Try a Bit Before You Buy It!

There’s no question – top riders across the globe favour Tom Balding’s handcrafted bits and spurs. With Balding’s meticulous attention to detail, knowledge of the horse and high quality materials used to create his bits and spurs, it’s no wonder Balding’s company is a leader in the field. Fans include the National Reining Horse Association $5 Million Rider Andrea Fappani, National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Famer Phil Rapp, and National Reined Cow Horse Association Million-Dollar Rider Zane Davis, to name a few.

If you’ve ever considered purchasing a high quality bit, Tom Balding Bits & Spurs offers a wide variety of custom bit combinations. No matter what you are looking to attain from your horse’s performance, there’s a bit that will offer customized assistance. Tom Balding Bits & Spurs knows a high quality bit purchase requires the best educated decision possible; as it is an investment that will often last a lifetime. Which is why the company created the Trial Bit Service, offered to those who would like to try a mouthpiece before purchasing – to ensure they are comfortable with the function in relation to their riding style.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Within the Trial Bit Service, clients are welcome to try up to three bits for two weeks. Additionally, the company tries to offer most combinations; however, because of the large number of possible combinations, clients may have to try a bit with a similar shank to the one requested. The only out of pocket expense you may incur are the shipping costs. For more information about this unique service, check out the Trial Bit website page here.

There are also multiple resources on the Tom Balding Bits & Spurs website available to help you select a mouthpiece and shank combination you might like to try. They include:

•  The Tom Balding blog.
•  The online catalog.
• The bit creator.
Sample buy-it-now-options.
Endorsements.

 

When you are ready to request your trial bits give Tom Balding Bits & Spurs a call or message them with the desired mouthpiece and shank combinations. They look forward to getting you into the right bit for you and your horse. Request your trial bits today!

Give Tom Balding Bits & Spurs a call at 307.672.8459 or visit them online at: www.tombalding.com

 

EQUI-BUSINESS – True Life Stories of Success

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

Last month on the Equi-Business blog, we talked about obtaining financial lending in pursuit of an equine property goal. We began with the reality that the equine business is a challenging industry for traditional banks to provide financial support. For young people with the goal of creating a business in the horse industry, the lifestyle can be one filled with many rewards. Equine industries are also a good way of making a piece of land pay for itself – but none of it comes without proper planning, hard work and often, sacrifice.

Last year WHR spoke with some couples in the horse industry who faced the daunting task of obtaining financial support for a farm or ranch, to help elevate their horse businesses to the next level. Each faced their own hurdles as they went through the process.

Austin and Sara Seelhof and family.

Austin and Sara Seelhof run a successful reining horse training facility in Bottrel, Alberta. Austin focuses on training, showing and selling futurity and derby horses, and has a successful coaching program for non-professional riders. His wife, Sara, owns Be Better Equine Therapy which specializes in therapeutic thermal imaging for equine athletes. They are also the proud parents to three young children. Originally, Austin ran his burgeoning training business out of Lauder Ranch near Cochrane, AB, but the Seelhofs recognized the need to invest in more equity while growing their business and investing in their future.

In March 2017, the couple purchased a 50-acre property in Bottrel, Alberta that includes a house, a 110 x 220 arena, an existing barn and a shop. The property fit many of their requirements, including a wonderful school for their children nearby.

Austin says that when they began to think about properties he had originally wanted to buy land and build on it. They went through Farm Credit Canada (FCC), with the help of a great mortgage broker. However, the FCC was leery about financing a property that would need to be built upon and the Seelhof’s wouldn’t have been able to come up with a big enough down payment. The acreage they decided on was much easier to receive financing for through the FCC.

The FCC also had a “Young Farmers Loan” program at the time that liked to assist agriculturists under 40 in keeping their family in agriculture. The Seelhof’s had a solid business plan that showed steady growth in the last six years, as well as a side business in compressed hay that could be run from the property. The couple did look at other banks who offered good interest rates, but Austin says, “We chose Farm Credit because of their flexibility. You can stall payments, and we really felt like we were a person with them, not a number. They have different programs available so if you are having trouble paying, or you break your leg or something, they can be flexible and add payments on to the end if need be.”

