Brad Andrews: Horse trainer doing just what he’s always wanted to do | TSLN.com

Brad Andrews: Horse trainer doing just what he’s always wanted to do

The summer grass is still green around the pens and buildings as Brad Andrews leads his top horse, Punch, to the shed for saddling. New round bales dot the hillsides around the place, proof that more happens on the ranch than riding colts all day long.

It’s just past noon and Brad has already ridden five horses, putting miles on them around the ranch. He’s checked hay, examined fences and ridden through cow-calf pairs all on horseback before heading to the round pen to saddle a colt for the first time.

After warming Punch up a little, Brad leaves him in the round pen and heads for where the outside horses are housed. Each has had time to finish its morning hay and have a drink, before school starts.

A buckskin mare warily eyes Brad as he enters her pen, not wanting him to approach. She’s unsure of him, so Brad takes his time, asking her to face him before approaching. He reassures her with gentle rubs on the neck, halters her and leads her from the pen. Her eyes are big as she follows him to the round pen

Once in the pen, he grabs his flag and starts working her with it, showing her that it won’t hurt her and that it’s alright to let it touch her all over. She gradually relaxes and starts moving more confidently as Brad works her. She watches him very closely, still not sure he can be trusted, so Brad starts working on approaching and then moving away.

“It’s really important that a horse be easy to walk up to and catch. I might put up with one that isn’t for myself, but I don’t want the people I’m riding them for to have to deal with it,” says Brad. “One that’s gentle on the ground will be a lot gentler when you ride it too,” he adds.

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Brad leads the mare over to Punch, who has been intently watching the work out. He steps on and starts working her on turning, giving her fore and rear quarters, and leading, all while horseback. Punch helps him by staying close to her, pushing her with his muzzle when he doesn’t think she’s moving fast enough, and reassuring her with his presence. Punch has worked a lot of colts with Brad and sometimes tries to run the show, but Brad just chuckles at him and makes him stay in line.

The mare is working hard to figure out everything Brad is asking, and makes nice progress. Brad leans over her and touches her all over with the flag and rubs her down the back and sides with his hands, preparing her for the touch of a saddle and the look and feel of someone above her. He talks to her when she gets worried and reassures her that everything is just fine.

On the ground again, with Punch taking a break on the far side of the pen, Brad works the mare on letting him walk right up to her without her moving away. She’s doing well enough that Brad decides it’s time to saddle her. She stands fairly still while he puts the blanket on and off and rubs it all over her, all the while reassuring her with his voice and attitude.

When he swings his saddle on her, he’s careful to not bump her or let the cinches and stirrups hit her anywhere that might scare her unnecessarily. He cinches her up snugly, then turns her carefully and lets her move a few steps. Her attitude is still quite calm and she trustingly follows Brad. He checks the cinch and then takes off the halter.

On board Punch again, Brad starts moving her around the pen with the flag. She slips a time or two on a wet spot, but doesn’t blow up or do anything wrong. He moves her right out and into a lope at times, then turns her back on the fence to go the other way. He asks her to start and stop and turn the direction he wants, all of which she tries to do right.

Brad dismounts and, with his rope, works her from the ground. He flops a coiled roped on the saddle, over her hindquarters, neck and belly, always careful not to hurt her. He’s working at desensitizing her to the sounds and feel of things touching her, and building her confidence that he won’t hurt her.

He pulls the halter off once again, and starts gently tossing his loop at her. She moves off at a trot, not sure of this new idea. He allows his loop to settle over the saddle and around her hind quarters, just above the hocks, and lets her move around the pen with it just hanging there. He draws it tight, then loosens it again, as she moves around.

The mare never humps up or panics, though this is all new to her. When she finally stops on her own, Brad approaches her and pets her, then moves away. Standing a ways apart, they take a rest. She’s watching Brad intently, but not with fear. Finally, she relaxes and works her mouth. This makes Brad smile, as it shows him that she’s not tense and is really letting down her guard.

“With this mare not wanting me to catch her in the little pen, I know I’ve got to work on that. I’ve gone at it slow and easy, which is fine, but the fact is, not many people do that. So she’s got to be able to stand there when they walk up to her,” says Brad. “So now I’m going to work on that and try to get through this deal with her. Make it a little harder for her to act that way.” With that, Brad boldly walks up to her and rubs her neck. She’s leery, but doesn’t move too far. As soon as she stops moving, he steps away. This happens several times, then finally she follows him when he moves off.

