The Women's Journal

How To Hold Hands With A Predator 101

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Dean Roles_3 editedBy Dean Roles

That’s the first class my students (horses) take here in Bridgeville, DE. That analogy works on so many levels – both physically and mentally, but we (for this short article) will just stick to one aspect.

It is just so easy for a human to induce trauma with their claws. One of the first things we make sure is that our 4-legged friend understands that we mean no harm and wish only to communicate with our hands. Some horses and people understand this enlightened point of view. It is very rare that they both understand the concept, and often the horse nor the person understand what the human hand is for. When a horse and rider understand that they are to connect and communicate through the reins, beautiful things begin to happen.

Once a horse allows a human to connect through the reins, it enables a human to relay information to the horse about what’s coming, through what is referred to as a half-halt. Once half-halts are common practice, relaxation and trust become common place. This relaxation and trust is absolutely necessary to any type of training. It allows us to mold the horses form into proper positions throughout movement under a rider.

When a horse achieves proper position on a regular basis, it’s called collection. Collection is the term used when a rider compresses a horse from the poll to the crop, causing the horse to suspend himself in movement and to enabling him to better carry a riders weight. True collection can take a horse and rider years to achieve. But to tell the truth, that’s the entire point with horses and life. It’s always about the journey – not the destination. Horses seem to do that, teach life lessons all day, everyday – and we silly humans call ourselves the trainers!


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For all of you horse lovers out there who are looking for a really great horse trainer, search no longer. If you want the best, I recommend Mr. Dean Roles of Centaur Training in Bridgeville, DE.
I own a lovely 7 year old Arabian horse named Rockapella (Rocky) and we’ve been together for four years.  Rocky and I have been with several trainers during those four years, but Mr. Roles is the first trainer that has had a positive impact on my horse and me. Mr. Roles has been training me and Rocky for just three weeks.
In these three weeks I’ve noticed a great improvement in my horse’s behavior. Rocky was a rather high strung and nervous horse that spooked a lot at just about everything. He’s already much calmer and he even appears to be much happier because of the leadership Dean has given him.
I’m a senior rider, and I need to be able to trust Rocky to take me safely wherever I want to go. I also need a trainer who can clearly define what it is I’m to do with my horse during our training sessions. Mr. Roles does this for me.  He has a way of putting into words, in the form of analogies, what he expects of me and my horse in such a way that helps me experience a connection between myself and my horse that I’d never thought possible. You could almost say he’s a human with a horse’s brain because he understands these fine animals so thoroughly. I’m on a journey with the “love of my life” horse and I’m excited about the possibilities that training with Dean can bring to the “partnership” I know I’m going to have with Rocky. He’s a very smart horse; he pushes all my buttons, and believe me, he knows just what ones to push and when. I admit I’ve spoiled him but Dean’s techniques are beginning to help me show Rocky that I can be the leader he needs.  This will mean a less spooky, calmer Rocky who is much happier because he doesn’t have to “take on the world” all by himself. I’ve realized, thru Mr. Roles training, that there’s so much more to riding a horse than jumping on its back – it’s experiencing a unique partnership with one of God’s finest creatures.

~ Nancy Minton, Bridgeville DE

Centaur Training, LLC

A full-service boarding/training facility.

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22000 Heritage Farm Rd.
Bridgeville, DE 19933
[email protected]