Archive for the ‘Hall of Fame’ Category

Here are a couple responses to some of the comments made on our blog here. I figured I’d answer them first, then get back to “picking a prospect.”


First, Heather has a question about the Music Mount blood lines, she says certain trainers are pretty high on them; however, my experience with Music Mount has been negative. Personally, the Music Mount’s that I rode, and it was many, many years ago – back in the 60’s and maybe early 70’s – those horses didn’t have much to offer to me. So, personally I guess I’m kind of glad they are gone. I’m sure there were some good ones, but they weren’t in my barn.


The next one is from Al, and he says he’s is reading and seeing about all the great horses and trainers, and wondering where they go? You know that’d be a good book to write and someday I might give it a shot. These questions are about what has to be done to keep the food on the table for a trainer after his career is over? Well, that’s a real good question, and lots of young trainers should address it. Because there’s not a lot of money in the horse training business, so hopefully they’ll invest in land, maybe with a partner or however they can do it.  Something that gives them stabilization economically as they grow older.


What keeps you going through the dry spells, or cold spells, when nothing seems to work out?  Well to me, that’s just a matter of believing in yourself and your program. If you have a fundamental program that really works for you and you know it’s worked for you before, when time gets tough, go to fundamentals and you’ll pull through.


Here’s another question that says, I am looking forward to hearing about blood lines. I know it has a lot to do with how well a horse performs. But I wonder has there ever been a Futurity winner that’s come from mediocre blood line? No, not that I know of, but there have been some winners that were not produced by the most dominant blood line.  As a rule today, your winners are going to be pretty much produced by the most visible, most dominant bloodlines. The bloodlines really do determine a group of elite horses – they really have a huge effect.


Here is one that asks – are you going to post a photo of that diamond ring? Yes, we are going to do right away. The sun’s been out quite a bit here where I live, and the light flickers on it so brightly that is a little too much for my camera. I suspect maybe in the next few days we will have a little cloud cover and we will get a picture to put on the web here.


Next question –  can we spot a great horse or horse’s potential by watching its natural movement out in the field? No, no, no, no and no! I hear people tell me that all the time, I hate to hear these stories, they say, “Oh you should see my yearling, baby colt, it runs across the pasture and he’s a natural lead changer and he slides in the mud at the water tank and he spins around when he’s playing. I’m sure, this horse is going to be a winner.”


This has, in my opinion, very little to do with the future of the horse. You can sometimes tell that one who is standing in a group, may look like he has as a little bit more athletic ability, but it’s certainly would not determine which one I was going to buy. I’d be far more likely to buy one by bloodlines, and some of the other things we have talked about in the last blog.


Here’s another question asking about my trip to Australia. Well, my clinics in Australia, at least the first part of the year, are canceled. The best explanation that I can give is that they have a certain variety of equine influenza that has caused an epidemic down there. All gates are locked really.  The last I understood there were no horses being transported, no horse shows. They were having a horse race somewhere, but only for telecast, no people allowed at the race. They are doing all they can, or were for a period of time, to get rid of this flu bug. That’s the last I heard. It’s a big deal that they canceled all the horse events in Australia and has had huge economic impact on them.


Okay well that’s about it for right now Folks! Thanks for reading!


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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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