Evan Bonner's Foundation Training Program

"This is where success begins! My program is designed to help horses learn how to be students. There are many ways to train a horse...but to me there's only one right way...from where the horse is at."

HOW DOES IT WORK?

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  • Your horse will be in the program for 30, 60, 90 days or as long as you wish and will receive at least 20 hours of development each month by Evan, worked 5-6 days a week, 1-2 hours a day.
  • You are allowed to come out as often as you are able to work hands on. Appointments can be scheduled and Evan will work with you to create a schedule that fits your needs.
  • Upon completion of the training block, Evan will provides you with a personalized program designed specifically for you and your horse to allow you to make consistent forward progress based on your and your horse's current level of skill.
  • Horse owners receive a 20% discounts on future lessons and clinics with their horse. 
  • If you need to postpone your training to later in the year, this will be allowed if your training spot can be filled. If your training spot cannot be filled there is no transfer or refund awarded.
  • Cancellation policy:
    • Cancellation prior to 60 days: 50% deposit refunded.
    • Cancellation 30-60 days: 25% deposit refunded
    • Cancellation 30 days or fewer: No refund.
  • Call for pricing and payment options 360-551-3736 or email at info@evanbonner.com

What This Program Is—And What It Is Not...

"Evan Bonner's program is designed based on principles rather than on methods. It's core ethos is not about breaking or training horses...but about starting a relationship and developing a partnership. It's not about what I can do with your horse in an hour, a day a week, a month or a year. It's about how I can help empower you to understand your particular horses' nature and how I can help your horse become more at peace with humans, with his environment and within himself so that he does not need to rely on his self preservation for the answer. It's not about developing your horse in specific skill, discipline or sport...but about developing your horse's ability to learn. I don't approach the horse any different regardless if he will be in the program for 30 days or 6 years...we start with a solid foundation of developing response with respect." 

What this program IS:

I don't necessarily do exactly what you WANT, but I help you with what you and your horse NEED. I work on an individualized program with an emphasis on the mental and emotional aspects of your horse's development. We do this on the ground (through patterns online and in the round pen) and eventually in the saddle (through patterns on a loose rein, with a light touch and eventually with contact). I give you the habits of effective leadership and the principles of effective horsemanship and provide you with knowledge, skills and desire to achieve your definition of personal success. 

What this program is NOT:

This program is not a quick fix program where you should expect your horses bad behaviors to be eliminated in 30 days. You should not expect to drop your horse off and come back at the end of the month and expect success afterward. Without the understanding of the principles of the process your horse will inevitably revert back to his old habits. I work your horse from where the horse is at on subject matter that YOU are ready to learn and apply. It's not about what I can do with the horse...it's about what you can do when the horse leaves. 

How We Develop Your Horse

If you were to ask 10 people how to solve a problem with a horse you’d probably get 10 different answers. No one is wrong necessarily—because they were all successful with what they suggested. But one person’s suggestion may not work for someone else. This is because every training technique can be good…and every technique can be bad. It’s not what you do that will make you successful…it’s how you go about it. Even the best training methods implemented at the wrong time, with the wrong horse, or by the wrong person may not work. This is where it is important to take time with the horse, to “feel of” the horse where you are aware of his mental and physical state which will determine how you go about handling the problem or situation. Understanding this will give you the highest chance for success.

"Our experience with Evan working our young gelding is Evan was steady and patient. Just what we were looking for this gelding. Evan is one who seeks after the best answer for that specific horse at that specific time, and is constantly in a curious learning mode himself which translates to being present in the saddle and on the ground to what learning is occurring with your horse in the moment. We would recommend sending a young horse to Evan for starting. Thank you Evan for your work with our gelding!" -Wendy, Maple Leaf Ranch

"I am very particular in who works with my horses, as I have my own thoughts and ideas. Evan has always been respectful of my opinion...He gets more done on the first ride then most do in a month. Time with Evan is money well spent. I am very excited to work with him in the future." Brenda Porter, Port Orchard Washington

"Evan is calm and consistent in his horsemanship. He made sure to address my concerns with my horse and provide resources going forward. I appreciate the level of care my horse received as well." - Julie Goodrich, Vancouver Washington

All horses are different, just like people…and like people they may respond to various situations very differently. It’s important to understand the need to adjust to fit each situation according to the needs of each horse. There might be a million ways to train a horse…but there’s only one right way…from where the horse is at. We need to be mentally flexible and allow the horse to take the time it takes to learn, rather than forcing our idea into his mind.

Preparation is the key to success. Many problems the horse may have are not problems…they are symptoms of a problem. Often the problem is that the horse is braced in the mind or braced in the feet or both. The techniques we work on with the horse allow him to give us his feet which in turn give us his attention. In other words…we train him to say “yes”.  This can only be done by asking the horse to do things that we already know he can do…and building a solid foundation on bonding, yielding and purpose.

To remove a problem you need to replace it with a positive pattern or behavior. We don’t focus on the problem itself, but on teaching the horse to respond to a specific pressure or cue. Rather than asking “how do we solve this problem” we need to ask “which pressure or cue is the horse not responding to?” You may find many problems simply go away when you approach it in this manner because you’ve replaced it with consistent responses and positive patterns of behavior.