With her ears up and her eye soft, she’s really focused on Brad as they continue working on the ground. He messes with the rope, which is still draped over her, and then removes it when she’s standing quietly.

This time when Brad moves to the middle of the pen, she is right with him. He picks up the halter and puts it back on her, not being as slow and easy as before, yet she drops her head and stands at ease. The mare has figured out that it’s alright to be there with him.

After a little more work on flexing and moving around him, Brad steps up in the stirrup, leans over her and rubs her side, flops the offside stirrup and brushes his arm over her rump, all the while keeping things easy and quiet. He does this several times, then swings his leg over. He gently sits down in the saddle and rubs her neck. She’s still very relaxed, so he carefully swings back off of her. He then repeats the moves on the other side, finally sitting on her again. This time, he rubs her and says, “I think she would be fine if I wanted to move her off and get her trotting around the pen, but she’s made a lot of good changes and has done really well, so I think I’m just going to stop here and end on a good note. She’ll be ready for more tomorrow.”

His pupil stands quietly as he unsaddles her, returning to her pen with a whole different attitude than when she started. When he puts her back, she wants to follow Brad when he leaves. That’s the response he was hoping for. “She’s a nice mare, really nice, and sure wants to figure it out. She’s going to do really well,” says Andrews.

The summer grass is still green around the pens and buildings as Brad Andrews leads his top horse, Punch, to the shed for saddling. New round bales dot the hillsides around the place, proof that more happens on the ranch than riding colts all day long.

It’s just past noon and Brad has already ridden five horses, putting miles on them around the ranch. He’s checked hay, examined fences and ridden through cow-calf pairs all on horseback before heading to the round pen to saddle a colt for the first time.

After warming Punch up a little, Brad leaves him in the round pen and heads for where the outside horses are housed. Each has had time to finish its morning hay and have a drink, before school starts.

A buckskin mare warily eyes Brad as he enters her pen, not wanting him to approach. She’s unsure of him, so Brad takes his time, asking her to face him before approaching. He reassures her with gentle rubs on the neck, halters her and leads her from the pen. Her eyes are big as she follows him to the round pen

Once in the pen, he grabs his flag and starts working her with it, showing her that it won’t hurt her and that it’s alright to let it touch her all over. She gradually relaxes and starts moving more confidently as Brad works her. She watches him very closely, still not sure he can be trusted, so Brad starts working on approaching and then moving away.

“It’s really important that a horse be easy to walk up to and catch. I might put up with one that isn’t for myself, but I don’t want the people I’m riding them for to have to deal with it,” says Brad. “One that’s gentle on the ground will be a lot gentler when you ride it too,” he adds.

Brad leads the mare over to Punch, who has been intently watching the work out. He steps on and starts working her on turning, giving her fore and rear quarters, and leading, all while horseback. Punch helps him by staying close to her, pushing her with his muzzle when he doesn’t think she’s moving fast enough, and reassuring her with his presence. Punch has worked a lot of colts with Brad and sometimes tries to run the show, but Brad just chuckles at him and makes him stay in line.

The mare is working hard to figure out everything Brad is asking, and makes nice progress. Brad leans over her and touches her all over with the flag and rubs her down the back and sides with his hands, preparing her for the touch of a saddle and the look and feel of someone above her. He talks to her when she gets worried and reassures her that everything is just fine.

On the ground again, with Punch taking a break on the far side of the pen, Brad works the mare on letting him walk right up to her without her moving away. She’s doing well enough that Brad decides it’s time to saddle her. She stands fairly still while he puts the blanket on and off and rubs it all over her, all the while reassuring her with his voice and attitude.

When he swings his saddle on her, he’s careful to not bump her or let the cinches and stirrups hit her anywhere that might scare her unnecessarily. He cinches her up snugly, then turns her carefully and lets her move a few steps. Her attitude is still quite calm and she trustingly follows Brad. He checks the cinch and then takes off the halter.

