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Best Western trainers to watch?

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  • #41
    Originally posted by ladyfreckles View Post
    ...... I'd also recommend Shane Dowdy.
    Please Google "Shane Dowdy Suspension".
    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


    • #42
      Buck Brannaman, Martin Black.

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


      • #43
        Originally posted by Plumcreek View Post
        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.
        Last edited by ladyfreckles; Sep. 26, 2012, 05:59 PM.


        • #44
          Clinton Anderson

          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.


          • #45
            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.


            • #46
              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!


              • #47
                If I could, I'd "LIKE" this about 100 times!!!

                Originally posted by Plumcreek View Post
                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.
                Equine Photography in the Northeast


                • #48
                  Jason and Charlie have an amazing string of world championships. Check out their Western Riding videos on youtube...bridleless, no less. Amazing.


                  • #49
                    Easy pick, he is my husband but would pick him no matter. Scott Weis. His cutting horses are tied to a cow and not mechanical robots! He has a special bond with each horse. Amazing!


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by mvp View Post
                      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-startingBa 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.

                      Based on the criteria of yours I put in bold, the first person that comes to mind would be Buck Brannaman. There are others.
                      Keep in mind the context of a form. Bucks form/style is a kind of western particular to the western states, California, Oregon Nevada, Idahol. buckaroo,(vaquero) real working ranch and roping stock horses. It isn't based on a competition, but pays respect to the California Spanish system in tack attire and tradition and manner of working. Not to mention, the real deal when it come to a working horse.
                      He doesn't pretend dressage, but it's obvious to me he is interested in a horse working in what others would call, bio mechanically sound.

                      I've heard from some European jumper folk who are interested in "natural horsemanship". The problem is they cannot differentiate between Pat Parelli, Monty Roberts or Clinton Anderson,etc.. They think its all the same, and interchangeable. I find myself at a loss as how to explain the difference between Monty Roberts, and Ray Hunt, for instance.

                      The best I can come up with, in what is different from Buck, Joe Wolters, Brian Nuebert, a few others, and Clinton or Pat, is "feel". Many techniques will look similar, but the presentation is different, and an important difference as far as I am concerned. The emphasis is not just on an action or technique, but in your presentation. What you subject the horse to, versus what you present to the horse.
                      I could go on.....


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post
                        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.
                        Check out Carson James. He has lots of videos and makes things very simple for even beginners to understand.

                        Edited to add: I really like Mark Rashid too.


                        • #52
                          Can't believe Chris Cox hasn't been mentioned.
                          Many, many years of watching 'trainers' and the really talented ones don't always float to the top but IMO Chris is there.
                          If you had the pleasure of learning from Ray Hunt there is a special connection, a feel, a respect he had with a horse and you see that with Chris. Sadly many of the people mentioned here lack that and I have been so disappointed in their inflated ego's that I've left clinics after the first day of auditing.