Surcingle Training for Mules and Donkeys — Live Demonstration


– [Steve] All right, so now I let her go. Notice where the nose is sticking
out and the head is high. (laughing) Notice the head high, notice
the nose sticking out. There comes the head, little bit right there. There’s some more there. Notice how the ropes on each
side are going right, left, right, left, naturally as the
animal moves its shoulder, It’s naturally making the
right, left, right, left motion. – [Man] What are you doin’? Looking for an escape. (laughing) – [Steve] There’s surely
a way I can get away from this short fat guy. (giggling) Now watch in places, watch
where the mule drops his head. That’s really key, watch
where he gets his nose. There’s places he’s
starting to get comfortable. There’s his heads dropping,
there’s his head dropping. You see that? (kissing calls) I always scare the crap outta these mules. (laughter) So this ain’t gonna be
done, like all right now but I want to get y’all and idea. Notice how, as the mule walks,
the ropes go right, left, right, left. So their rolling on the
nose, just like my hands was. And it’s basically saying to the. You’re finally gonna recognize me, huh? It’s basically saying to the
animal, get your head down. Cause you see those two knots on his nose, is starting to makes sense to him. And the more you do something like this, like you can take your saddle, and tie those twines up. Look at him dropping his head. And do this with him. The only problem is with
just the saddle itself, that they roll on it, then they roll on your
nine hundred dollar saddle, or thousand dollar. There, look see the head,
see the head, see the head. Nose starting to come on
the vertical, you see? The halter’s working,
not me making it work. You see that? So with just the bailing
twine, which weights nothing, is negligible, is there
and is just enough to say, get your head down, get
your nose on the vertical. So my softening techniques
is not lateral flexion. It is not disengaging hind quarters, it’s doing what’s natural to the animal. You ever see an animal go
around in circles trying to get away from somebody? I ain’t seen it! I ain’t seen it. Okay? Natural horsemanship that’s called. Wrong! Dr. Miller wrote a book, and when you get a chance to study some of Dr.
Millers stuff, he’s awesome. But he’s says, “Natural
horsemanship explained”. and he’s got one whole
chapter in there about me. One whole chapter about Dennis Reese and some of the other guys, you know? And he’s saying, “Look this is what natural
horsemanship looks like. “This is what it doesn’t look like.” He is so frustrated over
this lateral flexions, and peanut rollers and stuff like this. But like he says, “Steve
I’m 87, 88 years old now.” And he says,” You just gonna have “to carry on with
everybody else.” You know. But look, look, look. Are you seeing it? How soft of a mule am I gettin’? I’m not up there doing it,
the halter is doing the job. The back end’s going to get up underneath. He’s gonna be pushing
off his hind quarters. He’s gonna round out his back. All from the nose and the halter. Softness, softness, softness. The softness is there. We just have to communicate
how to get it out. And you see all these big honking bits and stuff these guys have gotten? This one’s gonna do it and this
one’s gonna do it, you know. But I like this a couple
times, he’s kinda come into me to kinda say, can you help me through things. You know. (kissing calls) Come on move. (kissing calls) Right ear on me, right brain thinking. You’re an awful nice mule, you are. You make me look real good. (laughter) Okay, y’all got the idea
there, what we’re looking for? If the halter is adjusted correctly, you’re gonna get response. And if that response comes in, it’s gonna be very respectful towards you, and that’s what you want. Okay? That halter is your number
one tool, number one tool. Throw all your other nylon halters and all them other things away. Just adjust one up, using your trailer. People say, Oh, I don’t
want to put it in a trailer cause they might hurt ’em.” Well, I tell you what, you put the halter on, they’ll quit dinking around back there. All right? I’ve seen just as many animals get stuck on the ground in a nylon halter, where I had to cut the
halter and stuff off of them, if they didn’t get themselves hurt. With this rope halter, they respect it. Put them on a hitching
post, let them stand there. They go to pawing and
stuff, they’ll get over it. I like you, you’re a nice animal. You make me look good. Does that make sense to y’all? Does it? You see how simple it is? Okay, so we’re gonna
hang this up someplace, and say, never again. You know, feel the weight of this, then feel the weight of these two strings. I bet you all can feel
the difference in it. And I’ve already showed you
what at throat latch looks like and what is does, you know. So did you see how these
little things like this, will make such a difference in your mules. Cause you see you putting them
tools on ’em is uncomfortable and their thinking, why in
the world should I trust you. Pretty soon they start saying, oh, now I’m gonna be comfortable. You know. It’s a lot nicer, things
are a lot easier, you know. – [Woman] So, by doing all this
foundation with the halter. So when you do put the bridle
on them, all that going to help you have control? – [Steve] Yes. – [Woman] Because that’s now, that I’m putting it all together. She’s strong and so when
she’s riding her, she, you know, she can go. – [Steve] There you are. – [Woman] And it’s, that’s the
part that scares me as a mom. – [Instructor] Absolutely. – [Woman] You know? – [Steve] I agree with you Misty. Sure, Oh you bet. You know, I know, I hear you,
and you’re exactly right. But see here’s the problem. Horse trainers tend to bluff
one through, push one through, make it get done in
thirty days, sixty days, something like this. And one of the things
Dr. Miller says, he says, “Horse trainers, you know,
tend to push one through, bluff one through”, you know. Push ’em, push ’em, push ’em. Mule won’t allow that. They won’t allow
themselves to get buggered. That donkey side comes out
