A true horseman takes the reins at Alaqua Animal Refuge

December 10, 2012

Trainer Ben Quinters colt starts Madison, a young filly. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Natural horsemanship training brings new opportunities for rescued horses

A welcomed new addition to the great staff and volunteers at Alaqua Animal Refuge has arrived, and his name is Ben Quinters. The soft spoken, seasoned horseman and expert trainer will be offering his talents to help rescued horses at the refuge in Freeport. Quinters will be teaching horses with a natural method of horsemanship, based on understanding horses in their natural world.

“Alaqua has rescued many abused and neglected horses over the years. Our staff and volunteers are miracle workers when it comes to taking a starved horse and giving it the nutrition and love it needs to heal. However, there is another fundamental part that we were missing for these horses, and that is to evaluate and prepare them for adoption. It takes a special individual to safely test these animals to see if they can be ridden, or even take that first ride. We are excited to have Ben here to fill that gap, and to provide these gracious animals even more of an opportunity to find permanent homes and not end up passed around just to end up in the same situation we rescued them from,” said Hood.

A Texas native, Quinters has spent most of his life around horses. After many years living in the mountains herding livestock, he thought he knew all there was about horses. That is until a friend encouraged him to meet Ray Hunt, a famed expert on natural horsemanship.

Ben Quinters has a special way with a horses. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

“I didn’t think it was a good fit, until a friend help me understand the method,” Quinters said.

Wanting to learn more, Quinters bummed a ride to meet Hunt to see what what it was all about. It wasn’t long before he became an expert himself in the art of teaching the method.

A few years ago, Quinters met Laurie Hood, Alaqua’s founder, at a horsemanship school in Montana. The two hit it off, and Hood knew he would be the perfect person to come and help with the horses at the refuge. The beginning of November, Quinters joined the staff at the refuge.

On Dec. 9, 2012, Alaqua hosted a demonstration with Quinters starting a colt. Madison, a young filly had never been ridden. Quinters had her saddled up and riding in less than 45 minutes. He has a special way with the horses, a spiritual connection that becomes evident within just a few minutes of watching him in action. He knows the horse, its body language and works closely with connecting with its energy.

Stay tuned to Alaqua’s website, they will be posting plans on upcoming horsemanship clinics with Quinters at the refuge. For more information, go to alaquaanimalrefuge.org

If you attend one of the upcoming workshops or clinics, you might be treated to a bit of cowboy poetry, another one of Quinter’s many talents. He enjoys sharing his prose and reciting other poets’ writings about horses and life.

“My life has been the poem I would have writ

But I could not both live and utter it.”
– Henry David Thoreau