NASHPORT, Ohio- “They date it from the first day of competition and they’ll date it back 100 days,” professional horse trainer, Adam Black said.
One hundred days, that’s the amount of time, Black gets to train horses for the Appalachian Trainer Face-Off in Winfield, West Virginia.
“I will have a main competition horse, which is Siri, and I’ll also have what they call a showcase. Which are usually horses that are trained but maybe need more polishing to become more adoptable. So that’s what Andy is,” said Black.
The trainer face-off is put together by the Heart of Phoenix, who’s goal is to rescue and save as many horses as possible. For Black he’s training, Andy who is a mule and Siri who is a mustang, to get them comfortable with human interaction. Which could lead them getting adopted and finding their forever home.
“The Heart of Phoenix is great because they do background checks on their potential adopters, you have to be approved to go down and buy so their going to go to a good home,” Black said.
So when you think about it, Black is sort of like a high school coach that is training his athletes and preparing them for the next level.
“You want the horse to be willing to walk across different terrain without a worry,” Black said.
Like all things, there’s going to be some challenges.
Black realized Andy wasn’t going to need that much training. Which is why Adam decided to take in Siri, who wasn’t as comfortable with human contact.
“Actually she was extremely guarded of her nose, of her face and you can tell she still kind of is. She doesn’t want any one to touch her lips or her face cause that’s a vulnerable thing,” Black said.
But with time, the training becomes a little easier.
“If I can tell her to come with me and walk with me and stay with me, rather than run away and do what she wants to do. So I’m just telling her to stay with me but we can ask her to stop. My body language, I just raised my shoulders and she said OK, you kind of meant stop,” Black said.