|By SUSAN BLOWER
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — There are plenty of experts who train horses, but Terry Tryon teaches people how to train their own horses.
“It’s a big field right now, where people are trying to learn for themselves,” Tryon said. “They can learn to deal with each horse they own instead of one old farm horse that someone else has trained.”
This is a departure from the way horses were handled in the past, said Tryon, an instructor in “practical horsemanship” from the Leanin’ T Ranch in Raymondville, Mo.
“Years ago a horse trainer would take the horse home and didn’t tell (the horse’s owners) much on how he prepared the horse. They’d be back to square one,” Tryon said. “In this day of Internet knowledge, there’s a lot of information available and a lot of people looking for information.”
Tryon’s horse sense will be presented twice daily at the Farm World Expo, Aug. 2-4, in Terre Haute, Ind. Tryon, 60, has traveled the country for 15 years giving lessons based on his lifelong pursuit of horsemanship. Now in retirement, he and wife, Dollene, are focused on teaching people how to train horses with patience and respect.
A Terre Haute native, Tryon said his sessions will be particularly helpful to 4-H families.
“We are oriented more toward the backyard horseman, such as those who want to train their horse without the luxury of a big training facility, using things they have at home,” he said.
In one demonstration, Tryon will show how to use simple plywood to train a horse to walk up onto a trailer.
“At the Expo, we will focus on preparing a horse and getting ready to go to a show, such as the state fair.
“We will concentrate on grooming and trailer loading. Generally, we are focused on getting people to train their horses in a kinder, more stress-free atmosphere,” Tryon said.
Tryon said the biggest misconception out there is that horses innately know more than they really do.
“They are not born knowing what we want them to do,” Tryon said. “They are willing to learn, but if we force that to happen, horses will rebel and go back to their survival instincts.”
Tryon said he learned most of what he knows the hard way. Growing up on his grandfather’s farm, he received bad advice. He believes that people are often afraid of the animal and therefore treat their horse like an enemy that needs to be overpowered.
Tryon, who also ropes calves and works with cattle, sounds like a cowboy, plain spoken and honest.
“My wife and I get told that we educate, get the point across, in a fashion that the average person can understand and they don’t feel belittled,” Tryon said.
“I believe in keeping my promises. If I say I’m going to do something, I will. One time we had only three people come to a show. Each one got a personal coach and learned what we promised to teach them.”
At the Expo, Dollene also will man a booth, selling horse equipment.
The following sessions are scheduled at the Expo:
•Tuesday, Aug. 1
“Trailer Loading the Problem Horse” at 11 a.m.
“Safe Handling, Haltering, Leading and Grooming” at 3 p.m.
•Wednesday, Aug. 2
“Proper Bridling, Saddling, Mounting and Dismounting” at 11 a.m.
“Getting Your Horse to Back, Stop and Turn” at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
•Thursday, Aug. 3
“My Horse: My Friend or My Foe” at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Tryon said that horsemen need to understand how a horse’s feet work, which is the subject of Thursday’s second and third sessions.
“This is valuable information. It gets people understanding how a horse’s feet work in different gaits. Getting them to do what you want often is a matter of just asking at the proper time,” Tryon said.
The last two courses on Friday present the framework of how to build a relationship that inspires a cooperative attitude in the horse, Tryon said. This is the psychology that provides the basis for all the other lessons.
Tryon will have on hand at least two horses. In addition, Randy Dyer, of Clay City, Ind., will bring his authentic chuck wagon and give free horse rides to anyone who wants them.