Another added bonus of using FCC was that the lending institution would value the entire property, while many banks won’t value outbuildings in their property assessment. For the Seelhofs, this meant that their barn and arena wouldn’t be included in their loan – not ideal for a family who makes a living training horses.

Austin says, “One thing I wish I would’ve done sooner was to talk to a banker. My dad always said that you need a relationship with a banker, or an accountant or mortgage broker. At first it was really scary, but it was helpful to have a great mortgage broker to guide us.”

Alex Alves works a horse in the roundpen.

Alex and Sonja Alves operate Hat Creek Performance Horses on the Hat Creek Ranch in Wheatland County, 30 minutes east of Strathmore, Alberta. They offer horse training from colt starting to finishing, with access to cattle, pasture, trails and obstacles. As well as lessons, cowboy challenge and flag practice nights, Hat Creek also takes in horses for resale, all the while slowly building a breeding program on strong bloodlines. The Alves ranch has 80 acres of which 50 are hay crop and 30 are pasture. The Alves’ purchased the property on August 31, 2012 after the previous owners had moved six years prior. The property had a calving barn that was too low for horses, a complete corral system to run cattle, a shop, a craft shop that had been used to make saddles and an outdoor arena that had become overgrown. Despite small modifications, the Alves’ felt the property had potential and Hat Creek was ready for them to bring horses in immediately. It needed few upgrades for cattle. Another bonus was that, at the time, Alex was working towards getting his welding journeyman and B-Pressure and the shop was perfect for his set-up.

Alex and Sonja have three children. Alex grew up in the horse industry and immersed himself in various events. It was always a dream of his to be able to make a living training horses, however it didn’t always seem feasible which is why he became a welder as well.

By the end of 2015 they had built an indoor arena on their property and by 2016 they training was their full time profession.

The main building at Hat Creek Ranch (owned by Alex and Sonja Alves).

The Alves’ did hit some snags when attempting to purchase their property. Due to Hat Creek being 80 acres and set up mainly for cattle, agricultural lenders considered it a hobby farm. Other lenders saw it as an acreage and therefore, agricultural. So, as Sonja states, “It completely fell through the cracks of the lending world. Being that we were 25 and under at the time, lenders had no interest in lending us money. The next catch was that we had to have 20% down.”

Alex and Sonja had to put together a business plan, and present it to the Agricultural Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) who offered a great interest rate of 1.86%. In order to acquire financing, the plan had to show that it was possible to generate at least $15,000 in revenue off the property so that they could be considered agricultural.

“At the time we only had about 10% to put down, so we got a loan through my parents so we could have the down payment and purchase the property. We honestly had to find a back road to be able to purchase the property. We spent at least a month-and-a-half trying to find a way to get financed. It was a nightmare.” For the Alves’, Sonja says that there is a lot of advice for young couples, and some of it seems to be repetitive in nature.

“For us, I think it is important to remember that if you wanted it bad enough there will be a way, no matter how many doors get shut right in your face, there will be a back road open. At the end of the day, success can only be achieved one way and that is through hard work. Alex says it so well, ‘You never fail, it just gives you another chance to succeed.’”

When Equi-Business returns, we’ll start discussing the important and elements of a business plan. ’Til next time!

7th Annual SK Equine Expo

The 7th Annual Saskatchewan Equine Expo takes place February 15-18, 2018 at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, SK. Together volunteers from Saskatchewan Horse Federation, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, various equine breed groups and the staff of Prairieland Park work together to facilitate this annual event. The event presents equine related lectures, presentations, demonstrations, entertainment and opportunities focusing on the equine industry. As a participant or spectator, you can experience the newest in equine products, techniques and technology!

Tickets are on sale now and include the extravaganza, tradeshow, demonstrations and clinics. Tickets are available online and on the website: http://saskatchewanequineexpo.com/

Stay up to date with the schedule of events at: http://www.saskatchewanequineexpo.ca/events/

 

Realizing there was a need within the Saskatchewan horse industry for a quality event that showcased the newest technological advances, the latest developments in equine health, and a demonstration of horsemanship excellence, organizers created an event that is equally as entertaining as it is educational.

