Clearwater’s Postscripts

BY DEANNA KRISTENSEN

 FR-Lead-

2013 was a whirlwind of a season for this year’s Futurity Road trainer Dale Clearwater and the team at Justaboutaranch, based out of Hanley, Saskatchewan. In the beginning of the WHR series, Clearwater aimed to have three promising 3-year-old prospects ready for the snaffle bit competitions in the fall. But in mid season the Clearwater team faced a frightening EHV-1 scare at their ranch, which unfortunately sidelined one of his team members from competing. However despite adversity, two of Clearwater’s horses came out on top of the futurity world this season, ultimately making it for one heck of a year for this cow horse outfit.

“Because of circumstances out of our control we were not able to haul our horses and expose them to different surroundings this summer. This was challenging, as I felt the horses were trained, but had to spend a lot more time at the shows just riding them around, letting them settle and get used to their surroundings. They never did totally settle at the shows and I realized that this is an important step to preparing a show horse. I always knew that it was beneficial, but never realized just how important those early outings are for these young horses.”

For next season, this horseman already sees reasons to adapt new techniques into his training program. After all, the best teachers never stop learning.

“As I have said before, I am a firm believer that you never stop learning and have to be willing to try different things. By doing so, I think we better ourselves and in turn can better train these horses. For my 2-year-olds, I feel like I need to brush up on my reined work more for next year. I want them to be a bit more solid. Faster circles, cleaner turn arounds and harder, more freed up stops. I think I can achieve this by getting them out into bigger pens and letting them learn that they can run somewhere and not be afraid after a certain point.”

From their first showing at the Alberta Snaffle Bit Futurity in July, to the Idaho Reined Cow Horse Association (IRCHA) Futurity in October, these horses progressed immensely. In the end it is evident from the scoreboard results, that Clearwater’s futurity duo truly have the capabilities to dominate the show ring competition.

Photo by Barb Glazer

Photo by Barbara Glazer

Ranaldo Pablo, “Rene: 
At the Alberta Snaffle Bit Futurity, in Claresholm, August 30th to September 1st, Clearwater’s futurity horse Rene, made some unfortunate moves and didn’t finish close to winning any money. However, in September the little powerhouse made a giant steps forward in training. At the Saskatchewan Reined Cow Horse (SRCHA) Futurity, he came in reserve place (under Lydia). But the big score was at the Canadian Supreme in Red Deer, where the bay colt rocked the competition and placed first in the aggregate.

What made the difference for this horse? After Claresholm, Clearwater said he came home and really worked hard on his reined work, practicing lead changes and increasing speed in his circles.

“In the herd work, I tried to liven him up and be more alert on a cow as he can tend to be a bit lazy. After Claresholm, I showed him in the SRCHA Futurity in Saskatoon. He was much better, and continued to mature as a show horse and by Red Deer he was dialed in. I think that extra show under his belt really helped him, just figuring out the game and what I was asking of him.”

Sometimes it isn’t always the horses’ fault. For Rene, Clearwater said he has some plain old bad luck at his first show.

“He lost a cow in the herd work, but I don’t totally blame him. He was trying and the cow just pushed over him. So that alone set us behind. In the reined work, he just felt like he was really unsure about everything, like he was thinking more about being in the pen by himself that he was doing the pattern. For the fence work, he went by a little bit and didn’t feel like he was totally in tune with his cow. He felt a little lost all around.

“By Saskatoon I was able to get him into the pen before the show and I think that really helped as he was much more in tune with what was going on and paid more attention to me. He ended up reserve behind Lydia there. Once Red Deer came along, he was very alert and read his cow so much better for both the herd work and fence work. In the rein work, I had time to school him in the reining pen a couple times and he felt like he was totally with me and trying to please me.”

Looking back, hindsight is always 20/20. In a perfect world, Clearwater said he would have liked to have been able to start Rene a bit earlier.

“I firmly believe that shorter consistent works make these young horses more solid in the long run. Ultimately, you deal with what you are given and after a not so successful show, you can’t dwell on in. You have to regroup and come back that much stronger the next time.”

Clearwater sums it up. “He does not shine in one area where he is going to ring the bell on the score board, but staying consistent in all three areas paid off for him in Red Deer.”

Dale Clearwater

Photo by Barbara Glazer

Chics Money Talks, “Lydia”:

Lydia has proven herself this season, as a little horse that could! By the end of October, this filly had claimed a win in Saskatchewan and two substantial reserve titles; in Claresholm and in Idaho. With a little more experience under her wings, Lydia has gone from being a promising filly, to becoming a fierce contender in the cow horse arena.

