When we work with horses at Gascon Horsemanship, our goal is to desensitize our horses so when they are outside of the ring they are less reactive to new things. We like to get our horses used to working around weird objects so they learn where they’re putting their feet WHILE they listen to us. Believe it or not (they won’t at first!), they’re capable of doing both… at the same time. In this post, we discuss all the supplies you’ll need to be successful with the Gascon Horsemanship horse training program. Our members can view a Q&A video we did on supplies here.
When we train, we want to put our horses under a little distress so they learn how to handle their emotions which helps us later on the trail when they encounter new things. So, at Gascon Horsemanship, we put ALL of our training horses into the ring and say “Ooga, Booga!” It’s darn hard to do that when you have a perfectly tailored ring with no distractions – which is why we load ours up with some strange looking items.
You’ll notice I don’t use a lot of fancy-schmancy stuff. You won’t ever see me talking about $100+ training systems. Horses can be tough on things we use, so my philosophy is: the cheaper the better. In fact, many of the things on this list you can find at your local superstore for less than a few bucks. We also stock most of them in our online tack store so you can buy them easily right from us if you’re not the crafty type. Let’s take a look into what we need!
Noisemakers for the ring
These training supplies are intended to make your ring a little funny looking to your horse (and probably you) while you’re working with them.
The multi-purpose tarp
We just use a 6’x8’ blue tarp. The cheaper the better – horses aren’t all that nice to them, so we often have to replace them. We use these in multiple ways during the RESPECT series – as a scary thing your horses have to move over, something loud we tie around them, and a big scary object we can wave around their face.
A “flag” stick
Pro tip: don’t actually use flags. We simply buy a land marker stick – the ones that snowplows use to mark driveways and make sure they don’t take out your grass. We then tear up a feedbag and tape it to the end with electrical tape. I also like to wrap electrical tape all the way up the stick, just to protect it and add some grip. That’s it! Ours has lasted us 10 years and we use it A LOT… so if you’re not crafty, don’t worry, you’ll only have to do this once! We sell pre-made flag sticks in our store if you aren’t feeling crafty.
Take an old feedbag and stuff it full with empty cans – beer, soda, juice… pick your poison, drink them up, and stuff the empties in a bag and tape it shut. Just be forewarned, occasionally a horse will punch a hole in the bag and your drink choice can come flying out for people to see (read: judge), which is why ours is full of Pepsi cans now.
Boat (horse) bumpers
If your horse is sensitive to your legs in the saddle or just starting out, these are a must. Buy two cheap boat bumpers and tie a rope between them. Hang this over your saddle while you’re working your horse so they get used to leg-shaped things bumping around on their sides.
Tools for working with your horse
These are the horse training supplies you’ll use to communicate with your horse.
Horsemanship halter and lead
This is the only piece of equipment I recommend that you invest in. We work ALL of our horses in a halter before we bridle them. I have a few requirements for my halters:
- Multiple knots on the noseband, which add a little pressure
- A top knot in the center of the noseband – the top knot on ours is what establishes breaks when you go to get on
- Spaces on the sides where you can attach reins for varying degrees of pressure and steering
- Lead must be long and heavy enough to be effective and NOT have a clip on it
You can buy the Gascon Horsemanship halters that we use right from our website. All of our halters come with our phone number and a guarantee right on the side. These things are made out of marine rope and will NOT break, but if it does, just give me a call and I’ll replace it for you.
We often long line our horses during our programs. Doing this allows a little bit more control from a safe distance and, if you want to drive your horse, it’s a great way to set them up to do that later in their training. You can use any set of 25’ long lines but I use long lines made out of Biothane, a rubber-like substance that can get drug through the mud and we simply wipe them off at the end of our sessions and they look like new. You can buy my favorite lines right in our online tack store.
Lead rope with clip
If you’re going to teach your horse to lie down (let’s be real… this is everyone’s favorite trick), you’ll need a lead rope with a clip at the end.
Team MG Fanny pack
Now, I can’t promise you’ll look fashionable wearing one of these, but I always sport a team MG fanny pack when I work with horses. I stuff these babies with treats to use as bribery and rewards for the horses I work with.
Once you’ve gathered these items, you’re ready to work through our program. This, your saddle, and a membership is ALL you need to be successful training with Team MG. Well, that and your horse. Let’s hit the trails!
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