"I had subscribed to "I do this.. and they (horses) do that" methodology, which most of the popular horse trainers do. There is success to a point with all of it, depending on what the horse owner's goals are. Something that's better than nothing. Then Martin came along; a much deeper thinker, and he made me think deeper.. one time, with a dry erase marker in my hand while a handful of horsemen circled around for "a lesson in why."
"After sacking my young horse out with a saddle pad.. on both sides.. four or five times, as she stood patiently, probably thinking, "Dear GOD..l just get the saddle, already!, I was called over to a dry erase board in the corner of the arena. Everybody gathered around. Martin handed me the pen and said, ".. make an 'A.' I made an A. I looked at him and, without even a hint of a smirk or smile, he repeated, "Okay... now... make an "A."
"I hesitated for a moment this time.. made another A. He continued to tell me.. I continued to make A's on the board. Martin got a little more demanding with me.. a little louder. "Make an A." I sighed. Looked at the board filled with A's. Big ones, little ones. cursive, printed. center.. corner. down and up.
"Then he asked again and I just stood there, thinking, "why should I make another A? the other 12 didn't make him happy." Breaking the silence he said, " why did you make some different than others? I said, " I had to assume that since you asked me again (and again), that I didn't do it right, and I was trying to do things different.. trying to figure out what I needed to do different for you to quit asking."
"He said... "Don't do that to your horse."
"We know that horses learn by repetition.. but if they "get it the first time" don't force repetition on them, or they will be searching for what they did wrong.
"His lessons carry much farther beyond the round pen, and deeper than just with horses. And... sometimes, I glance at my husband and say, "Make an 'A'."
Tammy Moore, TX
"Martin, I wanted to say thank you for the incredible opportunity to learn what you have to share about your knowledge and experiences with horses. The time spent learning and observing while around you has changed my life with horses. The insight I gained is something you would have to live to explain. If you're paying attention and willing, a whole new world opens up before you. You offered me the approach from the horses perspective and that is something I would have never figured out on my own. Your horses speak for you and my horses thank you."
"I rode with Marin for two months. It was a very special time for me and I learned so much about offering horses a good deal. He was there when you needed to ask questions but also encouraged you to feel your way through things as it’s feel that has to be there between you and that horse. He would watch me – and I know he’d be thinking there she goes again doing too much and he’d eventually come by and say you’re teaching him to be heavy. I was afraid to really get after one if it needed it (afraid what the colt would do) and I’d eventually get enough courage up to do a bit more – then a bit more and the colt would learn to ignore a bit more and a bit more and man we were making the wrong kind of progress but I just didn’t get it till the day Martin told me about boiling frogs. You see if you turn the heat up slowly – the frog he’ll get comfortable at the higher (stress level) while learning to ignore the heat till he’s plum cooked. And the horse is the same – You want him seeking relief instead of giving to pressure. He wrote an article on the subject if you want more information....
"I warned Martin that I was no bronc rider but he said I’d probably do fine. And sure enough I fell off on a pretty simple mistake. As I lay there embarrassed in the dirt, he said I wasn’t very committed to staying on top. And as the months passed as it would, I missed some things here and there and ended up causing more frantic rides than I planned on. Each one saw me more committed to staying on top. I also realized that every time I have ever fallen off – I go out over the left shoulder. So as we were doing the exaggerated positions Martin has you get into to initiate the turns (so you get out of the horse’s way) I’d think about how it felt from one side to the other. I was not so surprised to find that one side was significantly easier for me to get in. So I’d practice getting my body equal. And even though he wasn’t there to see it – the last week I was there I rode the biggest bucking frenzy I’ve ever been on and stayed firmly in the middle. Talk about being determined to stay on top. But even better – I have more feel for what it takes to stay out of that trouble. I’m proud to say I only fell of that one time and that was in the first week. So if you come ride with Martin – plan on making progress with colts in meaningful ways for both the horse and the human.
"I got to ride a bunch of horses in that two months and my own colts came along nicely as well. Those two months were full of fun and hard work. If you have the time and are ready to ride... You will really improve your horsemanship spending time with Martin. Loved every minute of it!"