“As with Rene, the Saskatoon show and hauling a few times between Claresholm and Red Deer really helped Lydia. She is the one that needed the miles more than any of the other horses this year and she notices everything around her. In Saskatoon, she spent some more time in the arena and I think this helped her big time for Red Deer. She was still very “looky” in Red Deer but not as scared.”

What made it all come together? Clearwater explains that in Claresholm, the young mare was really good in the herd work but very ‘looky’ in the rein work.

“Despite that, we managed to hold a run together, and down the fence she just ran like the wind. In Saskatoon, I just worked at getting her shown and relaxed about being in the show pen. She had a good show, winning the futurity class. Then in Red Deer, she started strong, winning the herd work. She had a few little bobbles in the rein work, as can happen with young horses. This cost me when the scores were handed out. Then in the fence work she tripped going into her second turn because of ground conditions and fell right down in her third turn. There is nothing I hold against her for that. She was trying her guts out. Even after tripping, she still nailed her second turn and was in position for the third turn, there was just nothing there to hold her. We watched the video and you can see her scrambling but there was nothing there to give her footing. We were quite disappointed as I think she would have made money had she not fallen down.”

Looking back, Clearwater said Lydia has really good qualities in her reined work, but he would have liked to have seen more consistency in the whole package.

“Because she is such a looky horse, I felt that she was working each of the elements really good but I couldn’t get the whole run put together. More exposure beforehand would have given her more confidence in her surroundings, allowing her to think more about her job and less about what was happening around her.”

Clearwater felt that her herd work always seemed to shine, as she is so quick footed and alert on a cow.

“I think given time she is going to also be really solid all around. If I can get her reined work tweaked up, she is going to be a tough competitor.”

Dale Clearwater

Photo by Barbara Glazer

Northern Kit Kat, “Felix”: 

It was a bad run this season for this futurity competitor. He contracted the EHV-1 virus during the summer and was unable to compete during his futurity year.

Prior to being infected, Clearwater said Felix was right on track to show this fall as a top futurity horse. However, there is always next season.

“He was started early and was on our consistency program and I think that he will pick up where we left off quite easily as long as his body will allow him to do so. I am hopeful that he will be out next year. He is continuing to get stronger. You can still see a bit of weakness when he is running around the field, but he is much better than where we were sitting July 1st. So as long as he continues to make progress we will begin to prepare him.”

At this point, Clearwater said Felix’s health is good and that the young horse is getting stronger.

“He has put weight back on and his coat is shining like a healthy horse should. I plan to begin to start riding him lightly after returning home from Idaho (Idaho Reined Cow Horse Futurity). This will be more rehabilitative than training though. I feel he will benefit from being asked to place his feet and use his body. We will begin with short rides and hopefully help his muscles strengthen and help his overall coronation. This will give us an even better idea when and if we can start training. I don’t want to ask too much too soon though, as we don’t want him to injure himself. So slow and steady will be his program for a while.”

Mane Event Wrap-Up

Trainer’s Challenge champion Kerry Kuhn (center) with Australia’s Paul Clarkson (left) and BC trainer Cayley Wilson.

The first decade of The Mane Event ended on a high note in Chilliwack, British Columbia, on Sunday, October 27th, after three successful days of non-stop activity at Heritage Park. Over 23,000 spectators, participants, attendees and shoppers came through the doors over the weekend.

Everything from the sunny skies, to the incredible clinicians, to our happy exhibitors, and all the spectators who attended, made this a wonderful show to celebrate our 10th anniversary,” said show organizer Gail Barker. “Everyone really enjoyed the little extras at this year’s event, including the door prizes provided by our very generous exhibitors.”

As usual, one of Sunday’s highlights was the Trainer’s Challenge final which ended with Kerry Kuhn of Kansas being named the champion after a count of the final scores revealed that they were extremely close.

Everything can change with this obstacle course, and it really did,” said judge Miles Kingdon. “This has been the toughest judged final session that we’ve ever done.” Judge Mark Grafton agreed, saying, “It was a real fun challenge because all three of those trainers really shone at different points.”

It was really about the horse and I’m just thankful that I didn’t get in his way any more than I did,” said Kuhn, after accepting the championship. “I don’t really want to say that I was competing against these guys, maybe just hanging out with them, learning from them,” he said, referring to Paul Clarkson of Australia and BC trainer Cayley Wilson.

