You can use different words to describe Mike Kevil--horse whisperer, psychologist, magician, behaviorist--but he prefers just plain old horse trainer. "Whatever the current fad," he says, "all we're really doing is training a horse. It isn't magical, mystical, secretive, or even difficult for the most part. Most anyone can do it; but to do it well takes knowledge and practice. A few basic skills and a good work ethic are all you need to get started."
Kevil gives the reader all that and more in this practical guide to mastering horse-training skills aimed at both the expert and novice horseman and -woman. His philosophy is simple: Stimulus-Response-Reward, then Repeat. You apply a stimulus until you get the desired response, then you stop the stimulus and reward the horse. In the pages of STARTING COLTS, Kevil offers readers an understanding of how to apply and cease the stimulus in the best and most humane way possible. He emphasizes safety and going slowly with young horses. Patience and a steady approach build confidence in both the horse and trainer. Chapters include facilities, equipment, catching and leading, tying up, longeing, sacking out, first saddling, introduction to the bit, driving, first ride, first thirty days, developing the mouth, thirty to ninety days, and trailer loading.