Archive for the ‘Futurity’ Category

Since the audio file of this blog entry was pretty clean, I’m posting it as a .wav file while it gets typed up.  So you can listen in Les’s own words. Just click on the words below and be patient while it gets started. Plus if you scroll down you can get a “blow by blow” from Les as you watch Turbo in his first schooling show.

Early August Blog Entry


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Well, we made the long drive home last night from Reno, Nevada all the way to Arroyo Grande, California where we live. We had a fine time at the Snaffle Bit Futurity there in Reno.

We got to see Boyd Rice win the Futurity, the open division on a horse named Oh Cay N Short, who’s by Oh Cay Quixote and out of a mare called Bit of Shorty. This is a new blood line for us at the Snaffle Bit. This breeding is mostly cutting horse stuff that obviously worked very well at the Snaffle Bit Futurity too.

Lance Johnston was reserve champion on a horse called Shes Full Of Diamonds, and this horse is by Hes A Peptospoonful, and out of a mare called Shining Rings.

What we have here is a little signal – and it is something that I’ve always kind of felt – and that is that we all want the same horse: the cutters, the reiners and the reined cow horse people. I think the reiner’s horses have to be a little more placid but not much. We (reined cowhorse riders) have to have a relaxed horse that will fire on command, and although the cutters can handle a little more heat in the horse’s blood line – I think they are breeding that out cause they have to gallop so darn far with those hot ones, which means more work. Basically what I am saying here, bottom-line, is we all want the same horse.

This horse has a low neck. This horse does one big thing the best: stops, stops, stops, stops and stops. And they stop hard! They’re hock users, they’re really limber and they’re low-necked horses. Futurity horses have to have a lot of stamina and strength too because the Futurity is such a huge endurance test for a three year old. They have to stay sound, have the strength to compete, even when they are tired – which these Futurity horses all are at finals time – or it seems like most of them are anyways. And in our reined cowhorse event, they have to have the speed to run and catch the cattle, and then be able to stop when they get there. So, horses that can run, and are extreme athletes are in high demand for the winner’s circle.

What we are also seeing here is the “wheel turning”. This is my way of describing what I see happening – the political regime, the competitive “who’s who” list, seems to change in cycles, and it will go somewhat in age groups. We see the survivors that stay in the dominant group – that go on agelessly and are as competitive at 60 as they were at 30. But we see these 30-year olds too, young trainers coming up through the ranks with a lot of really, really good horse power bringing them along.  It takes a really good horse to bring a young trainer up, but when they get one or two good horses, they learn how it is supposed to feel. The good athletes just kind of seem to surface and stay there for quite period of time sometimes. Then, there are other ones you see that bloom that have their one day in the sun with a good horse and they don’t seem to stay out there, and they are not as visible as we might like to see them. In other words, they only had one good horse and that horse is what pulled them through. The always seems to be the way it happens – a really good horse pulls the young trainer through. Then the good trainer, or the smart one finds out what really went on, so they can do it again, and they continue and become a force in the industry.

But we have seen at this particular Futurity a lot of the old stand-by trainers, meaning they are not too old but they have been dominant in the industry for a number of years -that weren’t in the finals this year. Not that they can’t come back next year. There was quite a turnover this year. We did see Justin Lawrence and Zane Davis, some new names in finals. There was Jake Telford from Idaho, who has been coming on strong for the last few years anyway, and he did a nice job on some horses. We saw quite a few that were new in the finals and we missed a lot of the old names.

One thing we did see in the finals, and through the whole futurity, was that so much of what I teach as far as the collection: the roundness on top, the softness, the form-to- function theory that we use in Cowhorse U, and that I teach in my clinics – it’s what makes the winners the winners. I feel like going to the Futurity and really watching this year, seriously validified everything that we are doing.

I always want to stay on top of the game. I always want to know whether I am current with trends, and new theories, and ways of doing things. Not so much what the fashion is, but what the style that creates the winner is. What is the form that is creating higher levels of performance? So I saw a lot, and everything that I saw that was really good, I totally agreed on, and totally understood how it happened. It takes a great horse to get to the top of the top in the Futurity horses, or other high performance competition. But, it also takes a trainer or rider that can create the perfect form that allows this great horse to function on a level that lets him win.

So I feel very good and very current as far as all of our thoughts and teachings methods are concerned. There are the five most important things – that are: stop, stop, stop, stop and stop. And it’s in the neck. The speed horses don’t do any good unless they can stop when they get there!

And then we had the Hall of Fame ceremony, which was quite an honor to be involved in. They had us crawl out of a limousine, which I don’t understand why anybody would ever want one. I had to crawl out of the dang thing on my hands and knees. The seats are so long and the roof is so low, you are so cramped up in there. Gosh, I would rather ride in the back of a pick up truck, myself!

Anyways, we had to ride in this limousine, and the red carpet was put out there in front of us. They had the pyrotechnics fireworks. It felt like a PBR bull ride with the firecrackers and all the sparklers going off behind us. They had quite a ceremony and they presented us with these diamond rings that are just gorgeous. Big old gold and diamond rings that say “Hall of Fame” on them. It was a very touching experience and I feel very fortunate to be included in that ceremony with a group of people that I totally respect.

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Well here I am, Reno, Nevada 2007. This makes, I believe year 37 for the Snaffle Bit Futurity – and it’s fun as always. It seems like there are more people and of course, more people you seem to recognize and know from experience in the past. Lots of action as always.


 The temperature’s a little different than past years! As the day has progressed it’s gotten colder and colder. There’s even snow on mountains!  And there are lots of people around here that look like they wish they had another layer of clothes on!  I brought my long overcoat and neckerchief, so I’m pretty happy. Now, for one thing, the cold weather does drive a lot of people inside, which here would mean the retail sales area – which looks really nice to to me this year. There is a higher volume and more people buying than normal.


I hear good reports on the horse sale too, and I have talked to people quite a few people that are telling me they made some pretty good buys this year. Really nice horses going through and they seem to be pretty affordable at least in the yearling age bracket.


I gave my bit and spur lecture like I do every year. I do one usually on Friday, which is today, and then Saturday about noon time. We always have a huge response to it. We make new friends and get to visit with old ones. Lots of people come with lots of bits and spur questions. I get to explain a lot of things that I understand, and I like the opportunity to share with other people. We have an exciting afternoon ahead too.  The sale’s about finished, then we start with the intermediate and limited finals for the rein work and fence work. We had the herd work this morning.


Well that’s my take so far on the Snaffle Bit Futurity. Sure is cold but wonderful. If you want to watch the live action along with me – just click the link on the right! 

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