The Saskatchewan Equine Expo on February 15-18, will again celebrate the diversity of the equine industry with live demonstrations, breeds on display and outstanding horsemen and women. Make plans to be there, get your tickets today!

As an addendum to the event this year is the newly added, Off Track Thoroughbred Challenge. In this highly anticipated event, qualified trainers purchase a retired Thoroughbred racehorse and will spend six months to one year retraining it to compete in a variety of chosen disciplines at the 2019 Saskatchewan Equine Expo.

See you there!

www.saskatchewanequineexpo.com

Mane Event Red Deer, Post Coverage

 

BY ESTEBAN ADROGUE

That’s a wrap, folks! Western Horse Review Magazine had the pleasure of attending the 11th annual Mane Event Expo held at Westerner Park, in Red Deer from April 21-23, 2017. This year’s event hosted amazing clinicians and speakers who presented a great variety of disciplines and topics; from barrel racing and ranch roping, to dressage and jumping, to driving the horse and tack fitting. Plus, the well anticipated “Trainers Challenge”. But what would be an expo without the shopping? The Trade Show, as expected, didn’t disappoint. With an array of options for everyone, from jewelry made from your horse’s hair, to saddles and farrier equipment.


Highlights of the expo included presentations by Van Hargis and Peter Gray (over 35 years of experience in the show arena and Bronze medalist at the Pan Am Games in Eventing, respectively) who filled both arenas with thrilled spectators. There was also the “Live Like Ty” booth, which commemorated the loss of champion and an exceptional individual – both on and off the arena – Ty Pozzobon. Looking to raise awareness, protect and support the health and well-being of rodeo competitors and hosted by the Ty Pozzobon Foundation, a presentation on Liberty Training was conducted by Kalley Krickeberg. During this time, Krickeberg taught the audience how to build awareness and educate the horse’s instincts, in addition to presenting other interesting topics.

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The always anticipated Trainers Challenge consists of a three-day event and this year’s competitors Glenn Stewart, Martin Black, and Shamus Haws went head-to-head, putting their skills and knowledge to the test. Each trainer relayed their methods to the audience while handling unbroke horses provided by Ace of Clubs Quarter Horses. In a progression that usually takes between 30-60 days, these amazing trainers managed to achieve it in just as little as 96hrs! After Sunday’s final session, Martin Black was named the champion of the 2017 Trainers Challenge.


On Sunday afternoon, Western Horse Review had a wonderful visit from the Calgary Stampede Royalty. Queen Meagan Peters, Princess Brittany Lloyd, and Princess Lizzie Ryman helped us draw names for our give-aways for the expo and delivered Western Horse Review goodie bags, plus had pictures taken with the public.

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After the conclusion of the Trainers Challenge, people gathered their belongings and shopping articles, loaded their horses into trailers and this year’s Red Deer, AB, Mane Event came to a closing. We hope to see y’all at the next Mane Event, which will be held in London, Ontario from May 12-14, 2017!

Colt Starting for A Great Cause

The Okotoks Agricultural Society will play host to a special event this Sunday, March 19, as a one-day colt starting demonstration will be conducted by Alex Alves (Bassano, AB) and Nick Baer (Olds, AB) – all in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.

All proceeds generated from the event will be donated directly to the hospital. This includes ticket sales, donations and any other funds raised.

 

“This is something we have been planning for quite some time and are very excited to finally announce the details!” says Sonja Alves, one of the main coordinators of the day. The doors will open at 10 am with the first demo starting at 10:30. March 19 will be an excellent opportunity to come and watch two horse trainers demonstrate their techniques and support a great cause.

Farrier Chad Lausen will also conduct a horseshoeing demo, while JR’s Hat will be offering hat cleanings or re-shapings for a donation to the cause!

Alex Alves at the Saskatchewan Agribition, Trainer’s Challenge.