The stands were filled to capacity for the reining and cow work clinics presented by Al Dunning, a major force within the AQHA as a competitor, a judge and as the 1996 Professional Horseman of the Year. “I had a great crowd here at The Mane Event,” he said. “I don’t remember a better crowd than I had here; it was really an educated crowd.”

Dressage clinician Anne Gribbons, who is one of a very small select group of FEI 5* judges, also commented on the knowledgeable audience. “They were very tuned in and they really listened,” she said.

Show jumping Olympic gold medallist and renowned trainer Joe Fargis talked about the focus of his training sessions. “If I had to narrow it down to one thing I would say it is to be clear to the horse about what you want. The horse is a very generous creature, and many of us riders / humans give conflicting signals to them,” he explained. “If every person agreed with just one thing I said over this weekend, and took it home and practiced it, I would be very, very happy.”

A presentation was made to the Barker family, recognizing their efforts over the past ten years, from the conception of The Mane Event as a comprehensive, equine specific educational event to the major horse expo that it is today with events in both Chilliwack and Red Deer, Alberta. “It is hard to believe that an event of this magnitude is put on by only the four members of the Barker family, with a very small core group brought in to help on event weekends,” said media consultant Jan Mansfield. “The Mane Event is so well run and such a great environment that the international clinicians they bring in regularly ask to be invited back, and exhibitors sign up as soon as the weekend is over to ensure they have a place in the trade fair for the next one.”

We are well underway with planning for next year’s events to begin our second decade,” said Gail Barker.

The Canadian Supreme

Expect to see plenty of cowboy hats and spurs right now in Red Deer, as the Canadian Supreme, the largest cutting, reining and working cow horse event in the Pacific Northwest has filled every inch at Westerner Park for a full week of top level competition.

With nearly 500 horses entered, the city of Red Deer gets a big business boost from the participants and fans taking in the exciting action. This fall, the Supreme marks its 30th year in Red Deer.

“It’s our biggest horse event by far,” states Westerner General Manager John Harms. “We’re delighted to have worked with the organizers and watched this show grow over the many years.”

Calgary’s Dave Robson has served as chairman of the Supreme for 30 years of the show’s 37 year history.

“We are really trying to show the elite of the Western horse world,” says Robson. “I think we do that well.”

Photo by Krista Kay

During the show, there are horses competing in both the Prairie Pavilion and the Agri-Centre. The featured Saturday night performance, the Cinch Night at the Supreme, is an ideal way to see a great variety of talented horses and riders in some of the most exciting classes. As well, there is the Western Lifestyle Marketplace, featuring all things equine, along with renowned western artists. It runs from the Thursday through the Saturday of the show. On the Friday night, the stands fill early for the Western Horse Sale, organized by Elaine Speight of Rocky Mountain House. The sale features select horses that range from prospects to competition-ready mounts.

With close to half a million dollars available in cash and prizes, the Supreme is the richest western horse event in Canada. It’s a reputation builder for superstar horses, but an important business event for horse trainers.

“A special treat this year will be an extra bonus for the twelve Canadian Supreme Futurity Class Champions,” said Robson. “They’ll each receive a limited edition framed Paul Van Ginkel giclee art print, valued at $950 along with the trophy buckles.”

Another distinctive feature this Supreme will be additions to the event’s Virtual Hall of Fame.

“We have a category for Founders of the event, and this year we’ll be honoring two of those founders, whom we’ve recently lost – Roger Heintz and John Miller.”

In 2012, the Canadian Supreme decided to open its doors and invite the public to attend free of charge. That proved to be a popular move, and so will be in affect again this year.

The 2013 Canadian Supreme began on Monday and concludes Sunday, October 6th at Red Deer’s Western Park. The exciting Cinch Night of the Supreme, goes 7:00 pm on Saturday, October 5th. The Western Lifestyle Marketplace opens at 10:00 am Thursday October 3rd, and runs through until Saturday night at 9:00 pm. Admission this year is free.

If you’re unable to attend, you can catch the live feed here.

Performance Horse Art

If you’re a regular attendee at Canada’s performance horse pinnacle event, the Canadian Supreme, you’ll already be familiar with the paintings renowned Western artist Paul Van Ginkel was commissioned to paint over the course of three years to depict the three events of the Supreme: cutting (2007), cow horse (2008) and reining (2009).

Each year, the originals were unveiled at the event, and auctioned off to a frenzied bidding crowd.

What you might not know is that each year, the images were also reproduced into a limited edition of 50 giclee art prints. Each print is signed by Paul, measures 30 x 20″, and sells for $950.

