I.

  5. I held the halter today of a R.C.M.P horse and had photos taken. I am over the age of 50 and was very concerned for my safety , as I have no experience
    of horses ever. I petted several R.C.M.P horses on my own today as well and now my fear has subsided. This video now to me is absolutely amazing and thank you so much for sharing . Best regards always.

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