 

 

Alex Alves operates Hat Creek Performance Horses near the town of Bassano, Alberta. Growing up in the horse industry allowed Alves to develop as a horseman through the many disciplines he either competed or worked in, ranging from hunter jumpers, to western and English pleasure, track and polo horses, and rope horses. Every discipline taught him something valuable. Along with every horse. Today, Alves starts young horses on the right track for any discipline and finishes them to a focus in roping, cutting, or cow horse.

Nick Baer operates Running Bar N Horsemanship and is currently a student at Olds College, studying for his advanced farrier sciences. Baer began learning at a young age about how to start his own horses and has dedicated himself to better horsemanship. Learning his techniques from horseman Doug Mills and Bob Kaufmann he began furthering himself. His dedication has shown at competitions at the Daines Ranch and Rocking Heart Ranch. Baer himself has spent many hours in the Alberta Children’s Hospital as he was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at a very early age. He lives every day with a insulin pump and is excited to have a chance to give back.

Chad Lausen is a graduate of the Olds College Advanced Farrier Sciences program and operates his business out of Strathmore, AB, currently. Lausen has earned the reputation as being extremely hard-working, with a dedication to the horse. He likes to continuously improve his skill set. Lausen also consistently represents Alberta and Canada on the world stage at farrier and blacksmith competitions across North America, as a past team member of the Western Canadian Farriers team and as an individual. This year Lausen will once again represent Alberta at the World Championships of Blacksmithing in Madison, Wisconsin.

The use of two fillies have graciously been donated for the day by Rocking Heart Ranch.

 

Doors will open at 10am with the first demo starting at 10:30. Minimum donations/admission of $10 will be collected at the door.

 

Contact Alex Alves at 1-403-909-5664 for more information.

Arizona Riding

Experience Horse Country

Diverging into Arizona horse country, is like discovering a decadent dinner buffet. Whatever your flavor or interest, there is an event, barn or picturesque part of the state that will feed what ever you’re craving.

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From reiners to ropers- it doesn’t matter what type of riding you are into, Arizona is a melting pot of all types of industry professionals. While you are putting together your travel itinerary, be sure to investigate where all the top trainers and horses are and check out their programs. Getting in touch with the horse industry is well worth your time. There is nothing like partaking in an afternoon with some of the industry’s best professionals!

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Taking a day to walk through a stallion station or prospect barn in the southwest, may give you some new options to check out. Having an eye on trending bloodlines in the horse game, will make or break you in many walks of the performance world. Whether you are investigating a junior stud or a proven producer, Arizona is home to an array of pedigrees options. Go tantalize your imagination and check them out in the flesh.

If you are in the market for a new prospect, the horse market in Arizona has you covered. Take a look online and see who is hosting sales this year. Maybe your next champion is in an Arizona stable.

Looking through the equine events in the Scottsdale area throughout the winter, is overwhelming.The state’s major exhibitions can put tens of thousands of horses and competitors into their shows, throughout the season.

Find all of this and more, including a feature on cowboy town Cave Creek, in our January/February Arizona special feature for snowbirds riding in Arizona. It’s not too late to subscribe and get an issue for yourself. BONUS – subscribe now and receive a free Equine Photography coffee table bookazine. Keep it for yourself or check one more gift given on your Christmas list. http://www.westernhorsereview.com/one-year-subscription-plus-equine-photography-special-edition/

Out West – Hawaii Experience

A collection of rustic ranch getaways to whet your appetite for the West while satisfying your need for the sun.

Getaways-3

The Hawaiian Islands are opulence in form. When we think Maui or Kauai, images of hula skirts and leis fashioned from delicate orchids are conjured, with lush green landscapes and rumbling volcanoes. With eight islands making up the state, the geography is as varied as the opportunities for adventure.

Travelers often visit Hawaii for the obvious reasons: the intoxicating culture, the endless ocean, the late night open-air pig roasts, the stunning and flawless white sand beaches. But it is a well-educated visitor who is aware of the long-held history of ranching and horses in Hawaii. It is a fact that it and is home to the well-known ‘paniolo’, the Hawaiian cowboy, and also Parker Ranch, standing at one time as one of the world’s largest privately owned cattle ranches, spanning over 150,000 acres.

