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mvp
Sep. 13, 2012, 12:13 AM
Forgive the non-specific question.

What I mean is: "If you could watch a clinic given by a western trainer who gets the very best 'brokeness' from his horses AND correct self-carriage, who would that be?"

And some more background: I'd like to go watch someone produce great western dressage horses. No, I don't mean Western Dressage in the sense of the new, hyped discipline. I mean a horse who lifts his shoulders, has pure gaits and has the reliable responsiveness anyone would want in a horse we call trained.

And yet more background: Back when Cleve Wells was producing his colt-starting series for Western Horseman (and before he was charged with animal abuse), the man came to East Jesus, NY to give a clinic. I went because the dude was at the top of his game and the colt starting series made a lot of sense to me.

Man, did I learn a lot. I didn't think I could be as hard on a horse as he was, but the horses he rode weren't doing any BS peanut rolling or that weird, diagonal canter-like thing that passes for a lope in Western Pleasure.

For my purposes, I don't care if the guru makes WP horses, reiners, cutters or whathaveyou.

Thanks!

Leather
Sep. 13, 2012, 12:24 AM
Buck Brannaman

NoSuchPerson
Sep. 13, 2012, 12:51 AM
Mike Bridges

http://mikebridges.net/

Beverley
Sep. 13, 2012, 01:13 AM
Buck Brannaman


Second that.

Go Fish
Sep. 13, 2012, 02:06 AM
Probaby Bob Avila.

He's an all-round horseman and has produced mutilpe world champions across all disciplines, including major snaffle bit futurities.

One of things I admire about Bob (and is true of a lot of western trainers) is that he's a conformation guru. He totally understands the role good conformation plays in a horse's success in the show pen and career longevity.

Of course, Bob learned from a "real" cowboy in his youth...his father, Don.

katarine
Sep. 13, 2012, 09:42 AM
Richard Winters

I Winglish AQHA
Sep. 13, 2012, 09:56 AM
I would say Jason Martin or Charlie Cole of Highpoint Performance Horses. They have consistently proven themselves and their clients in the showpen for years and always run a tight ship with happy healthy horses.

Robin Frid also does excellent work as does Dana Hokana.

craz4crtrs
Sep. 13, 2012, 10:29 AM
Second that.
I would love to see Buck Brannaman, even if I just audited the clinic.

Bryan Neubert, I have done 2 of his clinics, loved them. I just did a Joe Wolter clinic, nice guy, learned a lot but Bryan was way better and would really take the time to figure out your horse. Joe gives cryptic comments and says what do you think? :) Still I learned a lot, but probably wouldn't do another of his clinics.

Greg Eliel is a very good clinician, too. He was and is a friend of Buck Brannaman's and he does a lot of clinics on the East coast.

quikchik
Sep. 13, 2012, 11:20 AM
I like Stacey Westfall.

spotnnotfarm
Sep. 13, 2012, 11:49 AM
Love Richard Winters!

Renae
Sep. 13, 2012, 01:18 PM
Jack Brainard

kypeep
Sep. 13, 2012, 01:25 PM
Several of the really top cutting horse trainers produce a beautifully schooled horse. Eddie Flynn, for one. If you ride behind him, you are riding a horse that may wear a western saddle but truly has an excellent dressage foundation. Unfortunately, most of those top cutting trainers don't give clinics or even teach lessons. To appreciate their skill, you either have to ride a horse they trained, work for them, or sneak a peak at their training methods while standing outside the practice pen at shows.

Fillabeana
Sep. 13, 2012, 05:38 PM
Buck.
Also Harry Whitney, Joel Elliot, Bryan Neubert, Bryan's 20-something kids Jim, Luke or Kate, Tom Curtin, Joe Wolter, Martin Black, Charles Snell, Ricky Quinn.
The above folks learned along with Buck, from Ray Hunt and the Dorrance brothers, and some also studied with Buck.

Shermy
Sep. 13, 2012, 06:23 PM
Leaving in about a hour to head to Wisconsin to audit Buck's clinic this weekend. Gonna be a fun weekend!