This year, buckles will still be the top honor, but accompanying them will be one of these gorgeous limited edition prints. It’s a fantastic way to hang the artwork of one of Canada’s greatest western artists on your wall, and celebrate the passion you have for the performance horse.

Remember, entries to the Canadian Supreme close September 1.

Note: I originally reported the limited edition prints were in lieu of buckles this year, which indeed was the case, but since then the Canadian Supreme has decided to award both buckles and a limited edition print to each of the 12 Canadian Supreme class champions. Savvy decision!

Upcoming ARCHA Alberta Championships

Photo by: Natalie Jackman. photog.have-dog.com

Today’s blog entry is short and sweet. There is an upcoming show at the end of this month in Claresholm, Alberta, hosted by the Alberta Reined Cow Horse Association called the ARCHA Futurity, Derby & Championship Show. I am truly excited about it – and not just because it means the three-year-old cow horses will be coming out for the first time – but also because the ARCHA is a very forward-thinking association when it comes to the promotion of cow horses in Canada.

Plus, did I mention there’s a $10,000 purse up for grabs?

Enjoy the video and hope to see you there!

Will Swales Win Another?

John Swales. Photo by Primo Morales, courtesy of the NRCHA

Growing up around horses, it isn’t surprising that John Swales of Millarville makes his living training working cow horses and riding them, with considerable success, in competition.  The Open Bridle division of the Stampede’s Working Cow Horse Classic presented by Tesla Exploration Ltd. in particular, has seen Swales achieve considerable success.

“I’ve been lucky, I guess,” Swales says of his record of seven wins in twelve tries at the Open Bridle win.  Although he didn’t win Open Bridle last year, Swales did take the Open Hackamore crown.  “I’d never won Hackamore before.  I’d been Reserve Champion a couple of times.  The horse I had last year was really good.”

The 37-year old Swales is part of a strong family equine tradition.  “Dad and Mom trained jumping horses,” he notes, and both his brother Clint and sister Veronica have been strong WCH competitors.

“We have 18 – 20 head in training,” Swales says.  Most working cow horses get shown for the first time as three-year olds.  Four- and five-year olds can be shown either with a snaffle bit or a hackamore.  “Once they turn six, they get put into a bridle,” Swales explains.  When preparing for competition, he says, “They get ridden every day so you know them really well, so you get to know each ones little deals.”

The Stampede’s Working Cow Horse Classic presented by Tesla Exploration Ltd. continues a tradition of skilled horsemanship dating back to the earliest days of working stock from horseback.  Horse-and-rider teams are judged on their authority, discipline and precision in two distinct areas – reined work, or dry work, and cow work, also known as fence work. Reined work, labeled “Western dressage” by some, is based on a predetermined pattern of manoeuvres, including figure-eights, straight runs, sliding stops and 360-degree spins. Cow work, the exciting, action-packed portion of the show, sees the horse-and-rider team first box a steer, then send it at full tilt along the fence, heading it off and turning it both ways, before finally circling it once in each direction in the centre of the arena.

The Stampede’s Working Cow Horse Classic presented by Tesla Exploration Ltd. hosts bridle and hackamore divisions for fully-trained horses and four- and five-year-olds, respectively, with open, non-pro and novice designations for various levels of rider experience. Six championships will go up for grabs — Open Bridle, Open Hackamore, Non-Pro Bridle, Limited Open Bridle, Limited Open Hackamore, and Novice Non-Pro Bridle.

Reined work is a most demanding test for both horse and rider.  “They have to be listening to you one hundred percent for the reined work, versus the cow work where they’re going to do a lot on their own,” Swales points out.  Some animals are better at one aspect than the other, so success can often depend upon choosing the horse that possesses the best balance of talents.

Swales says he watches the other riders who go out before him.  “I don’t know if there’s any benefit to it,” he shrugs.  “Other than you get to see what the cattle are like as a whole – how they’re reacting to the horses.”

The order for competitors in the first Working Cow Horse Classic presented by Tesla Exploration Ltd. round, held on Friday, July 12th beginning at 11am in the Big Top, is established by a draw.  Points earned on the first day establish the order on Day 2 – which begins at 11am in the Big Top on Sunday, July 14th – with the highest-ranked riders and mounts coming out late.

Although everybody wants to start later on Sunday because it means they have a strong points standing, Swales observes that there can be a handicap that comes with it.  “A lot of times, the wilder cattle go to the back of the pen, so they come out last.”

