By Don Carlton, Wilsonville, Oregon
Horse Central Magazine, July 1999
Another Northwest horsewoman of extraordinary talent is the tall and willowy Beverly Howe. She was raised on Mercer Island, Washington, and was a "horse crazed" kid from day one. She has led a colorful life since leaving home and city life as a teenager because her mother wouldn't buy her a horse! Literally! She left home to run off to the country life with her now husband of 22 years, well-known horse trainer, Wil Howe.
For the past 20 years, Beverly has been there right beside Wil as the two have gained a great reputation over the years for their fine performance horses and dynamic teaching abilities in their ever-popular horse training clinincs, schools, and videos.
During the years they ran their public training stables, while her husband was pursuing showing reined cowhorses and cutting horses, Beverly specialized in pleasure horses, and had her share of success showing several breeds. Her focus was to take young horses and get them well started in the particular event they seemed most suited for, be it Western Pleasure, English, Dressage, jumping or barrels. In addition, she had her own clientele of youth riders and amateur owners she gave lessons to, as well as preparing Wil's non-pro cutting students for his advanced lessons on cattle.
Beverly has gained great respect as an instructor over the years. Known for her dynamic "you can do this too" attitude and commitment to her students, she has been an inspiration of confidence and knowledge to the many who have had the priceless opportunity to work with her.
Over the years she has helped Wil with the marketing of his fine geldings who reigned at the top of many sales throughout the West for years and are still offered from their ranch. In 1990, Beverly rode the High Selling Gelding at the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale, pushing the sale to an all-time 28-year record which started the runaway prices you hear about today.
Exhibiting glamour and class, she has a way with her horses and gets them shown in public with style and poise, always riding with harmony and rhythm, an attribute she works tirelessly to instill in her students.
Following the success of Wil's highly acclaimed From Foundation to Finished© training video series in 1996 which she was a part of, Beverly has just come out with her own set of instructional videos that complement the Wil Howe Ranch Horsemanship Program entitled "The Little Things That Count - Practical Horsemanship with Beverly Howe." These fun, informative tapes are a tremendous asset to any horseman be he a novice, experienced, or a professional instructor who's looking to get the basics across in a simple, practical and detailed manner--basics that will make anyone a better hand on the ground and in the saddle.
According to Wil, who beams proudly of Beverly's successes, they're better videos than his! Among many of their complements one of their clients recently wrote "You were my girlfriend's and my favorite part on your husband's great video series. Most of our horses that we love so much turn out to be time-consuming projects as we head out into the show ring. We need inspiration and riding techniques that will help us in our journey. Thank you for making some tapes that are 'all you'. All us horse ladies who are non-pro but persevering will appreciate it!"
In addition, another video release from the Howe's came out this spring entitled "The Start with Control & Trust". Again a husband and wife team effort, they started three colts over three days using their training program. Beverly did the work entirely on one of the three, giving a great example to ladies that "Yes! Gals can do this too!"
If you've ever been to one of their clinics, it is Beverly who rides the colts for the first time with Wil's assistance as she has started countless horses over the years in public. One challenging and successful clinic she recalls back in 1990 when Wil was down with a broken arm and merely narrated the clinic as Beverly started a five-year unbroke Appaloosa gelding and a two-year Molly Mule, schooled 15 horses and riders, and loaded a problem-loading horse. It is situations like that she chalks up to experience, experience that has helped her become one of our area's leading female horsemanship instructors.
Her specialty these days is in making "good hands" better, although she loves working with the beginners and getting tham off on the right foot. Beverly, like Wil, prefers the chance to fine tune an accomplished rider or trainer who's already "getting it done" but could really excel if their horsemanship was refined. I've seen many trainers only groom a person for the end result of showing, but who rarely have the ability, as Beverly does, to delve into actually correcting and changing a person's bad habits or timing in order for them to make lasting changes in themselves and, in turn, in their horse's performance. That's what she and Wil aim for in their teaching.
Helping people become aware of their actions around and on horses is what Wil and Beverly devote themselves to in their School of Fine Horse Training at their ranch in northeast Oregon. This spring alone they've had students from New York, Ontario, Canada, Alabama, California, Washington, and Australia, and when they come, they get results! A personal guarantee that Beverly herself makes. "It might be midnight! But by golly, you're gonna get it, if you can hang in there and try hard enough. I'll be there for you!" she says.
When you ask Beverly where this die-hard energy come from, she says it's her love for the Lord, people and horses that keeps her going.
And where does her inspiration for training horses come from? A twinkle in her eye and this reply, "My loving and supportive husband Wil... he's the best," she says with a grin. "He's kept me in good horses all these years and made a hand out of me. The credit goes to Wil. It's great when your hero is your husband!"
When asked if there are other horsemen she admires besides Wil, whom she refers to as the smoothest, she recalls the hours spent watching the practice and warm up pens over the years and reverently speaks with respect of Bobby Ingersol, Bobby Avilia, Les Vogt, Stan Fonsen, Johnny Brazil and the Wards, to mention a few. As for her heroines, they would be Annie Reynolds Jones, Sandy Collier (whom Beverly describes as deadly), and Jerri Mann, Professional Women's Champion Barrel Racer.
At 38, Beverly admits feeling a bit behind her peers as she's devoted most of her energies for the past 10 years alone to teaching. She now hopes to find time to dabble at showing again, and to give something new a try, her favorite passion--working cowhorses.
For a city girl with only plastic Breyer model horses who dreamed of one day owning a horse, "You've come a long way baby" is only appropiate.