while he works with horses
philosophy is growing in popularity
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (July 2010) Charlie Roach has
spent a lot of time around horses so much so, that when
he is near horses, his own animal instinct kicks in. He uses this instinct
to bond with the animals to form a relationship and communicate with
Roach follows the philosophy of training horses by appealing to their
instincts and herd mentality, enabling him to communicate with
horses on a higher level, he said. This technique is known as
Natural Horsemanship and, once you know what to do, it becomes
courtsey of Traci Missun
Roach uses a natural
when training horses.
Natural Horsemanship has become a popular training method
in the past two decades, and those who practice this philosophy are
sometimes referred to as horse whisperers. The first known
horse whisperer was Irishman Daniel Sullivan, who died in
1810 and earned a reputation for training vicious horses.
By spending a lifetime around horses, you develop what works for
you, said Roach, 58. Natural Horsemanship is a very old
When Roach employs Natural Horsemanship techniques, his purpose is to
make horses calmer, braver and smarter, he said. The ideology is similar
to making the right thing easy and the wrong thing uncomfortable.
Roach gave a Natural Horsemanship demonstration at Town & Country
Day, held in May at the Oldham County Fairgrounds. I thought it
was a good way to expose our horse leaders to different ways of achieving
results, said Kelly Woods, Oldham County Extension Agent for 4-H
Youth Development. Her goal was that someone in the crowd learns
Woods said, His whole methodology of training horses is very effective.
Natural Horsemanship teaches individuals how to communicate with a horse
so that it does not feel threatened and wants to do things for you.
Its a neat approach to working with horses.
Even though his love for horses is evident, Roach didnt start
out as a horse trainer. He majored in law enforcement with a minor in
political science. Because his father was a captain with the state police
force, his family moved around quite often while he was growing up.
He moved briefly to Henry County, Ky., in 1976, and then lived in Oldham
County from 1978 to 1990. He eventually moved back to Henry County with
his wife of 30 years, Karen.
Self-employed under the name of Roach Stables, Roach has trained and
shod Tennessee walking horses and other breeds. He has spent a small
amount of time working for other horse trainers but works primarily
I enjoy helping people and sharing ideas, said Roach. I
had no mentor to take me under their wing when I was young, he
said of his reason for holding many clinics and demonstrations on Natural
Although most are held locally, Roach has held an annual clinic in Castalia,
Ohio, for the past 16 years.
To teach the Natural Horsemanship philosophy, youve got
to learn communication skills, he said. He has spent a lot of
time with horses, learning the technique before passing it on to others.
I watch today, do tomorrow and teach the third day.
Roach has had no formal education in shoeing but learned on his own
and by watching others. He said he lives by a motto he picked up from
comedian George Burns: Good, better, best. Never let it rest.
Get your good better and your better best.
After years of being what he termed horse crazy, Roach enjoys
giving back to the community when he can by teaching horses to be calmer,
braver and smarter. Through the Natural Horsemanship technique he employs
attitude, knowledge, tools, technique, time and imagination to communicate
with horses and train them in a way they can better relate to.
To God I give all the glory, Roach said of his talents.
He is a natural teacher who has a way with horses.
For more information on Charlie Roachs
clinics and services, contact him at (502) 845-7677.
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