Through the prolific working cattle ranch has now evolved from a privately owned operation into a charitable trust after the death of Richard Smart, a sixth generation Parker Ranch descendant, cowboy culture has not lost importance to the Hawaiian people. Next time you visit the Islands, be sure to fill your bucket list with an array of colourful, enriching experiences that will leave your heart calling, “Holo, holo, paniolo!”

Puakea Ranch 

Far from the crowds of the overdone resorts yet just minutes to excellent local restaurants, world-class beaches, waterfalls and rainforests lies an exclusive slice of paradise. With just four private vacation homes set upon vast and colorful acres of land, you are taken to a place where time slows down and few people are ever seen. Each authentic plantation era bungalow offers you complete privacy surrounded by sweeping ocean and mountain views. Unpretentious luxuries, attention to simple details and 5 star personal service is what sets The Puakea Ranch apart and makes it so special.

Their historic bungalows are stocked with everything you need to enjoy your home away from home. Think of The Ranch as your very own country estate with high speed Wi-fi and panoramic ocean vistas. Puakea Ranch is proud to offer an organic on-site garden, a cackling bunch of egg-laying hens, sustainable energy power and noticeable water conservation practices in impeccably restored homes.

Your hosts are always available to assist you during your stay. A personal concierge, kitchen provisioning, unique tropical flower arrangements, horseback riding, guided hikes and water sports can all be pre-arranged as part of your stay with us. Personal chef service, childcare, massage and acupuncture treatments can all be had in the privacy of your ranch home. Every detail of your vacation can be looked after, or you can plan for nothing at all except total relaxation. Formal check-in is not required. No matter what time you arrive, your home will be unlocked, lit up and ready to enjoy to the fullest.

Puakea Ranch will delight and indulge you with unsurpassed charm wrapped in comfortable, eco-minded luxury.

Paniolo Adventures

The Ponoholo Ranch on Kohala Mountain is one of the most beautiful ranches on the Big Island. This 11,000 acre cattle ranch covering three climate zones stretches from the rain forest at 4,800 feet to the ocean. It has the second largest herd of cattle on the island, 6,000 to 8,000, after the Parker Ranch. The ranch is operated in a environmentally sensitive manner through intensive rotational grazing which maximizes nutritional opportunity for the cattle thereby reducing damage to the land through erosion and overgrazing. The cattle raised on the Ponoholo Ranch are sent to the mainland in livestock ships after they are weaned from their mothers. They are then trucked to pasture or to feed lots primarily in Texas.

In conjunction with the daily ranch operations, the owners of Ponoholo Ranch also operate Paniolo Adventures. The premier open range riding operation on the Big Island, guests have the opportunity to experience the life of the Paniolo in the old days of the North Kohala ranch country.

The ranch offers awe inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean, the Kohala and Kona coastline and the Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Hualalai volcanoes on the Big Island and the Haleakala volcano on Maui.

Choose from one of six ride options to get out and see Hawaii that you haven’t seen before.

Dahana Ranch

Looking for a more immersive equestrian experience on your travels? Dahana Ranch is your place, an operation that spreads out as far as the senses can go. This ranch is the only native Hawaiian, family owned and operated activities ranch on the Big Island and possibly, in the entire state of Hawaii. Formally known as Nakoa Ranch it started as a native Hawaiian award in 1951 by William Pa’akalua Kalawaia’nui, father of the current owner, third generation Hawaiian cowboy Harry Nakoa.

Now, over 60 years later, the ranch is a comprehensive training operation. Guests can choose from horsemanship camps or colt starting camps. They are available in 14, 30, 60, and 90-day terms, and include the airport transfer, accommodations, rodeo and competition attendance, cattle work and sight seeing opportunity. Nakoa covers basic skills to more advances techniques, from ground work to roping.

