No more horsin' around

Trainer gets to bottom of problems between horse, owner

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Kathie Johnson was ready to give up hope on Gabby, a white horse she's owned for two years but never ridden.

"I was going to sell her," she said, "but I think I'm going to keep her now."

The difference was the two-day horse clinic led by Steve Mantle this weekend at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

"(Gabby is) the first horse I've ever owned," Johnson said. "This class has been awesome. I really didn't think I could handle her, but now I know I can. They even said I could show her."

What she needed, Johnson said, was to not be intimidated by an animal so much larger than her. That's what Mantle taught her.

"He has confidence with horses," she said, "which is what you need to be really good."

Patti Mosbey, the clinic's organizer, said Mantle's experience and expertise are what encouraged her to bring him in. The Wheatland, Wyo., resident has been working with horses for 30 years, and it's a tradition that runs in his family.

His philosophy is simple: "As long as it's good for the horse, that's really all that's important," Mantle said.

He encourages horse owners to avoid forcing the animal to perform, but allowing them to find the right answer on their own.

"We're striving for a horse to work with us in a partnership instead of one that works with us because he's afraid of getting beat," he said.

He uses small steps to get the animals used to staying where they should be and, eventually, being a good riding horse.

"If your horse doesn't get what you're doing, break it down into steps," Mosbey said. "Horses learn from repetition."

And Mantle uses basic tools -- a buggy whip with a plastic bag on the end and head rubs as rewards.

"It's just working with the horse instead of against him," Mantle said.

He worked with more than 10 horses Saturday and Sunday, both domestic ones and mustangs.

"Almost every horse has problems," Mosbey said.

Mantle spent as long as two hours with each animal of the clinic's attendees, and talked about a number of issues that can affect the horse-owner relationship.

Mosbey wanted to hold the clinic as a way to promote the upcoming wild horse adoption.

"It's important to help people understand what it takes to adopt a wild horse," she said.

Fifty animals will be available for silent adoption Oct. 1 at Sand Wash corrals, 20 miles northwest of Maybell. Viewing and registration are set for 8 to 10 a.m., and bidding lasts until 11:30 a.m. The minimum bid is $125.

But, Mosbey said, most of all, she wants area horse owners to have access to a trainer like Mantle who can help improve relationships.

"When you have confidence working with your horse," she said, "you're going to spend more time with your horse, and the horse will have a better life, too."

For more information on the adoption, call Mosbey at 824-9505.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

By MICHELLE PERRY

DAILY PRESS WRITER

Kathie Johnson was ready to give up hope on Gabby, a white horse she's owned for two years but never ridden.

"I was going to sell her," she said, "but I think I'm going to keep her now."

The difference was the two-day horse clinic led by Steve Mantle this weekend at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

"(Gabby is) the first horse I've ever owned," Johnson said. "This class has been awesome. I really didn't think I could handle her, but now I know I can. They even said I could show her."

What she needed, Johnson said, was to not be intimidated by an animal so much larger than her. That's what Mantle taught her.

"He has confidence with horses," she said, "which is what you need to be really good."

Patti Mosbey, the clinic's organizer, said Mantle's experience and expertise are what encouraged her to bring him in. The Wheatland, Wyo., resident has been working with horses for 30 years, and it's a tradition that runs in his family.

His philosophy is simple: "As long as it's good for the horse, that's really all that's important," Mantle said.

He encourages horse owners to avoid forcing the animal to perform, but allowing them to find the right answer on their own.

"We're striving for a horse to work with us in a partnership instead of one that works with us because he's afraid of getting beat," he said.

He uses small steps to get the animals used to staying where they should be and, eventually, being a good riding horse.

"If your horse doesn't get what you're doing, break it down into steps," Mosbey said. "Horses learn from repetition."

And Mantle uses basic tools -- a buggy whip with a plastic bag on the end and head rubs as rewards.

"It's just working with the horse instead of against him," Mantle said.

He worked with more than 10 horses Saturday and Sunday, both domestic ones and mustangs.

"Almost every horse has problems," Mosbey said.

Mantle spent as long as two hours with each animal of the clinic's attendees, and talked about a number of issues that can affect the horse-owner relationship.

Mosbey wanted to hold the clinic as a way to promote the upcoming wild horse adoption.

"It's important to help people understand what it takes to adopt a wild horse," she said.

Fifty animals will be available for silent adoption Oct. 1 at Sand Wash corrals, 20 miles northwest of Maybell. Viewing and registration are set for 8 to 10 a.m., and bidding lasts until 11:30 a.m. The minimum bid is $125.

But, Mosbey said, most of all, she wants area horse owners to have access to a trainer like Mantle who can help improve relationships.

"When you have confidence working with your horse," she said, "you're going to spend more time with your horse, and the horse will have a better life, too."

For more information on the adoption, call Mosbey at 824-9505.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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