In support of Commonsense Horsemanship and Don and Linda Coulter by Tina Strauss
I am a trainer, instructor and rider at a stable in the Midwest. I have worked at my current job for 12 years. We have a barn with 30 horses and passionate, dedicated clients.
Twice a year, I have the privilege of working with Don and Linda Coulter. They come to conduct clinics at our barn in the late spring and fall. Inevitably, their timing is critical in helping resolve a potential problem with some of our horses.
As with many barns, we have horses who are difficult to load into a trailer. No amount of coaxing will get them to load. In particular, there was a Quarter Horse mare who became very obstinate about the trailer. It could take hours to load her, causing frustration for the owner, the shipper and the horse. We asked Don to work with her for a couple of days during one clinic. His constant, consistent work convinced the mare that she should move her feet according to his movements, posture and body language. It didn’t take long for this mare to understand completely what was being asked of her and to develop a trust in Don. Within the first hour, Don had her moving where he wanted and ultimately had her in and out of the trailer. He also instructed the owner to understand why and how he was working and helped her to do the same exercises that he was using. The solution for this horse continues to work.
Don’s success with this mare created the opportunity for him to work with a large, young Irish horse who was notoriously difficult to load in a trailer. Using exactly the same method of helping the horse to understand his directions, Don got this young horse to learn what was expected by responding to his systematic and consistent technique. Not only did both of these horses do what was expected, they loved working with Don. It is amazing to watch.
Occasionally, we have young, green horses that need to learn to react calmly to unexpected situations. Linda regularly incorporates disengaging the hindquarters as a basic exercise to help the green horses remain calm and to focus on the rider. I have ridden a green horse with Linda in several of her clinics. From time to time, as we move this horse from the ring to a field, the horse can get very excited. The exercise for disengaging the hindquarters allows this horse to keep his attention on me, the rider, not on whatever is causing the horse stress. It has proven to be a productive and positive approach for moving forward with his training and a great tool to have.
It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with the Coulters and to see Commonsense Horsemanship applied in a variety of situations. It always has the same result—a quiet, calm horse who understands what is expected. It is truly remarkable.
Ian Millar "Captain Canada" Ten time Olympian
"There's not a day goes by that we don't use the
techniques that you taught us.
The whole world should be exposed to Don Coulter's
Click the link below to listen to the complete interview
Don Coulter and Ian Millar
I've sent a number of my young horses by Roc USA to the Coulters to get started under saddle. When I get them back they flat beautifully, jump confidently and their mouths are as soft as butter.
Carlo Graziani and Erato M
Three years ago I imported Erato M, a 2 ½ year old, 17 hand Dutch stallion. As a professional rider/trainer I knew I was in for a big challenge with an unbroken young stallion that would have to breed two mares during quarantine. I knew that after this experience at such a young age and already so big and powerful, Erato M would be in a very difficult mindset for me to start his training. Since this horse was so special to me, I decided to look for someone experienced with this type of situation, and Mr. Don Coulter was highly recommended by a good friend of mine. This was the best decision I ever made for myself and my horse’s show jumping career. Don was only able to work with my horse for a month since he was traveling out of state. I can honestly say that I have never seen such amazing results in such a short period of time, especially considering the difficulty of the situation. My horse stepped out of the trailer thinking he owned the barn was ready to breed anything in his way making him a dangerous horse from day one. I could not believe that after only four weeks under Don’s training I got back a horse I could handle around the barn, walk, trot, canter under saddle, jump small fences and ride in an open field with loose horses in it. He also taught him to stand and behave for the farrier and vet. His system and method to communicate with horses and structure information on their brain is truly amazing! It was a real pleasure watching Don work with Erato M, and being involved in the process opened my eyes to a level of horsemanship like I have never seen before.
Erato M is now a six year old Grand Prix horse in the making that has fulfilled all of my expectations. I owe a lot of his discipline, good behavior as a show horse and respect for the rider to all the effort and hard work of Don and Linda at the beginning of his career. Always thankful and I will keep you posted on his progress.
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