I am lucky to have Tim Boyer in our area. He learned from Ray Hunt and is VERY good. I learn so much each time I watch Tim work a horse.

I am sure there are very good horsemen/woman in most areas. Not all market themselves to the degree of a BTNT national people do.

I am sure I will learn a TON watching Buck for FOUR days. Getting excited, am all packed and just waiting for my friend to get off work so we can get on the road :)

HPFarmette
Sep. 13, 2012, 07:08 PM
I wonder if Buck will ever come to my part of the world. I think he's dreamy.....

Diamondindykin
Sep. 13, 2012, 07:25 PM
Tim McQuay and Shawn Flarida :yes:

mvp
Sep. 13, 2012, 11:31 PM
Love the list, people. Thank you very much.

Also, a friend of mine has a horse who internalizes stress badly. The beast is very hard to read, even by professional horse interpreters. I'd love to see him in Buck Brannaman's hands and have the dude narrate the conversation he was having with this mysterious horse. IME with this horse and some good trainers, the western roper guy did the very best.

Burbank
Sep. 13, 2012, 11:48 PM
Buck Brannaman is good I would love to ride in one of his clinics, Lynn Palm believes is dressage basics for her all around horses, and on a personal note John Rannenberg, an arabian trainer, can make a horse broke

my favorite horse of all was trained and shown by him, she did Western Pleasure but you could show her breed show hunter or dressage all at the same show, she was broke but did not have a depressed personality and was not a deadhead, ask wrong and it did not happen, ask right and it was magic, I learned so much from that mare

appstarz
Sep. 14, 2012, 01:23 AM
Mark Shaffer (100X World Champion). I've loved the clinics of his I have attended! Western Pleasure based. His Mechanics in Motion DVD's and excerises are great. His "professional series" set of DVD's is line-driving, starting training, based.
I wouldn't attend another Lynn Palm clinic.

spotnnotfarm
Sep. 14, 2012, 08:05 AM
I wouldn't attend another Lynn Palm clinic.

Sadly, you are not the first person I have heard this from. :no:

Look up Tom Curtin. He is a lot like Buck but clinics are not as full now! LOL!! www.tomcurtin.net

starrunner
Sep. 14, 2012, 10:42 AM
Sorry to hear. I met Lynn Palm and had lunch/dinner with her at a clinic type thing a week or so ago and I found her very passionate about riders and the physical and emotional well being of the horse.

Macimage
Sep. 14, 2012, 12:10 PM
I wouldn't attend another Lynn Palm clinic.

Care to share why?

Thanks!

Plumcreek
Sep. 14, 2012, 12:52 PM
I have watched and shown with Lynn Palm her whole career. She is extremely knowledgable and talented rider. I respect her emensely for not selling out to win and make money during the AQHA peanut roller HUS era, and moving on to other venues where horses are treated better. But some very talented riders do not have the personable teaching gene.

There are some extremely good trainers in the horse show world, but in thinking about it, they are under such pressure to produce fast results, all the time, that they will not show up on this list. It must be nice to not have to produce winners in tough competition constantly, and be able to clinic. produce media, and expound on horse training lore. Just sayin.

The reiner trainers listed may be the exception, but you know the best names on this list start with 30 horses to get to the one or two you see and drool over in competition. Shane Brown, the local Colo trainer that did the first 60 days on my young Appx horses, is a thinking, dressage oriented reining trainer who is starting to get national notice winning Freestyles and significant competitions. There is no discard pile behind his barn. Him I would watch.

katarine
Sep. 14, 2012, 01:31 PM
Lynn is a talented horse woman, no doubt. But she cannot teach as well as she can ride and train.

mvp
Sep. 14, 2012, 01:47 PM
Lynn is a talented horse woman, no doubt. But she cannot teach as well as she can ride and train.

I watched her give a clinic once at Equine Affaire and chatted with her afterwards. Not the best venue for judging someone's pedagogy.

