Road to the Horse 2022 Championship Competitor Cole Cameron, joined by his father, Craig Cameron, of Craig and Cole Cameron Ride Smart Horsemanship discuss the best methods to help a horse gain confidence.
Cole explains how doing a lot of groundwork with a horse that is spooky is key. He uses the flag a lot to desensitize an unconfident horse and incorporates flags with trash bags on them as well as tarps and a variety of other tools to increase a horse’s bravery.
“Then we take them out a bit,” Cole explained. “We take them out on the trails and really ride them out there; ride them over obstacles; get them to go over the obstacles. But, I think it all starts on the ground in the round pen, and you just build on that and keep going.”
Craig Cameron added that you can build a horse’s confidence anywhere. Sometimes they use the corrals at Double Horn Ranch to work with an anxious horse. He emphasized that it takes the time it takes, and that if a horse is confident with you on the ground, that same horse will be more confident when you are in the saddle.
“We work with them,” Craig explained. “We don’t ask for too much, too fast. We build it up, and pretty soon, day by day, these horses are getting a little better. One of our mottos is “ride better today than we did yesterday.”
Craig stressed how it is imperative to take the time it takes to improve a horse’s ground work and to incorporate ground work regularly.
“So pretty soon, they are really believing us,” he said. “They really have confidence in us. Because we know that confidence is something gained or something lost. We go out of our way to gain it each and every day and work these horses as individuals because they’re all so different.”