When I think about trainers and breeders that I really admire - past, present and retired - I find there they have several commonalities. They all share traits that make their horses successful no matter what the breed or discipline and they all have an image in mind of what a good horse is, which is very important.
These talented men and women have a deep understanding of universal horsemanship principles. Some of which are basic but have many long-term ramifications. Other principles are more complex to understand and implement but just as important.
The people I admire have also each produced quality, trained horses for many years regardless of ever-changing fashion and styles. As a fellow trainer, I can understand how they have achieved the level of training with their horses. A quality training job is not a mystery but takes years of learning to accomplish. We must all keep up with and be current in our chosen breeds and disciplines but what disturbs me sometimes are people who mindlessly follow fads.
All of us who have trained have bought equipment that didn't work out and tried things we didn't like. No replacement for "wet saddle blankets". I'm reminded of a cartoon where the guy has a horse trussed up dozens of ropes and pulleys and says "I'm working on his head set". The people I admire understand that there is no magic bullet. (And one piece of advice on this point: don't try something if you don't fully understand the technique and process, and remember that some things just may not be appropriate for you and your horse.)
Horse training has been developed over centuries. If you're looking around for horsetraining ideas, look for methods that are rooted in tried and true techniques, ideas that reflect a sound understanding of horses as individuals and as a herd. When working with horses, we are part of their herd. All the horsemen I admire understand this. See you next week, JD.