OTOH, I have a correct-enough and broad-enough base of knowledge that I can sort better from worse and I know when someone has left a gap in their explanation. I saw her do this. Bits were left out even within the limited thing she was trying to show us how to teach a horse (who already more or less knew what she was asking).

I suspect that she *is* one of those talented riders who can get more done than she can explain.... Or her teaching isn't "packaged" in a way that admits how long the training process takes for most ordinary riders.

mvp
Sep. 14, 2012, 01:51 PM
A professional buddy of mine has some clients who have signed up for Mike Bridge's 5 Year Plan. According to his website, you sign up to spend 5 years with him (via visits and e-mail) learning how to make up a horse as the vacqueros did.

My buddy, a born skeptic, isn't impressed with the progress she sees her local ammies making. But! She also says that know one will discuss how Mike works with people over 5 years (besides those 2X yearly visits). Also, the cost seems to be a secret.

Anyone have these answers? I don't mean to turn this into an "out the snake oil horse trainer" guy. And I'll go watch some of his public clinics in the next few weeks to judge for myself (if I know enough about the vacquero system of three bridles).

Fillabeana
Sep. 14, 2012, 02:10 PM
mvp, regarding the horse that internalizes things...yes, absolutely Buck could do wonders with a horse like this. Unfortunately, Buck is pretty swamped in his clinics and it is hard to get enough one-on-one time that a troubled horse really needs lately. Not that it doesn't happen, it does...but it's pretty hard to get into a Buck clinic in the first place lately.

Absolutely go audit! Your brain will be full, for sure.

And I don't want to discourage anybody from going and riding in a Buck clinic if they can get in. The funny thing about a Buck clinic is that he can have a whole arena full of riders from clueless to exceptional, all 'doing the same thing' but everyone really busy and engaged and learning. And there always seems to be time to ride up to Buck and say, HOW does this work, again? We're not getting it. Also, at the end of a clinic session you circle up around in a group, and have that chance to have any of your questions answered in depth. And if you're completely in over your head with a troubled horse, Buck or an assistant of his (often Reata in the summertime) will often take over the horse for some extra help. That's how I met Charles Snell- Buck asked him to come help at the clinic, and I needed some extra help with my (dismal at the time) groundwork. So definitely worth going.

But anyway, for the stress-internalizing horse, I know of nobody better than Harry Whitney. Go to his website, check him out:
http://www.harrywhitney.com/

Harry Whitney doesn't self-promote much. He also doesn't have books or DVDs to sell. However, equestrian journalist Tom Moates has written three books about his own experiences learning 'the deep stuff', as I would put it, from Harry:
http://www.tommoates.com/books.php
Specifically, the books 'A Horse's Thought', 'Between the Reins', and 'Further Along the Trail' are the ones about his experiences with Harry Whitney. The 'Discovering Natural Horsemanship' book is one I don't have, the 'A Horse's Thought' book explains in the first (second?) chapter how Tom figures out that a lot of what he learned and wrote about in his 'NH' book was not right by the horse:
http://www.harrywhitney.com/sg_userfiles/Deconstruction.pdf

Anyway, you get one-on-one time (like a private lesson, but other clinic goers are expected to watch and ask questions) with Harry at his clinics. The clinics are expensive, but they are a total-immersion deal and if you have a troubled horse, said horse is going to get real help directly from Harry.

NoSuchPerson
Sep. 14, 2012, 02:36 PM
Here's a link to a Western Horseman article about Mike Bridges' 5 year program.

http://www.mikebridges.net/html/pdf/vaquero.pdf

mvp
Sep. 14, 2012, 03:13 PM
Here's a link to a Western Horseman article about Mike Bridges' 5 year program.

http://www.mikebridges.net/html/pdf/vaquero.pdf

Thanks very much for making that PDF for me.

Ironically, I'm currently living about 3 hours from Bend with my skeptic-pro buddy up there.

I wonder how much someone needs to know before they do the 5 Year Vaquero thing.

I have an old retired show hunter whom I made up from a straw of cooled semen. He's currently teaching little kids to ride on the Other Coast. I got to go ride him recently and was reminded why I do this. I love the long term relationship with a horse. All the buttons I installed with Old Man are still operative. Yet he can tolerate and teach others, too.