The trainer assures all of his students who have accomplished 30-60 days that his methods will forever change your life, your attitude and approach to working horses. If you are looking for something more leisurely, tour their broodmare band or visit their bucking bull stock. Book a ‘Paniolo Party’ where you can choose from such experiences as a western photo shoot, equine vaulting, pony express race or mechanical bull – just to name a few. If you will decide on the ‘Roughridander Getaway’ there is no television and no computers – only the cowboy cottage to enjoy, while being treated to lessons, ranch rides, cattle drives and cowboy mai tais at sunset.

At Dahana Ranch, you are sure to be entertained, educated and leave with memories of two of the earth’s most active volcanos and the emerald green slopes of Mauna Kea, in the heart of Hawaii’s cowboy country, Waimea.

Silver Falls Ranch

Silver Falls Ranch is Kauai horseback riding at its best. Near Kilauea Town and the wildlife refuge on Kauai’s beautiful north shore, Silver Falls Ranch lies adjacent to the Kamookoa Ridge, a lush inland valley blessed with natural waterways and a beauty unique to this corner of paradise. Visit Silver Falls Ranch and see Kauai in a way you’ll always remember.

Missing your own horses while you’re on your tropical vacation? Silver Falls Ranch will quench your desire with its own string of ‘Happy Horses’. Choose your mount and explore the island, or admire their other herd. Silver Falls Ranch breeds and trains some of Hawaii’s top working cow horse cutting prospects. At Silver Falls Ranch, horses are family. From patient to spirited, these equines make everyone from the earnest beginner to the experienced trail rider, feel satisfied. Their gentle trail horses are forgiving of beginner mistakes, while the experienced rider will enjoy their responsiveness.

Choose from the Hawaiian Discovery Ride, the Silver Falls Ride, the Tropical Trail Adventure or arrange a personal guided ride throughout the stunning fauna that is called Kauai.

 

Joining Forces

Story by Carrie Trout

They call him the Duke. Rod Olsen, Brent Trout and Kateri Cowley managed to help ten horses get a good start. All were ridden by their owners.

They call him the Duke. Rod Olsen, Brent Trout and Kateri Cowley helped ten horses get a good start at this June 5-6 clinic. All were ridden by their owners.

“It was a fantastic weekend!”

“Can I quote you on that?” I laughed as I looked up into the elated face of clinic participant Jen Downey. It was June 6, 2015. The event: a colt starting clinic with Brent Trout, Rod Olsen and Kateri Cowley, held at Cheadle, Alberta. The two-day clinic, organized by Darla Connolly, welcomed ten horses and their soon-to-be riders, who were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get a proper start on their colts. They were not disappointed – all ten horses were started on the first day and all the riders were able to get on them.

I asked participants what brought them to the clinic. “I found the clinic online and I have a little two-year-old filly who has never been really worked with at all, apart from the basic confidence-building stuff with her, and she is going to be my forever saddle horse, I hope,” said participant Erin Power. “I want to start her right on the ground. So I came here with the intention of ground work and the obstacles, so we can start building that partnership.”

Rod working the flag from one colt, while helping another.

Rod working the flag from one colt, while helping another.

Partnership was key to the weekend. Darla Connolly was the organizing force of the clinic, lining up the arena, round pen, obstacles, ground crew, food and horse accommodations. She was prompted to organize this clinic in order to expand her current knowledge of colt starting.

Brent Trout is well known for his partnership with his liberty horse, Chexmate. Together they have demonstrated their skills across Alberta by leading clinics and colt starting demonstrations. Darla met Brent when she was a participant of the Canadian Colt Starting Competition.

Brent helping a colt learn to lunge.

Brent helping a colt learn to lunge.

Brent has been following his vision of working with other trainers who can offer specialized training. After being asked to be part of Darla’s clinic, he, in turn, contacted Rod Olsen to join forces. Years ago, while living in southern Alberta, Brent was invited to do a colt starting demonstration at the Pincher Creek Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This is where he met Rod, who was also giving a demonstration, and it became a yearly event. When Brent became involved in the Canadian Colt Starting Competition, he encouraged Rod to participate. Rod has now won the event two times.