On board Punch again, Brad starts moving her around the pen with the flag. She slips a time or two on a wet spot, but doesn’t blow up or do anything wrong. He moves her right out and into a lope at times, then turns her back on the fence to go the other way. He asks her to start and stop and turn the direction he wants, all of which she tries to do right.

Brad dismounts and, with his rope, works her from the ground. He flops a coiled roped on the saddle, over her hindquarters, neck and belly, always careful not to hurt her. He’s working at desensitizing her to the sounds and feel of things touching her, and building her confidence that he won’t hurt her.

He pulls the halter off once again, and starts gently tossing his loop at her. She moves off at a trot, not sure of this new idea. He allows his loop to settle over the saddle and around her hind quarters, just above the hocks, and lets her move around the pen with it just hanging there. He draws it tight, then loosens it again, as she moves around.

The mare never humps up or panics, though this is all new to her. When she finally stops on her own, Brad approaches her and pets her, then moves away. Standing a ways apart, they take a rest. She’s watching Brad intently, but not with fear. Finally, she relaxes and works her mouth. This makes Brad smile, as it shows him that she’s not tense and is really letting down her guard.

“With this mare not wanting me to catch her in the little pen, I know I’ve got to work on that. I’ve gone at it slow and easy, which is fine, but the fact is, not many people do that. So she’s got to be able to stand there when they walk up to her,” says Brad. “So now I’m going to work on that and try to get through this deal with her. Make it a little harder for her to act that way.” With that, Brad boldly walks up to her and rubs her neck. She’s leery, but doesn’t move too far. As soon as she stops moving, he steps away. This happens several times, then finally she follows him when he moves off.

With her ears up and her eye soft, she’s really focused on Brad as they continue working on the ground. He messes with the rope, which is still draped over her, and then removes it when she’s standing quietly.

This time when Brad moves to the middle of the pen, she is right with him. He picks up the halter and puts it back on her, not being as slow and easy as before, yet she drops her head and stands at ease. The mare has figured out that it’s alright to be there with him.

After a little more work on flexing and moving around him, Brad steps up in the stirrup, leans over her and rubs her side, flops the offside stirrup and brushes his arm over her rump, all the while keeping things easy and quiet. He does this several times, then swings his leg over. He gently sits down in the saddle and rubs her neck. She’s still very relaxed, so he carefully swings back off of her. He then repeats the moves on the other side, finally sitting on her again. This time, he rubs her and says, “I think she would be fine if I wanted to move her off and get her trotting around the pen, but she’s made a lot of good changes and has done really well, so I think I’m just going to stop here and end on a good note. She’ll be ready for more tomorrow.”

His pupil stands quietly as he unsaddles her, returning to her pen with a whole different attitude than when she started. When he puts her back, she wants to follow Brad when he leaves. That’s the response he was hoping for. “She’s a nice mare, really nice, and sure wants to figure it out. She’s going to do really well,” says Andrews.

The summer grass is still green around the pens and buildings as Brad Andrews leads his top horse, Punch, to the shed for saddling. New round bales dot the hillsides around the place, proof that more happens on the ranch than riding colts all day long.

It’s just past noon and Brad has already ridden five horses, putting miles on them around the ranch. He’s checked hay, examined fences and ridden through cow-calf pairs all on horseback before heading to the round pen to saddle a colt for the first time.

After warming Punch up a little, Brad leaves him in the round pen and heads for where the outside horses are housed. Each has had time to finish its morning hay and have a drink, before school starts.

A buckskin mare warily eyes Brad as he enters her pen, not wanting him to approach. She’s unsure of him, so Brad takes his time, asking her to face him before approaching. He reassures her with gentle rubs on the neck, halters her and leads her from the pen. Her eyes are big as she follows him to the round pen

Once in the pen, he grabs his flag and starts working her with it, showing her that it won’t hurt her and that it’s alright to let it touch her all over. She gradually relaxes and starts moving more confidently as Brad works her. She watches him very closely, still not sure he can be trusted, so Brad starts working on approaching and then moving away.

“It’s really important that a horse be easy to walk up to and catch. I might put up with one that isn’t for myself, but I don’t want the people I’m riding them for to have to deal with it,” says Brad. “One that’s gentle on the ground will be a lot gentler when you ride it too,” he adds.

