Today we got to hang out with cow horse icon, Kevin Stallings. In addition to providing us with training information, he also showed us around his home and training facility in Tuscon, Arizona.
Kevin has a medley of credentials too numerous to list. But to summarize, let’s just say that he is an NRCHA Open Hackamore National Champion, NRCHA Open Bridle World Champion, and NSHA Open Bridle Champion.
Kevin, as he is about to climb into his 2009 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Bridle Championship saddle. He trains colts from start to finish and work with riders in several areas; cow horse, roping, cutting and reining.
In 2004, Kevin earned 3rd place in the Worlds Greatest Horseman Competition aboard his great stallion, NMSU Truckin Chex (also known as “Elvis”).
He is additionally an NRCHA-carded judge and garnered his background with the help of Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance.
Kevin’s wife, Karen is equally as accomplished. Karen was the 2008 AQHA World Show Amateur Champion, the 2008 NSHA Non-Pro Bridle Extravaganza Champion and the 2007 NRCHA Non-Pro Bridle World Champion. Stallings Cow Horses operate out of Banderlero Ranch, just minutes outside of Tuscon. The facility is a fantastic wonderland of horse activity and was partially designed by Kevin.
Aboard a stunning liver chestnut stallion, Kevin showed us just how it easy it is (for him<smile>) to properly work a cow and maintain a position of working advantage. “I always want my horse to turn first, then go towards the cow. I absolutely need him to turn, before I will kick him forward towards a cow.”
In that respect, Kevin’s goal is always to stop the cow and then turn with the cow.
“I always say to people, try driving the cow as opposed to ‘rating’ it. Once you change your mindset about how you are working a cow – from rating to driving – you will have much more success for boxing and going down the fence,” Kevin says.
“You can really school your cow during boxing with this mindset. You’re teaching your cow that when you step up to certain point, you want that cow to move forward. And you train him for going down then fence. You’re schooling the cow and getting your horse hooked up for going down the fence.”
The world calibre trainer continues, “Then if you continue to think about ‘driving’ a cow down the fence, you can almost turn it from behind. You can see when the cow is about to make a decision about changing direction, because it is raising its neck. That’s when you should quit riding and get your horse on its hocks – or land on his butt.” (Landing on the horse’s butt is a good thing – what Kevin is referring to is simply the act of the horse slamming on the brakes.)
“Drive, drive, drive and when you see that cow toss its head, land on your horse’s rear end.
“Drive him and stop. Once you can do that, you’re ready to go down the fence.”
For more information about Kevin Stallings, check out www.StallingsCowHorses.com
And next week, I’ll take you for a tour of Bandalero Ranch!