Although he’s had a lot of success in the Working Cow Horse Classic presented by Tesla Exploration Ltd., winning in front of your hometown friends and family never gets old.  “It’s kind of cool,” he admits.  “It’s the Calgary Stampede.  Everybody kind of gears up for it.”

Future Stars 2013

Pic by Natalie Jackman. Have Dog Productions

This past weekend in Claresholm, Alberta, featured the 5th rendition of the Cowtown Derby. Obviously the best cow horses in the country come to contend at this spectacular event and the best cowboys and cowgirls try their luck at obtaining one of the show’s fine offering of buckles and prizes.

But for me, this year my heart was completely taken by a different kind of class. Don’t get me wrong – I love watching my husband compete. And trying my own hand in one of the non-pro classes is a favorite pastime as well.

However, this weekend the Future Stars class was my biggest highlight. It’s a class designed to get kids into the show pen at young ages. I’ve watched it since we first starting competing at Cowtown Derby – it’s adorable. Entrants must perform a very modified pattern consisting of two circles and two spins in each direction. They can ride on their own. Or they can ride their own horses while mom or dad leads. Or they can sit in front of mom or dad.

Here, Ronnie Swales and her young son show us how to get it done!

Pic by Natalie Jackman. Have Dog Productions

My hubby and I had not planned to enter our children in this class but since they were with us, at the very last minute we opted in. With 20 minutes to prepare and at the age of two, our children were entered into their first horse show on the weekend. But since they’re still too little to ride on their own just yet, Dad gave them a bit of help:

Pic by Natalie Jackman. Have Dog Productions

As you can see, our son was not a big fan of the spin maneuver…

Pic by Natalie Jackman. Have Dog Productions

Our daughter on the other hand, loved every second of it…

Pic by Natalie Jackman. Have Dog Productions

Pic by Natalie Jackman. Have Dog Productions

“WHOA! What just happened Dad??” Pic by Natalie Jackman. Have Dog Productions

I was the crazy parent in the crowd screaming loudly for my family. But apparently I wasn’t the only person affected by the whole experience of having horse show children this weekend.

Pic by Natalie Jackman. Have Dog Productions

Our friend and a fellow professional trainer, Cody McArthur of Turner Valley, Alberta, had this to say:

“Interestingly, my biggest take home from the Cowtown Derby has nothing to do with horses. With all those little kids there this past weekend, it amazed me how they are all being raised just a little bit differently than one another. They all have their own little set of rights and wrongs. They all have their own little perceptions. They all have their own little context window that they perceive their own life through.

So very interesting how we all grow up much the same… but different.”

Here Cody helps his three-year-son along in the class:

Pic by Natalie Jackman. Have Dog Productions

The look on young McArthur’s face is priceless. Pure joy. And it goes without saying that his buckle is fabulous…

Going through the pictures (which were fantastically snapped by Natalie Jackman) after the event was pure bliss for me too. Although, the final photo of all the children in their award shot was accompanied by a moment of complete hysteria. Following their patterns, all of the kids were awarded with a prize bag and asked to smile for the camera.

That worked well for child #1, #2 and #3.

My two were more much more concerned with important business. Their goodies…

Pic by Natalie Jackman. Have Dog Productions

Back On Track Vegas Stars

There’s a Canadian company making waves in Las Vegas right now. Back On Track has become the first Canadian corporate sponsor of the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA). Currently, president and CEO of the Back On Track Canadian division, David Bergendahl and VP of Sales and Marketing, Tobi Mcleod, are at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center to take in the NRCHA Stakes show, held March 26-30 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I’m a cow horse guy myself,” says Bergendahl. “So we really like to support the discipline of cow horse in Canada through the Alberta Reined Cow Horse Association and we’ll continue to do that. However, we wanted to grow the Back On Track support even more, so we decided to become a corporate sponsor with the NRHCA.”

Bergendahl first learned of BoT – which maintains its head office in Uppsala, Sweden – when he returned back to Sweeden (his home country), after a long stay in Canada.

“I thought BoT products were pretty neat. And I had previously contended in reining events. But when I was drawn to cow horse while still in Sweden. So I got in touch with the Swales family and when I returned to Canada, I became involved in cow horse.”

Back On Track (BoT) products are really strong in the English, trotting and race worlds, as riders are seeing the benefits the company’s products offer to both riders and animals alike. The corporation additionally has show jumper, Ian Millar on board as a company spokesperson. However, the product is still gaining momentum with western folk and riders in the south are just starting to recognize the advantages of BoT’s products.