Brad leads the mare over to Punch, who has been intently watching the work out. He steps on and starts working her on turning, giving her fore and rear quarters, and leading, all while horseback. Punch helps him by staying close to her, pushing her with his muzzle when he doesn’t think she’s moving fast enough, and reassuring her with his presence. Punch has worked a lot of colts with Brad and sometimes tries to run the show, but Brad just chuckles at him and makes him stay in line.

The mare is working hard to figure out everything Brad is asking, and makes nice progress. Brad leans over her and touches her all over with the flag and rubs her down the back and sides with his hands, preparing her for the touch of a saddle and the look and feel of someone above her. He talks to her when she gets worried and reassures her that everything is just fine.

On the ground again, with Punch taking a break on the far side of the pen, Brad works the mare on letting him walk right up to her without her moving away. She’s doing well enough that Brad decides it’s time to saddle her. She stands fairly still while he puts the blanket on and off and rubs it all over her, all the while reassuring her with his voice and attitude.

When he swings his saddle on her, he’s careful to not bump her or let the cinches and stirrups hit her anywhere that might scare her unnecessarily. He cinches her up snugly, then turns her carefully and lets her move a few steps. Her attitude is still quite calm and she trustingly follows Brad. He checks the cinch and then takes off the halter.

On board Punch again, Brad starts moving her around the pen with the flag. She slips a time or two on a wet spot, but doesn’t blow up or do anything wrong. He moves her right out and into a lope at times, then turns her back on the fence to go the other way. He asks her to start and stop and turn the direction he wants, all of which she tries to do right.

Brad dismounts and, with his rope, works her from the ground. He flops a coiled roped on the saddle, over her hindquarters, neck and belly, always careful not to hurt her. He’s working at desensitizing her to the sounds and feel of things touching her, and building her confidence that he won’t hurt her.

He pulls the halter off once again, and starts gently tossing his loop at her. She moves off at a trot, not sure of this new idea. He allows his loop to settle over the saddle and around her hind quarters, just above the hocks, and lets her move around the pen with it just hanging there. He draws it tight, then loosens it again, as she moves around.

The mare never humps up or panics, though this is all new to her. When she finally stops on her own, Brad approaches her and pets her, then moves away. Standing a ways apart, they take a rest. She’s watching Brad intently, but not with fear. Finally, she relaxes and works her mouth. This makes Brad smile, as it shows him that she’s not tense and is really letting down her guard.

“With this mare not wanting me to catch her in the little pen, I know I’ve got to work on that. I’ve gone at it slow and easy, which is fine, but the fact is, not many people do that. So she’s got to be able to stand there when they walk up to her,” says Brad. “So now I’m going to work on that and try to get through this deal with her. Make it a little harder for her to act that way.” With that, Brad boldly walks up to her and rubs her neck. She’s leery, but doesn’t move too far. As soon as she stops moving, he steps away. This happens several times, then finally she follows him when he moves off.

With her ears up and her eye soft, she’s really focused on Brad as they continue working on the ground. He messes with the rope, which is still draped over her, and then removes it when she’s standing quietly.

This time when Brad moves to the middle of the pen, she is right with him. He picks up the halter and puts it back on her, not being as slow and easy as before, yet she drops her head and stands at ease. The mare has figured out that it’s alright to be there with him.

After a little more work on flexing and moving around him, Brad steps up in the stirrup, leans over her and rubs her side, flops the offside stirrup and brushes his arm over her rump, all the while keeping things easy and quiet. He does this several times, then swings his leg over. He gently sits down in the saddle and rubs her neck. She’s still very relaxed, so he carefully swings back off of her. He then repeats the moves on the other side, finally sitting on her again. This time, he rubs her and says, “I think she would be fine if I wanted to move her off and get her trotting around the pen, but she’s made a lot of good changes and has done really well, so I think I’m just going to stop here and end on a good note. She’ll be ready for more tomorrow.”

His pupil stands quietly as he unsaddles her, returning to her pen with a whole different attitude than when she started. When he puts her back, she wants to follow Brad when he leaves. That’s the response he was hoping for. “She’s a nice mare, really nice, and sure wants to figure it out. She’s going to do really well,” says Andrews.

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