"Martin, Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with me, I value it more than most Im sure. I think you are a rare breed these days and I admire you for that. I tried to make a list of the things you impressed upon me and soon ran out of paper so I shortened it down to these. WORK TOWARD YOUR GOAL, NOT ON YOUR GOAL. SHOWING A HORSE HIS JOB. FEEL VS. DRILLS AND REPETITION. ALLOW THE HORSE TO SEEK RELIEF. HAVE AN IDEA WHAT YOU WANT SO YOU KNOW WHEN IT HAPPENS. WORK WHERE THE HORSE IS AT. THE VALUE OF A GOOD EXPERIENCE. THE OXYGEN FACTOR. THE ART OF FLAGGING A COLT. WORK ON THE PROBLEM NOT THE SYMPTOM. QUALITY VS. QUANTITY. THE FLIGHT ZONE AND BALANCE POINT. HOOKING ONTO A COW. STRINGING COWS OUT TO TRAIL. TEACHING A HORSE TO WORK A ROPE--TYING OFF. ROPE ON ROPE OFF. BUILDING A LOOP. THE $5 BREAKAWAY. SHIFTING YOUR WEIGHT FOR DIRECTION. GETTING ON AND OFF TO HELP THE HORSE. SWINGING THE SADDLE ON. NO WASTED MOVES--BE EFFICIENT. FEET TO TAIL-SAFETY. MOVES AND COUNTER MOVES. LOOK WHERE YOU WANT THE FEET TO GO. LOPING CIRCLES- FIND THE CENTER. DEALING WITH HEARD BOUND ISSUES. PIVOTING ON A PARTICULAR FOOT."
MIKE GOYINS HELENA, MT
"What a great month! For as much as I agonized over deciding to sign up for the Horsemanship School and then actually driving two horses down there with me, it was such a great experience. It was wonderful to be able to be around such experienced and intuitive, yet humble people every day. For everyone that said I was not tough enough to get through the month, they obviously do not know Martin at all. He was generous with his lifetime of knowledge; every bit of instruction and feedback was given in such a manner that a person never felt out of place. All the information presented to me was extremely valuable, and the experiences will last a lifetime. The key word here is experiences... you are given so many opportunities to practice over and over in a month on different horses every day, as well as the opportunity to ride the same horse several days in a row and see if you have improved in ability or knowledge. I did my horses a favor by bringing them to the school. If you want to work with young horses or horses that need a little help figuring out it's not so bad to accept people, Martin is the man to see. You may not get a lifetime of experience in a month, but he will set you on the right path to have good experiences down the road. I feel extremely fortunate to have met and worked with both Martin and Jennifer."
"I'm sure by this time you're used to flowery and exuberant praise, and I like to consider myself immune from gushing compliments. However, here is my sincere appraisal of my time at your place. It was certainly one of my most profound learning experiences. Martin displayed a level of expertise that I have only witnessed by a handful of people in any profession. Jen was also a great hand at helping me find answers to my questions. There were no gimmicks or excesses which may be necessary for others to mask the lack of quality. For those who like simplicity, honesty and fair prices, I recommend this experience. Keep up the good work,"
"The experience I lived there was very enriching and most of all fantastic. I discovered a world I thought didn't exist anymore. I didn't know cowboys as in the movies still exist!! It was a completely new world for me and I liked it so much!!
"Martin make me think totally different about horses; he made me open my eyes and noticed some little details that make all the difference and I thank him for that.I thank him for having the patience to teach us his knowledge, that's very generous from him. Also, the way of teaching was very good: I liked to search myself a solution and not having Martin to tell me everything I have to do. It made me think and try to sort it out all by myself.
"Those 2 months were too short and they've passed too quickly. The only thing I got in mind is to come back and spend much more time over there. I loved to do some roping, even if I was very bad at it. And still now I do some roping in my garden and try to catch a chair. If someone is still hesitating on coming or not, I would like to add this (and my aim is not to flatter Martin) Martin is someone very kind, intelligent and who has such a huge knowledge about horses. I could realize what I learnt from him mas finally very logical and appears at the end very easy. What's more, Martin knows immediately what someone can do and what he can't, even so the student himself doen't know it. And he always wants both the student and the horse to have a good experience and does things in that way. So I could trust him 100%. Well, it was a good incredibly good experience and thank's for that."