I'd love to do that again with another horse but better and faster next time around.

NoSuchPerson
Sep. 14, 2012, 05:17 PM
I'm quite fascinated with the old style vaquero horsemanship. I would love to have the opportunity to learn how to create a vaquero-style bridle horse. Unfortunately, I don't foresee ever being in a position to do it.

Plumcreek
Sep. 14, 2012, 06:34 PM
*Flame suit zipped*
I grew up 50 years ago in Santa Barbara, Ca when the 'Stock Horse Class' was populated by horsemen who had learned with the 'Olde Style Vaquero' tradition. It was not all that, and the old time photos of horses sliding to a stop on their hind legs with front legs braced up in the air and mouths wide open are accurate to some extent. Spins were rather wild.
Lots of over and under with the romal on the rundown. Lots of scotching also in anticipation of the haul on the mouth to stop, and these were big names in Olde West Coast Traditional Horsemanship. The old guy I first rode with as a kid was the real deal of Spanish Land Grant inheritance and only spade bits. His horses were well trained, soft, and had a decent handle on them, but he was unknown, as he did not even own a truck and trailer to get to a competition.

On my first trip East to Congress in early 70s, the skating stops with softly running front feet and mouths shut, blew me away. Bob Loomis blew me away.

Lots of ways to embelish the process of making a good, responsive horse with smoke and voodoo.

NoSuchPerson
Sep. 14, 2012, 10:05 PM
Why would you need a flame suit? You're simply reporting what you saw, right? You aren't issuing a blanket condemnation of the principles of old style vaquero bridle horse training, are you? I mean, you said that the guy you knew who was "the real deal" had horses that were well trained, soft, and had a decent handle on them.

Just because a bunch of yahoos dominated the show ring for a time doesn't mean the entire discipline is bad. In any discipline you're going to find good and bad and in any discipline that lasts over many decades you're going to see fads come and go and chances are that some of them are going to be ugly.

No flames from me.

Fillabeana
Sep. 14, 2012, 10:54 PM
Just because a bunch of yahoos dominated the show ring for a time doesn't mean the entire discipline is bad.

I think I want this for my signature line!

Go Fish
Sep. 15, 2012, 12:49 AM
[QUOTE=Plumcreek;6559068 Bob Loomis blew me away.

[/QUOTE]

Amazing trainer and horseman.

My Dad got two fabulous reiners by his stallion Topsail Cody out of our King Fritz mare. We were considered rebels at the time because we didn't breed to the more "California" type reiners (stock horses) on the West coast and sent the mare to Nebraska instead. We weren't disappointed.

belleellis
Sep. 15, 2012, 10:00 AM
Tim McQuay and Shawn Flarida :yes:

I got to see both back ages ago. Both were awesome. The lope on their reining horses is/was nicer then the pleasure horses. A nice true, comfortable gait with ears up and relaxed horses.

mvp
Sep. 15, 2012, 11:51 AM
*Flame suit zipped*
I grew up 50 years ago in Santa Barbara, Ca when the 'Stock Horse Class' was populated by horsemen who had learned with the 'Olde Style Vaquero' tradition. It was not all that, and the old time photos of horses sliding to a stop on their hind legs with front legs braced up in the air and mouths wide open are accurate to some extent. Spins were rather wild.
Lots of over and under with the romal on the rundown. Lots of scotching also in anticipation of the haul on the mouth to stop, and these were big names in Olde West Coast Traditional Horsemanship. The old guy I first rode with as a kid was the real deal of Spanish Land Grant inheritance and only spade bits. His horses were well trained, soft, and had a decent handle on them, but he was unknown, as he did not even own a truck and trailer to get to a competition.

On my first trip East to Congress in early 70s, the skating stops with softly running front feet and mouths shut, blew me away. Bob Loomis blew me away.

Lots of ways to embelish the process of making a good, responsive horse with smoke and voodoo.

I'm from very old California stock. While I'd like to think that those vaqueros got it right, I'm not looking for a horse who is doing any job with a gaping mouth.