Joining forces helped in another way, too. On May 11, Brent had a kidney transplant. This was an opportunity that could change his life, but it would debilitate him in the short term. Rod was able to carry the workload at this event, and Kateri Cowley, recent participant of the Mane Event Trainer’s Challenge and winner of last year’s Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge, was also invited to come on board.

Rod introducing obstacles to a colt participant.

Rod introducing obstacles to a colt participant.

Darla and the participants found that while the three trainers have different approaches, they complimented each other; seeing different methods in action added to the learning experience. Darla is looking forward to organizing other colt starting clinics in the future.

How To Crack a Whip

Have a hankering to whip-break your horse? Here are a few tips from professional cowboy, Sam Morrison for desensitizing your mount properly.

By Jenn Webster

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1) Start this process from the ground. It works best with a halter and lead shank, but as you can see in these pictures I am demonstrating the technique with a horse that has approximately three days of experience with a whip already. It can be done with or without a saddle. I start by gently swinging my whip one of two swings at first over the horse’s withers, without any sound. I continue repeating this process until the horse is calm and standing still and tolerating the touch of the whip laying over him. As the horse becomes better with it, I swing the whip over the wither three to four times.

If at any point the horse decides to leave, that’s okay. He may have to move his feet to help him become more accepting of the whip. Holding tight to my inside rein or lead rope, I simply allow the horse to move in circles around me and I start swinging the whip in a gradual motion in front of the horse’s front feet. I never touch his front legs with it, nor do I try and scare him with the whip. I simply want to use it to discourage any more forward motion. Then I can go back to swinging it over the withers. In the meantime, it gives him some experience with the sensation of a rope (or a whip) near his lower legs.

Pic-#2-(Over-the-back)

2) Once the horse is quiet with the whip going over his withers three or four times in a row, I progress to constant swinging. I will finally add one crack of sound in and let the horse process what just happened. In doing so, however, I must ensure that I start out with a soft “pop” as opposed to a full-on crack of the whip and that the sound is always directed away from the horse’s face or ears.

Pic-#3-(Soft-pop)

3) When the horse can consistently handle step #2, it’s time to work the whip down the horse’s body. Standing on the same side as I began, I gently begin throwing my whip over the horse’s back, just the same as I did at the wither. Once he can handle that, I advance to his hind end- gently throwing my whip around his hind legs and so on. I will do this repeatably in each spot and get the horse desensitized to the whip being tangled on, or around each part of the body until he is no longer afraid of it. If at any point the horse shows that he is uncomfortable, it’s best to keep going at it but retract back to a point on the body where the horse is comfortable with the whip being laid over. For instance, many times the wither is a great point at which to revert back. My advice is not to progress forward to the next point on the horse’s body until he is consistently relaxed with the last phase.

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4) After the horse can accept the whip being gently laid over each part of his body, it’s time to move forward and begin introducing the sound of the whip to the horse. Up until this point, I’ve only begun to acquaint the horse to soft “pops,” but as we all know the sound of a whip is much more piercing. Once soft pops are tolerated, I can begin making my whip sound much louder. I’ll start with one loud crack and then two loud cracks in a row, taking note to ensure my horse is comfortable with everything before I progress further. Once I’ve gotten all of these aspects really solid on the ground, even if it’s my horse’s first day with the whip, I could get on his back and slowly start swinging and cracking my whip around. By the next day, I would start on the ground again, before progressing to the horse’s back. The key is to work on everything at least three days in a row- three days ensures you get the information locked into your horse. After that, you should be able to work on cracking your whip loudly right off the at without any problem if you have properly worked to build confidence in your horse when introducing the whip into his training regime. Any shorter than three days, however, may not be enough to properly ingrain whip-brokenness into your horse.

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Sam Morrison has years of experience in feedlot situations, using a whip to ease the task of moving cattle. He has studied the art of whip-ology from Australian master whip maker, William Gough. Gough, now residing in Saskatchewan, has 41 accumulating years of whip handling and was the Australian Whip Cracking Champion for five consecutive years.