Updated: May 18
Growing up in the Philippines I didn't really have a person to turn to and learn from. I also didn't have a lot of resources like; a vet anywhere near us or trainers. It just was not a thing back then. Things have changed so much now which is nice! Back then what I did have was the internet! I joined horse forums and met some nice helpful people and not-so-nice helpful people and at times contradicting and confusing people. Also, where I was at the time people around me who were involved with horses were rougher with their approach. Horses were dangerous and must be controlled through fear and force. It worked but it was not appealing to me. I wanted the horse to enjoy being with me and doing what I asked of her/him. Making a horse do something out of fear and force doesn't equal a real relationship with your horse and can be a recipe for disaster when unexpected situations/events occur. I also believe there is no one way to do things. Everyone is different and so is every horse but the basics are pretty similar.
1. Buck Brannaman My hands-down favorite is Buck Brannaman. I didn't discover him until later when I just came upon his film BUCK. I even got to go to one of his clinics in Ellensburg! I have taught other people how to ride on my own horse that I know really well, that is easy. Teaching 10 plus people to ride on their own horses was amazing to watch. His philosophy and approach were similar to what I was trying to accomplish growing up. He focuses on being soft but firm. Gaining respect, trust, and having the horse's needs in mind. Watching his film felt validating. I didn't find out about him until 2012 which was my last 2 years of being with my horses in the Philippines. I didn't do much groundwork prior to learning about him. Though Hidalgo and Frisky turned out amazing despite the lack of groundwork! Sahara got to have the joy of me learning to lunge and do all the groundwork and I will say it made me more confident in communicating with horses and we were able to do more complicated movements. 2. Steve Young I recently discovered him. He is amazing. He videos the whole process and explains very well why he is doing what he is doing and insight into the horse's behavior. It makes his videos long but it really gets to the heart of why the horse is having "an issue" and understanding the why is very important in how you approach and handle the horse. He deals with horses that have real common problems and some serious ones. He also shows the owners working with the horses after he has worked with them. This is good for comparison and how to improve. His youtube channel is a must to subscribe to.
3. Clinton Anderson
When I first saw his videos I found he was hard to relate to because he was a tall, loud/outspoken high-energy fellow which I am neither of. Plus what I could find online was limited. However, now I find his work very beneficial and straightforward. He explains things well and has some nice techniques to use for certain situations. He is on the spendy side but has his some free content on youtube. I think since my own skill level is better than what it was when I first watched his videos things make more sense to me now. Plus my husband and other new riders might appreciate his way of teaching/explaining things.
4. Stacy Westfall
Her approach really focuses on working the horse with its owner. It is an important message. You can have someone else train the horse but you might/most likely always have problems because you are the problem. She says it way nicer. I remember watching her liberty work with horses. Her riding her horse Roxy tackless inspired me to have aimed for that kind of relationship with my own horses. She also has a lovely podcast you should listen to.
5. Rick Gore
May be an unpopular opinion. He can be rough around the edges by some people's standards but he loves horses and although I don't agree with everything he says. Or sometimes the way he says it which may be too blunt for some people. He does have a very good understanding of horses and puts the horse first and makes you think from the horse's perspective. His videos are uncut and real which is very much appreciated. Rick Gore had the most videos online that I could access/watch for free at the time way back when. What I really took away from him is you can't really hurt a horse ( I mean unless that is your main goal then something is wrong with you). I toughed up and I learned how to communicate to Hidalgo ( my 4-year-old colt) that I was definitely not a pushover and I was in charge. I learned a lot from each of these people and applied it. Sometimes it worked like magic other times I had to find my own way anyway but that is what horsemanship is communication and creating a respectful trusting relationship/bond between you and your horse.