On the topic of obscure-but-great cowboys. I have known several, including a guy in "Deliverance"-type country in Central NY. I was told never to send a horse to his place as it was run down and horses got hurt there. But by God that guy knew a ton and could teach people to read and change their horses. I felt lucky to have a chance to watch him and ask questions.

That dude taught and felt about teaching the way Mike Bridges described in that article. The folks at the top are very, very happy to pass on what they know. What a pleasure!

Plumcreek
Sep. 15, 2012, 04:40 PM
I think there is a very big difference between training a horse to do a job and training a horse to try and win something in the show pen (not rodeo). The old guy at whose place I was a barn rat, did nothing competative and mostly rode out to check water troughs and bring in the horses from the far pasture, and lead us kids on over night pack trips over the mountains trails to the Santa Ynez valley. If we were lucky, we could ride along on an expedition (with cross buck pack saddles, rawhide paniers, the whole nine yards) down to Safeway and watch his horses, tied to the fence, while he grocery shopped. He used his silver mounted bridles, vaquero saddle, and beautiful spade bits as working tack. I suspect the original Vaqueros did the same on the local ranches.

The guys I watched show in the stock horse classes were not yahoos. Today their names are west coast legend and reining futurities are named after them. But they were trying to win something - right here, right now, and had all the pressures of owners and show schedules. Horse training has come a very long way, and if we had videos of the olden days, would the techniques stand up to the best of the present?

One thing that gripes me about today's trainers is that they have mostly come up from Juniors in their chosen venue. They do not have the cross-training perspective that the old guys did. The old guys, like Jimmy Williams, started out training all types of horses until things got big enough that they could specialize in their later years. Bob Loomis showd saddlebreds before reining. The late, great Western Pleasure trainer, Guy Stoops was a young apprentice at the Spanish Riding School in Austria.

Nike13
Sep. 15, 2012, 06:42 PM
I rode in a Buck clinic last fall and it was amazing. A great horseman and all around nice person...I really learned a lot. We all had a chance to ask questions, and he spent some extra time on the ground with one particular problem horse. I learned a lot just watching that. The mare made decent progress by the end of the weekend, and her owner was able to ride her again. I'm already pinching pennies in order to ride in the next one that comes my way. This time I want to take my 4yr old, not the "problem" horse I took last time. I'm hoping everything I did wrong with him/learned from Buck, will translate into a better trip with the 4yr old. Maybe we'll be ready for Horsemanship II.;)
I rode in a Stacy Westfall clinic 5 yrs ago, and while I admire her greatly and love watching her ride, I didn't feel like I learned much. Perhaps her teaching style and my learning style just didn't mesh. She was incredibly nice and her kids were very sweet. Apparently her horse training skills translate well to parenting. They were very well mannered little boys.:)

baylady7
Sep. 16, 2012, 09:15 AM
Another vote for Buck. What about the Israeli dressage /western dressage rider first name Eitan?

ladyfreckles
Sep. 21, 2012, 12:21 AM
Another vote for Buck. On top of him there's Mark Shaffer--I haven't been to his clinics since they are expensive as sin but I have watched his Mechanics N Motion dvd and it's really, really good. I'd also recommend Shane Dowdy.

Plumcreek
Sep. 21, 2012, 02:41 AM
...... I'd also recommend Shane Dowdy.

Please Google "Shane Dowdy Suspension".

airhorse
Sep. 21, 2012, 09:35 AM
Buck Brannaman, Martin Black.

Just got done riding with Buck in the Chicago clinic, it was another great experience.

ladyfreckles
Sep. 26, 2012, 02:22 PM
Please Google "Shane Dowdy Suspension".

Oddly enough I have done that in the past. Shane's suspension was not recent, it was a long time ago when he was young and stupid and he leaned from it and cleaned up his act (unlike a certain Cleve Wells, a big quick fix guy who just won't learn). I've seen Shane Dowdys horses and know people who are strongly against abuse that swear by him.

