By Frank J. Buchman
“Problem horses must go back to school for learning to become responsive, useable and enjoyable horses for their owners.”
Michael Gascon representing Gascon Horsemanship at Poplarville, Mississippi, is a teacher with experience.
Handling more than 500 horses annually, Gascon will share his “teacher’s toolbox” during the EquiFest of Kansas in Salina.
At the Saline County Livestock & Expo Center, March 18-19-20, Gascon will “fix problem horses” in daily presentations.
“These will be horses that have caused issues for their owners,” said Justine Staten. “There will be no sifting or selection of horses for Michael Gascon to work with.”
As director of the Kansas Horse Council (KHC) at Manhattan, Staten pointed out that EquiFest is the KHC’s main fundraiser.
“EquiFest has three full days of activities scheduled for anybody with even the vaguest horse interest,” Staten assured. “This is our 25th anniversary EquiFest so we’ve gone all out in selection of our clinicians. We are excited to have Michael Gascon ‘the horse guru’ coming to give his ‘fixing horse problems’ presentations.”
Whatever the issue a horse has, Gascon first sends them “back to school.”
Problems with horses arise from a wide variety of causes. “We generally don’t know what they are, so we must start at the beginning,” Gascon said. “Most problem horses actually fail kindergarten. They must pass that grade before moving to higher levels and becoming graduates.”
Education with a horse never ends and neither does learning for their owners. “I can ‘fix’ a horse’s problems, but the owner must be able to work with the horse too,” Gascon continued.
Handlers need to understand their own horses because everyone is completely different. “What works for one horse doesn’t necessarily work for another,” Gascon said. “There are many different methods in my ‘toolbox’ that can be used to figure out various horse issues.”
While a horse’s problems might be mental, physical, environmental, or whatever, nearly all of them are fixable. “Through all of my working with thousands of horses, I haven’t had a handful that couldn’t be improved,” Gascon said. “Now that doesn’t mean they become ‘kid horses,’ but they were more friendly enjoyable useable horses.”
There are many breeds of horses, and Gascon has worked successfully with them. “I’ve handled a lot of different horses, from ponies to Percherons, from pleasure to performance horses,” he said. “The training methods I teach work with each one because while every horse is different, they all speak the same language.
“Handlers must treat their horses like they want to be treated. Horses will respond in the same manner,” Gascon added.
The clinician’s knowledge is backed by five generations of family working with horses including world championships in various disciplines.
“My mom was the second-youngest woman to win the Paso Fino Congress in the 1980s. My dad was a world-renowned Paso Fino trainer with multiple world championships,” Gascon said. “My sister and I followed in their footsteps with multiple national and world Paso Fino championships as well.”
However, Gascon thought the “grass was greener” in other professions. “I became an underwater welder, but returned to my roots,” he said.
Watching the Road To Horses colt starting demonstrations several years ago turned Gascon back to horses. “I was enthralled by the way those horsemen handled the untrained horses,” he said. “While I loved showing horses, I knew I wanted to share our knowledge, history, and education with the world. I have seen it work for every age, breed, and discipline of horses.”
All of the family remains a part of Gascon Horsemanship staff featuring elaborate facilities on 230-acres with large timberland nearby.
“My wife Kelsey is essential part of the business in management and working with horses and horse people,” Gascon credited. “While Kelsey didn’t grow up with horses, she always loved them and is a self-taught very capable horse woman.”
She later studied to become a trick rider and will be part of the Trixie Chicks Trick Riders also performing at EquiFest.”
Divisions of Gascon Horsemanship include training, lessons, clinics, retreats, retail horse equipment, sale horses, horse therapy and rehabilitation.
“The Gascon Horsemanship Academy is a program for those who want to be better horse trainers,” Gascon said. “Trainers learn the secrets of crystal clear communication with any horse. They can parlay that into a career they’ll love every day for the rest of their lives.”
Simplicity and communication are the method to get everything wanted out of our horses, the clinician said.
“Our goal is to help riders have confidence and knowledge to fully enjoy their horse passion,” Gascon said. “Horses who have strong and respectful bonds with confident owners live amazing lives and so do their owners.
“We help horses and people build strong bonds,” Gascon said. “I hope you’ll come to EquiFest of Kansas to learn knowledge we’ve gained in five generations of working with horses. You can communicate easier with your horse and have fun doing it.”
Information is available on Gascon Horsemanship, EquiFest of Kansas and Kansas Horse Council websites as well as Facebook.
Backed by five generations of family working with horses, Michael Gascon, Poplarville, Mississippi, will present programs about “fixing horse problems” during the EquiFest of Kansas at Salina, March 18-19-20.