Instead of “break and train” we need to think about “starting a relationship” and “developing a partnership”. We start with a program that acts like a guideline—a principle or idea to work on. We start with the easiest possible thing that the horse is able to do for us and progress from there. In order to achieve the desired outcome, we constantly adjust based on the horse’s responses, reactions or resistances moment to moment and day to day. 

Understanding The Nature Of The Horse

Horses do not want trouble. They never act badly on purpose. They only do things for one of two reasons: Because that’s what they think they are supposed to do…and because that’s what they think they need to do to survive. When we understand this we can agree that the horse isn’t wrong, or stubborn, or bad etc. The horse might be scared of something that we know isn’t something to fear, but 50 million years of evolution tell him to be skeptical of danger, people, places, changes and things. We need to present ourselves to him in a way that develops his trust and confidence in us, our environment and within themselves.  We are predators and we don’t think like a prey animal—a creature that is programmed to think he might be somethings dinner! But horses are not scared of predators…they are scared of predatory behavior. When we act like a leader that can direct their thoughts and their feet without causing them pain…he will do almost anything for us that we can imagine.

You can learn how you might need to go about working with a horse by observing horses in a pasture. You can see how they interact with each other—both in play and how they settle disputes and establish a pecking order. You need to think about how you will fit yourself into the horse’s world so that later on he can fit into yours.

Horses are meant to travel long distances each day (up to 30 miles in search of food and water). For this reason we believe in as much turnout as possible to the horse can exercise this need for their mental and physical wellbeing. This way they are healthier, happier and easier to work with. Sometimes this is not possible at your home. If this is the case, you need to make up for it with more groundwork, more riding, and more mentally stimulating challenges for your horse to thrive.

Understanding The Human

I believe it’s counter-productive to blame the human for what’s wrong with the horse—but we can at least agree that problems are excellent opportunities for us to advance our leadership skills and understanding of the horse’s nature. With this perspective you and your horse will get the biggest value possible in a training program. You learn how to teach and your horse “learns how to learn” in an environment where you can both enjoy the process.

Look at the horse not for what he is…but for what he can be. Focus on the positive and soon the good things will become more and the bad things will become less. Believe in your horse so he can believe in you.

If you can make a change in the way that you approach horse training you will see a profound result! But you will have to work at it. You will go through a lot of troubleshooting and trial and error. You’ll have successes and failures, but the more you practice the more success you’ll have. You’ll develop good skills and become particular about the way you do things with your horses. Eventually it will become habits that are second nature.

What To Do Once You Bring Your Horse Home...

Response with respect without fear is what we’re after. We need to get our horses to respond to pressure without getting upset or scared. Some horses are dull—they have no responsiveness. Other very sensitive but get easily upset or anxious when asked to do things. You don’t try to get a horse upset, but you need to allow the horse to work at the wrong thing until he learns where to find the relief. In the beginning he may be responding by giving to pressure. Later on he’ll respond-with-respect by “seeking relief”. This is where the horse is no longer thinking about the pressure, but about where the relief is at. Finally the horse will “turn-loose”. This is when you and the horse are thinking about the same thing at the same time. 

Often people are overly concerned with non-physical things like the horse’s attention, expression or attitude. But you cannot physically touch these things. In order to affect a change in the non-physical, you have to go through the physical world. You have to make a change in the horse’s body—in their feet—to affect a change in their mind…to improve their expression, or their attitude or to get their attention. In the beginning you’ll need to go through the body to get to the mind. Later on you’ll go through the mind to get to the body. This is when you and the horse become a single mind and a single body.

You have to have a picture in your mind of what you’re looking for. We have to separate everything out that we want from our horse in our mind before they can separate it out. You don’t “correct” a horse—you “direct” him. The horse will make the correction himself. You don’t force your will upon him. You don’t take a horse hostage. When the horse runs off with you or bucks you off it is because you took him against his will. At that point he is taking you against your will. Instead you offer your horse direction. If you take the horse against their will…you’ll end up having to redo the exercise over and over again. If you allow the horse the time it takes to learn it, you’ll never have to redo it—ever!

If you have trouble with your horse…break the exercise down into smaller steps. A ladder with more rungs is easier to climb. If the lesson is broken up enough your horse can easily find the answer. Don’t try to get rid of every problem at once. Pick one exercise that you know you can do—perfect it and build slowly overtime. Don’t ask for too much. If your horse does something perfect two times in a row…there’s no need to ask him a third time. That’s only inviting your horse to make mistakes. Leave it alone and come back to it later.

Remember it’s all the little differences that make the difference. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Don’t let fear, frustration and feeling like a failure get in your way of accomplishing your goal. Give yourself realistic and step by step expectations and meet them one at a time. I guarantee you that as you improve—so will your horse. Horsemanship is a journey that we are all on. 

Current 2016/2017 Training Spots Available:

April: 0

May: 0

June: 0

July: 0

August: 1

September: 2

October: 2