"Martin & Jen: I just wanted you guys to know that I got all kinds of great feedback from people about your clinic. I am truly not surprised as I myself thought you did an AWESOME job !! I have been through several clinics at Willow Brook with other clinicians for "cow working" and although they were good, they were not "Martin Black". Thanks for a great weekend as it is ALWAYS a pleasure to spend time with the two of you. I hope it proved to be a success for "you all" as well. I wanted to also make a comment to you about my Horsemanship School experience. I was finding it a bit difficult to come up with the words to describe what that experience meant to me so I will do my best to convey what I thought. I had been in search of an apprenticeship type program here on the east coast for several years and was not having much success. Then a good friend of mine, Dick McCoy, turned me in Martin Black's direction. I was immediately excited about signing up and getting started. In the three weeks I spent in Sanger, I would have to say the most prominent discovery I made was realizing how much I did not know. The program FAR exceeded my expectations......I LOVED IT ! There were distinct times where Martin believed in me more than I even believed in myself and that made the experience EXTRAORDINARY. Martin is a brilliant horseman who has the incredible ability to read the horse and coach the rider in a way that allows the horse to work through challenging situations and come out having had a 'good experience'. This was always Martin's first goal and he was amazingly successful in meeting it time after time. He is truly a breath of fresh air to the horse industry and down right EXCELLENT at what he does. He has a way of conveying his thoughts in an understandable and creative way. I might mention that he has a GREAT sense of humor to boot. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every aspect of the program and walked away with a level of knowledge that was totally new and different than any other I had been exposed to in the past. If you are considering the Horsemanship School, do your horses, but more importantly, yourself a big favor and......GO FOR IT !! You will NOT be disappointed ! And to Martin, I want to extend a genuine 'THANK YOU' to you for allowing me to experience some time on Hickory....it meant more to me than you may ever know." Tammy Alexander, Pennsylvania
"I was fortunate enough to be able to spend four months with Martin. The knowledge that I gained was more than I could ever have expected. The large number of colts we were able to ride really allowed us to experience many different scenarios with Martin right there to guide us. Martin did an excellent job explaining how to go about working with a horse, as well as explaining the reason. He really tries to bring the person up to the horse’s level rather than bringing the horse down to the person’s level with continual drills. Martin and Jennifer made the program a truly enjoyable experience. The Martin Black Horsemanship School is the ideal place for anyone wanting to get into the horse training business, or just wishing to feel safer riding their personal horses." Cooper Adams
"I am very fortunate to have learned from the best when starting colts, riding advanced horses, and working cattle in the A pen. The entire four months of the Horsemanship School was a great experience for me. Martin and Jen are great at explaining things in good detail, weather you are starting a colt or working cattle in the A pen. I continue to use the skills I have learned on my own horses as well as other people's horses." Erika Belsby
"Hey Martin and Jennifer, Just wanted to let you guys know that I am really starting to have fun with Colorado. I'm not sure if he is becoming more of a politician, or if I am becoming a more confident rider, but something's working! I really enjoyed the Horsemanship School and appreciate all your help. Also, I've switched all my horses over to Pride feed and am very happy with it. Hope you both are well." Erica McCrary
"Thank you again for the wonderful time I had with you, Martin and the team, for all that knowledge Martin and you kindly passed on to me, for letting me ride Chewy and Chili, for driving me to Road to the Horse, for… well, I could go on and on for pages, so better stop here ;-) This was a one of a kind experience that will certainly take time for me to 'chew on', but what I gained riding those colt under your careful supervision has better my horsemanship in ways I find it hard to describe for now. I know I need to come back next year, and will plan that ahead of time. Until then, I hope to see you both again soon." Xavier Meal Paris France
"Martin is an outstanding horseman and an effective educator. I have started colts under Martin's guidance on several occasions, and it has been an invaluable experience. Martin possesses an innate ability to read horses, time movements, and communicate to the rider in a way that allows both horse and rider to be successful and build confidence." Kyla Prunty
“I went to the Horsemanship School with a goal of elevating my horsemanship to the next level and ended up blowing that goal out of the water! I learned more about the horse industry in 3 weeks than I have my whole life. Martin brings a deep understanding of the horse and how to bring out positive responses combined with his ability to train performance horses which makes him an excellent horseman to learn from. The experience was a total success. Martin and Jennifer created a great learning environment; we started colts, tuned on problem horses, worked cattle and rode high level performance horses. Everything from A to Z in the horse business was covered – business, health and training. The best horse experiences of my life!” Troy Bailey
"I was fortunate enough to be able and take part in Martin's new Horsemanship School. It's not just listening to Martin's philosophies but it is actually putting them to use for yourself everyday. I think to become handy with a horse, it means riding a lot of them. Martin's ranch in Texas was a great opportunity to ride a lot of horses. The cool thing about it is Martin sets things up so that you can figure it out on your own which for me sunk in the best. I got to ride with people that some only hear about in books and watch at the huge competitions. All in all this Horsemanship School is set up for education whether it be the riding aspect, or the business aspect. I owe a lot to Martin and really appreciate his sincerity and compassion in figuring out the horse and life." Austin Rawlins
"My decision to attend Martin's Horsemanship School in Sanger was one of the best I have made concerning my horses and improving my horsemanship. I was able to attend for ten days at the first of March and each day was a learning experience. Martin did an excellent job starting a couple of sets of colts while I as there. He demonstrated a good balance of helping the colts have a good experience and progressing with their training at a nice pace. Although it was mainly colt starting, Martin also helped us in several other areas including starting horses on cattle, ranch roping, and with many fresh ideas to improve our horsemanship skills. We also took a couple of field trips to other ranches that were both entertaining and informative. Martin is an excellent teacher and a superb horseman. Thanks Martin and I hope to have the opportunity to come back next year!!" Cliff Halbert
"Traveling halfway around the world to attend the Horsemanship School was the most beneficial experience i could have had for my horsemanship and the knowledge i gained will continue to serve me for years to come.The Horsemanship School is unique in the way you learn first hand from Martin. I recommend the Horsemanship School for any one serious about bettering them self for the horse." Dean Rogues, Australia.