My friend (and horse-sharer at home) Charley and I have been coming to Circle Z for 13 years now, and always enjoy the varied trail rides with such spectacular scenery.
But this year our annual trip turned out to be even more special than usual as we participated in the Horsemanship Clinic given by Australian clinician Carlos Tabernaberri.
The title of Carlos’s book — “Through the Eyes of the Horse” — (and yes, I am now the proud owner of an autographed copy) tells it all. His training methods are all based on understanding how a horse in a herd thinks and communicates, and then using that understanding to become the human leader that your horse wants you to be.
Carlos’s motto is CCKL = TOR: a human who provides Confident, Consistent, Kind Leadership will obtain Trust, Obedience and Respect from their horse. In Carlos’s world, you never kick your horse in the ribs to get him to go nor pull on the reins to get him to stop. Cues are much more subtle, and much more acceptable to the horse as they never involve pain. The watchwords are softness, lightness, and class (as in classy).
And the most fascinating thing about it? It works!
The 10 Circle Z guests who rode in the clinic each took a Circle Z horse – all of them kind, responsible trail horses used to fearlessly navigating the narrow trails and rocky hillsides of the south Arizona desert. But none of them had any experience working in an arena, learning to move each leg independently in response to a rider’s cues, or working with other horses in a group rather than in a line on a trail.
Yet after five days with Carlos instructing the riders and the riders instructing the horses, all were able to perform such maneuvers as turns on the forehand, turns on the haunches and rollbacks, and all were learning to carry themselves in a classical dressage frame.
I can hardly wait to begin trying out some of the same techniques on my horse here at home!

Written by Barb McLintock