Ever wonder what top horsepeople would change about the horse industry? The question, "If you could change one aspect of the horse industry, what would it be?" was posed to 11 clinicians and presenters at a clinician roundtable May 1, 2004, at the Virginia Equine Extravaganza in Richmond, Va. Their answers and some biographical information are below.
Curt Pate: "Get people to work with Mother Nature instead of against her." Curt Pate trains horses and starts colts using Buck Brannaman techniques.
Mike Loughman: "Don't push horses too fast, too soon." Mike has been starting and training reining horses for over 15 years.
Paul Maye: "Give horses a chance to grow up before you start with them." Ayrshire Farm's Head Coachman, Paul is International Standard Whip and has won numerous driving competitions in the U.S. and abroad.
Matt McLaughlin: "Recognize that it takes time and money to train a horse." Matt has spent several years as the Principal Rider, Head Rider and Head Trainer for the Royal Lipizzaner Stallion Show.
KC La Pierre: "Develop a model for farriers and vets to work from, so they can be on the same wavelength." KC has been a professional farrier for 20 years. He co-founded the International Institute of Equine Podiatry and developed the High Performance Trim method.
Dan Sumerel: "Handle your horse more naturally. People worry too much about tack and feed and all of that. Get back to the basics. And it's your job to have your horse stand still for the farrier, not the farrier's." Dan founded the Sumerel Training System.
Trudy Shea: "There needs to be a solid, consistent training and certification program for riding instructors. Right now there are a few national programs, but they need to be unified." Trudy is the CEO of Equi-Coach, which helps improve communication between riders and instructors. It also coaches instructors on their teaching skills.
Ginger Ryals: "We should have more expos and chances to observe and learn. We need to use these times together as a chance to pool everyone's thoughts for the good of the industry." Ginger has competed for over 30 years in gymkhana events and is the captain of the Ohio Top Hands Rodeo Drill Team.
Debi Metcalfe: "The industry needs to do more to educate owners about what to do if their horse is stolen, missing, or even if it runs away. Some people still don't know what to do with their horses during natural disasters." Debi is the founder of Stolen Horse International, a theft awareness program that strives to prevent horse theft and return stolen and missing horses to their owners.
Terry Myers: "We need to learn from our mistakes. People also need to get realistic about what their horses can and can't do. Don't get disgruntled with trainers and sell your horse because the trainer can't transform your horse into something it's not. Save your money and stay in the industry." Myers has trained stock and hunter horses for state, national and world competition for over 30 years. He owns and operates the Terry Myers Training Center.
Wayne Williams: "The breeds need to come together to show a unified horse industry, for the good of the horse. We have to try to understand each other's disciplines and not prejudge them." Wayne is an announcer, consultant and producer of expos and their accompanying evening shows across the country.