From Wild to Willing by Kitty & Rick Lauman

From Wild to Willing
Kitty & Rick Lauman

Kitty and Rick Lauman are respected throughout the Pacific Northwest for their colt-starting abilities. They own and operate Lauman Training in Prineville, Oregon, where they focus on giving horses solid foundations, whether they’ve never been ridden or just need attitude adjustments. The couple also host clinics and demonstrations from coast to coast, helping people gentle mustangs, teach their horses manners and develop effective horsemanship skills and positive partnerships with their mounts.

If you have a horse in need of gentling, or want to learn more about the couple’s methods, the Lauman Training Program is spotlighted in this new, three-hour DVD set. Kitty is the star of the show, and her talents, patience and teaching abilities shine throughout the program, as she gentles three wild mustangs straight from the range.

Kitty’s groundwork techniques utilize traditional natural-horsemanship methods with a fresh twist and a hint of buckaroo flavor. She uses a square pen, 35-foot, soft cotton rope with a Honda on one end, a stick with a flag and a bamboo pole.

Attuned to each horse’s individuality, Kitty recognizes the differences in each horse’s behavior and body language, and customizes each lesson to fit the horse’s confidence level—sometimes deviating from her step-by-step approace to address a specific issue.

The firm yet kind horsewoman first allows the mustang to roam at liberty around the pen to accustom him to confinement and to let him know that she’s not a threat. Once the horse accepts her presence, she grabs her 10-foot bamboo pole and begins her Bamboo Pole Gentling Method, developed by her grandfather, John Sharp.

The premise behind this technique is to use the pole as an extension of your arm to work untouchable horses and green colts, Kitty explains. She begins in the center of the pen, at the end of the pole and entends the pole in front of the horse until he acknowledges it. The she rubs the pole on his withers, gradually working along the back, down the hind legs, along the neck and down the front legs. As the horse gains confidence, she gradually moves closer to him until she can rub him.

Next Kitty combines pole and rope work to desensitize a horse to having rope ends wrapped around and dangling off his body. This foundation work is beneficial for roping prospects and to teach ahorse not to panic if he becomes tangled in wire or other material. The rope work culminates in making a squeeze halter using the pole and, eventually her hands to tread the rope.

In the final lesson on the DVD set, Kitty uses a flag to gain control of her horse’s hindquarters and to move him forward. The horsewoman is a gifted instructor, clearly explaining the what, why and how of everything she does. Plus, she’s a lively demostrator and effective trainer. By the end of the presentation, viewers can see a huge difference in the way each horse react to the stimuli.

Many training videos/DVDs on the market detail the sacking-out process, but the Laumans’ techniques are a welcome change of pace. However ,they appear to require lots of practice and skill to perform effectively. That’s okay, though, because you’ll want to watch this program over and over. Kitty’s insights into the horse’s mind are entertaining, as well as educational. And, the program’s production quality and editing are by far some of the best in the horse-video market.

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