Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Carlos Tabernaberri: Whispering Acres

Good Horsemanship: An interview with Carlos Tabernaberri
by Gina McKnight

As seen in Florida Equine Athlete
December 2015 issue
No duplication without permissions. 

Carlos Tabernaberri begins each day thinking of horses. As a well-regarded trainer, he works with riders and horses to “establish cooperation through clear communication, understanding and trust to ensure improved performance and versatility, regardless of your preferred discipline.” 

Tabernaberri expounds, “As a trainer and educator, my focus is on the horses and people with whom I work to establish a foundation that will help them achieve their full potential. We should not be divided by discipline; we should be united by good horsemanship. Regardless of what we call it – natural, Western or English-style horsemanship – I truly believe there should be simply good horsemanship, which is about consistently considering the horse’s well-being first and foremost."

Conducting clinics around the world – from Australia to America – Tabernaberri’s motto is Help Ever, Hurt Never…

Gina: When was your first encounter with a horse?
Carlos: My first encounter with a horse was when I was very little walking to school, there were two runaway horses that were being chased by some Gauchos in Argentina where I grew up to age 14, and when I saw them bolting towards me I started running back. I can say as romantic as that may sound, that the horses caught up to me and instead of running on top of me, they slowed down not to run me over. So I guess they were looking after me though they themselves were being chased, so I could do my work in the future.

Gina: Do you favor one breed over another?
Carlos: I love all breeds, but like all, there are some breeds that I like a bit more - like the versatility of the Quarter horse and the heart and stamina of the Thoroughbreds.

Gina: What training methods do you use? Do you model another training method?
Carlos: I do not model myself on anyone and rather than saying I am self-taught, I say I am horse-taught as they are my greatest teachers. There is no one horse that has not opened the door for me to learn a bit more.

Gina: You are an advocate for bitless riding. I haven't experienced bitless riding, but hope to in the future. How do you begin to introduce a horse to bitless riding? 

Carlos: I advocate bitless riding not as a fad, but rather from a humane point of view. Metal in the mouth is almost a medieval tool of control. The transition to bitless is simple and well accepted by the horse. Any horse with a good foundation in training can go bitless under the correct direction of a good teacher. The horse accepts it straight away; the human is the challenge as always.

Gina: What type of clinics do you offer?
Carlos: My clinics cater from beginner horse and rider to advancing the horse and human. I am known as the Quarter horse of trainers in my versatility to conduct a clinic emphasizing the working horse to a more classical approach and foundations. It is in my Spanish and French heritage. I believe you train a horse as a handy working horse, solid and brave and then it can be an outstanding sports horse in a chosen field best suited for that horse.

Gina: Do you have a favorite horse anecdote to share?  
Carlos: Horse anecdotes, too many to mention but perhaps the first encounter the most memorable.

Gina: Describe your own stables and your horses...
Carlos: My horses are a Brumby mare (Australian wild horse), one of five orphans I trained after their herd was culled in the Northern Territory of Australia, and one of Australia's many cullings of wild horses. A Quarter horse mare, Lani, 20 now and my greatest teacher which I got as four year old horse termed "Crazy and Dangerous". Though she almost killed me many times, she has taught me all about dealing with so called difficult horses; taught me infinite patience and to dig deep, to be who I am today and understand horses in a non-biased way.

My gelding Sai, which I raised as a foal, another Paint mare featured in my latest facebook post, who was called dangerous and aggressive and once again with good understanding and horsemanship has become an outstanding willing horse; a welsh pony called Phoenix, which I started 16 years ago for my then young children; and the $1 horse I bought, who is featured on the cover of my book, who was going to be shot until I intervened and saved him from a bullet…another master teacher, too.

Gina: What are your views on the horse slaughter debate?
Carlos: The fact that I own and rescue and continue to work with so called feral horses that are slaughtered, my views on slaughter is straight and simple. Man has continued not only to work alongside horses for 6,000 years, but also abuse, dispose and eradicate due to poor management practices, understanding and lack of compassion many horses around the world.

My thoughts on it, pure disgust to destroy such a noble creature who has helped us conquer, explore, work the land and build nations but can easily be forgotten and disposed when they become a "so called problem".

Gina: Where do you like to ride for fun and adventure?
Carlos: I ride up the mountains here in my ranch, and while it is mainly all work related, anytime I am on a horse I do not see it as a chore, job or obligation, but rather as a noble cause and honor to sit on a horse.

Gina: For novice riders, what qualities should they look for when purchasing a horse?
Carlos: Advice for anyone purchasing a horse, show up earlier than arranged to view a horse so that the horse is not being worked hard before you get there, let the seller demonstrate all the things they claim the horse can do, be aware of alarm bells you may feel or hear, things that don’t feel right. Take an experienced horse person to assess and help you decide if the horse is right for you and do not buy on looks alone.

Gina: What does horsemanship mean to you?
Carlos: My horsemanship means the world, simply because I am striving hard to be a part of a good beneficial solution for horses and people, rather than become another problem for both due to misleading information out there.

Gina: Where is your next training event and how can we sign up?
Carlos: Finally people can keep track where I am by looking at my website and facebook page, and contact me by email if they are interested in running a clinic from a minimum of two days to five days for example. I am accessible and approachable, and reply to all messages myself.

Connect with Carlos
Photo credits to Marty Schiel, Photographer

As seen in Florida Equine Athlete
December 2016 issue
No duplication without permissions. 

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