I think what we often forget is that education plays a huge role in how we treat out horses. Some people are brought up to believe that ____ is the RIGHT way of doing things and don't ever realize that what they're doing is wrong. Perhaps in severe cases this is inexcusable but a lot of stuff like overusing spurs, harsh bits, being heavy with your hands is due to a lack of education and not actually due to malice. People can learn and change from that. But iirc Shane was suspended for disorderly conduct, not abuse. I may be wrong but it was a long time ago.

Sadly there's little you can do to convince the jerks who think it's okay to bleed out horses or put acid on their feet. :(

PasoPreferido
Oct. 1, 2012, 01:09 AM
Clinton Anderson! Hands down, he has the most clear and effective method for training horses. Parelli uses the same techniques, as do most professionals, but he leaves some mystery up to his training. Clinton, on the other hand, is meat and potatoes. Black and white. He shows you what your goal is. Then how to get there with a horse who has never done it (whatever the goal is) before. Then he tells you/shows you all the horse mistakes and all the rider/handler mistakes and how to correct them. He covers every topic you could ever wonder about too - from starting to finishing a horse, problem horses, trailering, what to do with your foal, clipping, exercises for the trail, gaited horses, the list goes on...If you follow his method you will be a better horseman and build a relationship with your horse based on trust and respect.

Beverley
Oct. 1, 2012, 03:06 PM
Clinton can also demonstrate, among other things, how to absolutely blow a young horse's joints by incorrect longeing. He's on my 'watch how not to do it' list, which of course can also be informative.

painted02
Jan. 7, 2013, 09:54 PM
I attended a Steve Heckaman clinic years ago that was great. He and his then assistant rode nice, broke horses that moved correctly and softly. He worked with various breeds and levels of riders and was very clear in his communication. I still use some of his exercised with great results!

I also attended a Craig Johnson clinic years ago that was fantastic. I had been exposed to him growing up, and he's just such a soft, quiet rider. I may be a western pleasure or all-around rider, but I strive to ride more like him!

I would love to attend a clinic with Jason Martin or Charlie Cole--they are the ultimate all-around trainers.

I also use the Cleve Wells training videos (bought them long before his troubles). They are excellent tools. I have also heard good things about Dana Hokana and Mark Shaffer. I saw Alissa Bernhard showing as a youth and amateur before she went pro, and if I had the money she is THE trainer I'd put my horse with. While her specialty is H/J, she's won plenty of western stuff and her horses move correctly. Love watching her show!

ccoronios
Jan. 18, 2013, 05:35 PM
If I could, I'd "LIKE" this about 100 times!!!


I think there is a very big difference between training a horse to do a job and training a horse to try and win something in the show pen (not rodeo). The old guy at whose place I was a barn rat, did nothing competative and mostly rode out to check water troughs and bring in the horses from the far pasture, and lead us kids on over night pack trips over the mountains trails to the Santa Ynez valley. If we were lucky, we could ride along on an expedition (with cross buck pack saddles, rawhide paniers, the whole nine yards) down to Safeway and watch his horses, tied to the fence, while he grocery shopped. He used his silver mounted bridles, vaquero saddle, and beautiful spade bits as working tack. I suspect the original Vaqueros did the same on the local ranches.

The guys I watched show in the stock horse classes were not yahoos. Today their names are west coast legend and reining futurities are named after them. But they were trying to win something - right here, right now, and had all the pressures of owners and show schedules. Horse training has come a very long way, and if we had videos of the olden days, would the techniques stand up to the best of the present?

One thing that gripes me about today's trainers is that they have mostly come up from Juniors in their chosen venue. They do not have the cross-training perspective that the old guys did. The old guys, like Jimmy Williams, started out training all types of horses until things got big enough that they could specialize in their later years. Bob Loomis showd saddlebreds before reining. The late, great Western Pleasure trainer, Guy Stoops was a young apprentice at the Spanish Riding School in Austria.

saddleup
Jan. 18, 2013, 10:22 PM
Jason and Charlie have an amazing string of world championships. Check out their Western Riding videos on youtube...bridleless, no less. Amazing.