Earlier this year in March I attended my first Nokota Colt start clinic. I didn’t know if I had the skill to do it but my horse trainer talked me into it.
So I flew down to Texas in March and attended the clinic lead by Jack Lieser.
The Nokota horses for those who don’t know are a wild horse breed. They have been around for a long time, for specific details check out http://www.nokotahorse.org/cms/ short story is they were in the area when Roosevelt national park was declared and no wild equines were allowed so they started killing them off. Brothers; Frank and Leo Kuntz saved a bunch of these wild horses luckily or there would be none left of this beautiful breed. They decided to keep them wild as possible. The horses today have thousands of acres in North Dakota and very minimal human interaction. They keep wild bands of horses and the ones that are selected for training are the ones we get to work with at the colt starts.
So what you have is a wild horse, Jack’s instruction and your own discovery of your skills and that’s it…..
I have studied many forms of horsemanship and Jack is my all time favorite. He’s got the “it” we are all striving for. The Nokota’s are an extremly smart breed and usually I don’t beleive in all that breed crap like Warmbloods make the best dressage horses and Quarterhorses the best ranch horses….I think any horse can do anything with the right instruction and communication but without doubt I DO beleive the Nokota’s are the most superior horse in intellect I have ever met. It really is hard to describe, more like one of those things you need to experiance because it is downright spiritual no matter what you beleive, it’s something so special, so pure and so strong that it is amazing in the true sense of the word.
Going into the clinic I didn’t know if I could do it, I had so much doubt but by the end of the first day I knew I could. Day 1 is about connection, how small or big can you make your connection? Can you tell an entire group you mean them no harm and if so can you ask to just be one of them, can you establish a connection and ask to drive, can you move that to touch, can you move that touch to a calming sense the horses invite? In all but the most skeptical of horses the answer is usually yes.
As the clinic progresses of course so does the skill and acceptance, I don’t really have to go into that but by the second day, these wild colts are actually coming up to the fences to meet people and ask them to scratch thier bodies or feed them some hay or just hang out. It’s fascinating!
By the end of the clinic almost all of these wild horses are rideable and not only are they rideable but they look forward to human interaction. It is truely remarkable. I did my second one in North Dakota in June and can’t wait for my next clinic in Texas again this year.