By Frank J. Buchman
“Confident, congenial, complimentary, continuous, repetitious, slow, firm, directive and a young horse is broke to ride.”
Just 25 minutes and the coming two-year-old shapely line backed dun Quarter Horse from Diamond L Ranch was riding nicely.
Again, Scott Daily held his audience in awe as he “put the first ride” on that barely halter broke gelding.
Providing memory is correct, this was the 17th year the Arkansas City horse trainer’s been at the Topeka Farm Show.
Wearing a tie-rope halter with a 20-foot rope shank, the colt with little persuasion was calmly led into the pen. Eleven 12-foot portable panels had been set up in a round format for bleacher viewing in Domer Arena.
Exactly 12:30 when Daily, equipped with portable microphone, humbly introduced himself and his project for the colt starting demonstration.
“Forward motion is the most important aspect when beginning to work with a colt like this,” Daily insisted. “These young horses sometimes want to lock up from fright of the audience and doing something new for them.”
A lunge whip with a small triangular flag on the end was used to move the colt around. The trainer directed first a walk, then trot and finally a canter requiring considerable pressure from his prod in hand.
The gelding went around clockwise a dozen times and then equally counterclockwise. “Always work from both sides of the horse whatever you’re doing,” Daily insisted. “See how he’s becoming more relaxed understanding what’s expected from him.”
As the prospect was freely moving around the pen at a somewhat collected canter, the trainer congratulated him, “Good job.”
Pulling the gelding in beside him, Daily turned the horse first around to the right and then to the left. The long rope was placed over the colt’s back and around his hips causing initial agitation.
“It won’t hurt you,” the trainer pacified his trainee. While the rope was tightened around the horse’s backside, his tenseness soon subsided taking the pressure calmly.
Rope was then brought up to the colt’s wither and snugged around his heart girth again causing irritation. “A horse must get used to the tightness so he can be saddled to ride,” Daily explained.
Standing on the colt’s left side the trainer extended himself up on the horse’s back. “He has to get used to my weight before I can get on completely,” Daily said. The maneuver was then repeated on the gelding’s right side.
“It’s time to get him saddled,” Daily warned the audience. First a pad on the fence rail was brought down for the colt’s examination.
“You need to let him smell the blanket before putting it on so he won’t be scared,” Daily said.
With saddle pad on his projects back, the horseman shuffled it around side to side back and forth without alarm.
Stock saddle with lariat attached was taken from the fence by Daily first putting it on his own knee. “Now the colt needs to see and smell the saddle too before I slowly slide it on his back,” Daly said.
Saddle positioned, the trainer moved it around so the colt could become more familiar with the feeling. Cinch and rear girth of the saddle were lowered on the right side of the horse.
“I’ll slowly snug the cinch around his heart girth so he knows I’m not hurting him,” Daily said.
Gradually further tightening front and rear girths, the trainer said, “The saddle must not turn when the horse moves.”
First the saddled gelding was moved by the trainer around in a tight circle without sign of fright. However, as the young dun could feel the saddle pressure he became excited and jumped a couple times.
“It’s all right,” Daily talked to the gelding. “That saddle is not going to hurt you.”
Before long the saddled colt was encouraged with the lunge whip walk, trot, loped around both directions of the pen.
“Well, I guess I better get on if I’m going to ride him,” the trainer said. Bringing the colt to the center of the pen, Daily put his weight in the left saddle stirrup. Easing toward his saddle the trainer did not completely mount, stepped down, and did same on the horse’s right side.
Tying the lead shank into roping rein formation, Daily collected the horse’s head snugly and stepped upon his back. Immediately getting off, the trainer soon remounted staying longer in the saddle before repeating the action on the other side.
“Very good,” Daily stroked the horse as he turned him both directions in a small circle.
Moving forward the colt felt the rider’s weight and took a couple of small humps into the air. “That’s okay. He’ll find it takes less work to just go rather than jump around,” Daily said.
While the gelding remained sheepish, the trainer called a horseman in from the audience to help keep his mount moving. Before long, horse and rider were galloping around the pen with some urging from the helper’s flag and rider’s lariat.
Bullwhip popped from the horse’s back created no fright. “It’s a little warm and dusty here today, but this is a great start for a young horse,” Daily evaluated.
Twenty-five minutes after introduction, the trainer hat off standing on the gelding’s back complimented, “He’ll make an outstanding performance horse. Thank you for coming.”
Horse trainer Scott Daily, Arkansas City, presented a colt starting demonstration at the recent Topeka Farm Show.