An Alternate Approach to Horsemanship

Applying Herd Wisdom with Scotty Cowan
By Michelle Bacallao | Jan 29, 2014
Scotty Cowan with Breezy.

Scotty Cowan, a native Haywood County horse trainer, farrier and blacksmith, is seeking to revolutionize the training of horses for the farrier.

As owner of Cowan Horse Ranch in Waynesville, he has self-published eBooks to inspire horse owners and trainers to learn new approaches to horsemanship. The author's latest eBook, entitled “The Revolutionary Approach to Training Horses for the Farrier,” offers readers a new approach to equestrian training, whereby the horse is unrestrained by ropes or halters.

“What I really like to do is the training for the farrier work, training to get the horses so they're ready for it,” said Cowan.

Cowan's method was not intentionally developed.  It came from “necessity and opportunity,” Cowan said, and was influenced by another book he had read in high school.

The alternate approach to horse training also involves the use of herd mentality. The herd mentality, also known as herd wisdom, is a method used to help horses distinguish acceptable behavior from unacceptable behavior.

Much like the time-out adults give children, the Alpha Horse, or herd leader, gives the young in the herd a time-out when things are not working properly (or attitudes need adjusting.) If a horse within the herd is harassing others or displaying ornery behavior, the herd leader will run that horse away from the group until he or she is ready to rejoin.

“The Revolutionary Approach to Training Horses for the Farrier” teaches horse owners to train their horses in ways similar to what they would experience in their natural habitat. According to Cowan, the use of herd wisdom creates a higher level of trust and cooperation with a horse than traditional methods.

“Without violence, force or restraints, a horse's survival skills are not engaged,” stated Cowan.

When a horse's survival skills are not engaged, the horse feels no need to resist. Running away, biting and rearing become less frequent, the more the herd mentality method is practiced. Trust between horse and human is established much quicker.

Fear is often a motivating factor for horses, especially when having their hooves handled. If fear can be eliminated, and trust built, the experience between the horse and farrier will be much safer and more enjoyable. Most injuries to the horse and owner can be prevented simply through the application of methods discussed in Cowan's eBook.

The eBook includes an array of other ideas such as horse survival skills, desensitization, elimination of fear and handling of hooves.

Cowan has published several other eBooks, including “The Horse Owner's Guide to Training Horses for Trailer Loading.” This free eBook discusses the idea that many problems are caused by the way horses are forced into trailers. Many horse owners have experienced difficulty in this area, which inspired Cowan to write the book. His motivation was to help others learn to properly handle horses, so there may be a resounding peace between horse and owner.

In “The Horse Owner's Guide to Training Horses for Trailer Loading,” Cowan says trainers can practice loading horses onto a tarp before actually loading them onto a trailer. Force should never be used, as it can potentially cause long-term physical and psychological problems for the horse.

To find more information on Cowan or the ranch, visit The site offers a more extended biography on Cowan, a link to his YouTube channel, access to the eBooks and more. He can be contacted by email through the website.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Linda Sexton | Jan 29, 2014 09:12

Haywood County is fortunate to have Scotty Cowan practicing and teaching his horsemanship knowledge here.  He honestly cares about your horses experience during a trimming or shoeing.  I am happy to have had him work with my horses.

Posted by: Jeanne Naber | Jan 29, 2014 14:45

Scotty shoes our horses, Fancy and Little Joe. His patience with them is wonderful and they trust Scotty - we do too!  He is awesome...and we are very lucky to have him here in Haywood County.


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