and says, whoa, just a minute. But you see what happens
when I got on to her and dinked around with this mule, he all worried. Same thing with the other
one, he got all worried. But I took my time and I showed him every move
was a picture and he goes, oh, I got it, got it, got
it, got it, got it, got it. Next time I need to go fast, he can trust me! You know. I knew, so yeah, yes ma’am. You see that’s throat latch, okay? That, you, that’d be like turning around a freight train, you know. – [Woman] Yeah. – [Steve] But when I change it and I change her bridle and stuff, the end result makes all
the difference in the world. I’m not up there touching this animal. The halter is doing the job. Even with just bailing twine, you know. And sometimes with some
animals, this is too heavy. I’ll just put one strand on ’em, because they immediately start looking for to getting away from their nose, they’re so soft. Especially colts who
haven’t been messed with, aw man, they go so fast. But the ones who have been messed with, you gotta get through the junk, you know. So no lateral flexions, okay? You can do ’em at home, don’t do ’em here. – [Woman] How often do you do this then? Just until they walk around once? You do it. – [Steve] Okay, threes. – [Woman] You do it three times? – [Steve] Three times, okay. When I start seeing my
mule frame himself up, like right there, I quit him. Okay. You watched how
much he moved around. Okay, now, here’s my gate. I have him go around and he comes around and I see about half of the circle. He’s doing good comes around to the gate. I watch him again, he comes around. He’s all framed up three
quarters of the way. Now I come around the gate, now he comes around the
whole round pen framed up, nose vertical. Framed up, you know, you hear, framed up. Hip with her head, framed up. Comes around here one time,
comes around again two times, comes around again three times, framed up. Go back the other way, clockwise, counterclockwise, three times. You’ll see a difference
with that brain compared to the other brain, okay. Now the next time you bring it in, this mule is looking to get out of here. So as soon as he starts dropping
his head and getting soft, six times by here, I’m done. Nine, 12, you got the idea. All right. But again, what did I do
in the very beginning? I just put him in here
and let him walk around, let him think about it, let him start feeling that pressure. And then pretty soon, he’d come over here and just kinda stopped. I could see he was dropping his head. Okay now it’s time to move him. Course I would have normally
moved him three times, but I wanted you all to see. I didn’t take very long. Makes sense? – [Woman] Suppose he didn’t,
suppose he fought it, he, you know, just wasn’t, would you. – [Steve] He stays in here until he does. – [Woman] Okay. Would
you make any adjustments to the way you set up the halter and the surcingle ,and the side rein? – [Steve] Pretty much
the way I got it now. Notice, there’s no pressure,
how loose they are. Okay. See how loose they are? Don’t make them tight. – [Woman] You wouldn’t
make ’em any tighter. – [Steve] No, you make ’em tighter, you’re gonna make ’em brace. See this way here, the halter works, halters doing the job. – [Man] (mumbles) – [Steve] Yeah. Little
booger snuck up behind me and nudged me. Did you see that? He kinda found out that
didn’t feel too good when he’d done that. – [Woman] Yeah! Right. And you would always use
something that’s not stretchy. – [Steve] Oh yeah, nothing stretchy. I don’t want to pull on him. Okay, I don’t want to pull. Even if I do this, it’s still pulling. If I bump him, its not pulling. Any time you do this, its pulling. Even with a string. So, bump him, that’s what does it. That’s what fixes it. A surcingle folks. You know. This is a wonderful tool. Even my wife’s mule, even trained mules that I’ve had in the past. Once, twice a week, sometimes even more, I’d turn ’em loose out in the round pen, and then I’d do this to ’em. I let them frame themselves up. Its a tune up, you know. Do I know how to get in a
saddle and frame them up, yeah. Okay, but maybe my next
school person that I have come into school, they don’t know how to do it. You know. So this way here, I keep my mule tuned, and I don’t have to be
on their back to tune. All right, make sense. – [Woman] Do you ever
you ever use any crupers? Cruppers, however you
wanna pronounce it. No? Okay, nevermind. Your
students answered it for me. – [Steve] Yeah. Okay, here’s
the deal. Tail crupper. Everybody understands
a tail crupper, right. Last year I was amazed. Three people called me and said, “I’m gonna get your saddle, “but does it have a place
for a tail crupper ring?” I say no. They say, “Well we want you to put a tail crupper ring on it.” I said no this is my saddle. I designed it this way. But why don’t you like
a tail crupper ring? I said because number one, the saddle moves 2.5 inches forward. Number two, you got good chance
of breaking the mule’s back. One guy say “Son, I’ve been doing this “for thirty-some years. “I’ve never broke the back one.” I had another lady tell me the same thing. “I’ve been riding all my
life with a tail crupper.” Had a young. The third one said, “I’m just getting stared and
I wanna use the tail crupper.” And I went through the
whole mess with them. Understand a tail crupper is only on bone. It’s not on muscle mass, all right. Now I’ll talk about
breeds and stuff later. Long story short, all of them people within a month, called me and said they had to put their mules down cause they had broken backs, because of the tail. The crupper broke the tail. One guys said I loosened it up, because it was rubbing
the underside of his mule. He loosened it up, so now
a tail was sticking up, and it just snapped. And he said, “I heard it snap.” And every one of them said,
I could feel the back end of the animal just drop, and literally scooting, like this. That had to be horrible.
Had to be horrible. And when I talk about
breechings and adjustments, you’ll see why I use a breeching. Cause you see the breeching is not gonna stay in
one place all the time. (banjo music)


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