Credit: Primo Morales Photography. Photo courtesy of Back On Track.

Recently, 2 Million Dollar NRCHA rider Todd Crawford also started singing BoT’s praises:

Back On Track’s joint and muscle support products are made of a unique wellness textile. The textile is a synergy of ancient Chinese experience and modern scientific textile technology. During the manufacturing of polyester-or polyester fibres, the ceramic particles are fused into the fibres. The ceramic particles have a strong reflective property, which when worn against the body works to help stimulate circulation through far infrared radiation.

It is well established and documented that long wave infrared radiation increases blood circulation. This helps to prevent injury, manage chronic pain symptoms, and speed up the recovery process. All are invaluable in helping you and your animals live a comfortable, active lifestyle.

BoT has supplied the NRCHA Stakes with an all-product sponsorship. In 2013, the company will sponsor five major NRCHA events and affiliates can contact the association directly for products at a discounted price.

For more information about Back On Track, check out:  www.backontrack.com/ca

Tales of Tough Terrain Editorial

It’s Out! The January / February issue of Western Horse Review is in the mail and this one is not to be missed. Seriously. With features on western weddings, equine careers and schools, wild horses, plus much, much more – this edition is visually stunning and a heck of a way to ring in the new year. A year, I should mention, that marks the 20th anniversary of WHR. Which means that you can you count on the WHR team to bring you a year’s worth of epic issues and page, after page, of literary spellbinders.

And I’m happy to announce that I have a special piece in this issue featuring Cowboy Challenge superstar, Jim Anderson of Strathmore, Alberta. Training and health editorial have always been somewhat of a passion of mine, so I was delighted when I got the chance to go on a “ride-along” with Anderson for this article.

“Jimmy” of course, was aboard his World Champion Cowboy Challenge mount “Patch.”

Unlike myself, who followed the pair into a steep coulee aboard an orange steed named, “Kubota.”

In this editorial, Anderson shares his best training tips for cowboy challenge competition. And I was lucky enough to capture it all while watching him and Patch do things like this:

And this:

And if I remember correctly, it was at this point that my trusty steed… bucked.

Low and behold, my blackberry fell right out of my pocket. Never to be seen again. <sad face> I was probably lucky to hang on to my camera.

Even still, it was a good day. And

I’m happy with how the article turned out. Here’s a little teaser to lead into Secrets of an Xtreme Cowboy

****

FROM REININGS TO COWBOY CHALLENGES

Anderson began trying his hand at cowboy challenges in 2011, and Patch has even less time in this particular arena. The eight-year-old mare, registered as Picasmokinlittlelena, sustained an injury early on in life, preventing her from being shown as a reining futurity prospect. Patch went on to foal “Hesa Shotgun Wedding”, but as his name indicates, the colt was not a planned incident.

After the colt was weaned, Anderson began training Patch for reining but discovered early in 2012 that she had a real knack for extreme cowboy challenges.

“She’s a really good-minded mare and she’s really confident in anything she does, so it was a good fit,” he says.

The trainer relays that a good cowboy challenge horse is one with a kind disposition and a lot of confidence in their rider.

“The ones that will try going over a steep hill or through water without knowing how deep it is, or whatever – if they will try for you even when they don’t know what’s coming up, those are the horses that are ideal for cowboy challenges. By nature, Patch has a lot of confidence in me and she tried everything I threw at her, so I knew she would be good at the event.”

With a shelf full of NRHA bronzes and trophy buckles and a list of credentials that requires several clicks of a computer mouse to scroll down, one may wonder why Anderson ever began to pursue the discipline of cowboy challenges in the first place.

“At many of the reining and horsemanship clinics I teach, I saw a lot of people having trouble with obstacles and communicating with their horses through this type of stuff. Sometimes it was as simple as a rider merely wanting to be able to ride from the barn to the arena, or go for a trail ride. Those are the little things that are actually big things,” the trainer states.

Anderson explains that realistically, there are many arena-ridden horses who find their nemesis packing their riders over little hills or down the trail on short rides, because they aren’t exposed to that type of scenario very often.

“So I started helping them get through those kinds of obstacles and teaching their horses how to learn, in addition to helping the horses have confidence and trust in their riders. From that, I realized there was a real demand for this stuff.

“Plus”, he grins, “It’s fun.”

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Be sure to pick up the January / February issue of WHR! And for more on Jimmy’s credentials and whirlwind 2012, check out: World Champion Next Door