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Re-grouping After a Long Hot Summer

We have spent the month of September re-grouping after a long hot summer. It's nice to see a little fall rain to quell the dust in the corrals.

Dan Decker & friend on his handsomeroan WHR cow horse

In June, we placed a few more geldings with happy return clients. Our fancy roan cow horse, Boonwhite Dancer, went to Dan Decker, a Western Montana rancher who came back to add another WHR gelding to his Color Me Smart paint cow horse he purchased from us five years ago. Also, return client Doug Harris at the Open Stirrup Ranch in western Colorado got two more WHR geldings for the family and working cattle, making a total of four WHR geldings this year..."All of the horses are doing well here at the ranch. We have had a great time riding them in the mountains moving cattle all summer long. They have all exceeded my expectations." 

Kelly Dixon, of Santa Ynez, California, is off to a great start with her WHR gelding, Dunnit. These are the results of her first Ranch Horse Trail Classes on Dunnit, who had a flawless run and received the highest score the judge had ever given!

After that, the summer took its usual course and things were quiet until September. Now the phone is jumping off the hook and it's been a busy month of catching up, since AQHA registry numbers have fallen in the past few years as fewer folks are breeding and the demand is up for quality horses. This compounds things for us personally, as we try to scale back our operations but still try to serve all who are waiting for just that "right one" from us. We aim to please and will do our best!

2015 Arizona Clinic/Class Schedule Check it out and make your plans now!

Exciting News--Bling Sells!

Our lovely pride and joy, cholcolate palomino "Bling", has sold.

This has been a wild six months of marketing, as Bling brought a lot of attention to our website since we posted him last spring after owning him for three years. This special individual had more interest that any horse we have ever offered for sale, which is fitting, as he was also the most special horse we have ever had the privilege to own and train. Through many phone calls and offers we stuck to our guns, and in mid-September a couple from Arkansas flew into Baker City in their personal jet and fell in love with Bling. He shipped last week...with more than a few tears shed.

Also, our cute buckskin reiner trail horse "Traveler" just sold to an excited horse gal from Waco, Texas, who was ready for that "special one" in the words of cowboy musician Dave Stamey's classic song, "She always wanted a buckskin horse..."

WHR Gelding Sneak Preview... We have a couple of new boys in the corral that we are excited about...

First is a very talented eight-year old reining horse who is an extremely attractive bay with great conformation and a great mind. A grandson of the legendary Boomeric and out of a Smart Chic Olena mare, this fancy gelding is a cool-minded individual who anyone can ride and he'll show you how to do things right, having the NRHA credentials to prove it. He's a gorgeous mover, fluid and smooth, and a die-in-the-ground big stopper. Whether you continue to show him in reining or want to take him into Ranch Pleasure or Versatility, Cowboy Dressage, Cowhorse, or Roping, he's the one, and a class act. Boomer has taken to our WHR versatility training and acid tests like a pro. We love the good ones and you will too! They are not all like this one, and he is truly a stand out. Look for him soon on our main gelding page. In meantime, Boomer has had his sliding plates changed out and is seeing some big country, mountain trails, and cattle.

Our other new candidate is a big, 15.2 hand, pretty-headed, good looking young chestnut roan gelding. He's a quiet-natured big ol' pet and very eye catching. He moves like pleasure horse, a rocking chair loper, yet has the run to make a head horse and the looks to hit the show ring. At only four years old, Easy Rider is riding very well, super gentle and easy-going with a very soft feel. He handles nice and wants to turn around, riding off sweet every time. He loves people and has lots of personality. We are excited to be training him and developing him into a nice all-arounder, as he has all the makings, ability, and is loads of fun to ride!

WHR Fall Featured Trail Horses--Back-Country Special...

It's been fall mountain riding time and we have some outstanding back country mountain & cross-country trail horses. As one of our "must do well" tasks on the WHR horse check list is navigating tough country willingly and getting around downfall, logs, creeks, rocks, timber, and steep desert canyon country, our geldings get hauled and used, making them the well-rounded, seasoned trail horses so many folks are seeking these days. Add to that a great handle so they neck rein with ease and are willing to be collected, and you have a balanced, composed mount in the most varied terrain and conditions. Safety is number one, and we are authors of well-trained, multi-use, confident horses. Here are just a few of our fall trail horse highlights:

2008 Bright Sorrel Solid & StoutRanch & Trail AQHA Gelding14 hands, 1100 lbsHere is one easy-going chunky boy. "Dewey" has been raised, started, and used on a ranch since he was two, and can get around tough country and mountains trails like a pro. With a steady unflappable personality, he puts up with almost anything. He's seen a lot with us, from mountain trails to riding down Main Street, even a helicopter landing nearby! He goes anywhere, always looking at what he's doing, making him a great candidate for the Trail Challenges. Dewey's been roped on at brandings and doctored on too. He's plenty cowy and can really stop, making for a great heeling prospect. He's a bit on the lazy side, but can be pushed with a little encouragement, and that gentle, cool head is what makes him so special. For that "get on & go" guy, he's a pretty solid young horse, suited for most riders, young or old, and he's got a full life ahead of him. For an easy-to-reach-the-stirrup versatility ranch cow horse or for pleasure and mountain trails, he'll do!

NEW! 2005 Sorrel Ranch/MountainHorse Deluxe AQHA Gelding15.2 hands, 1250 lbsHere is big stout gelding with big kind heart. "Dos XX's" we call him, and he has been used on a ranch all his life and drug lots of calves to the fire. Really a go-ahead get-R-done horse who anyone can ride. Very gentle and honest about his job, easy-natured to catch and be around. With royal cow horse bloodlines going back to Colonel Freckles, Sugar Bars, and Dual Pep, we love his old Foundation Quarterhorse looks--big strong hip and shoulder, lots of muscle, and a soft eye. He's passed all our WHR finishing program and acid tests; we've moved him into the full bridle and now he's got our signature light rein. We've been moving cattle and gathering in the mountains this fall with him, and he's a real athlete and gets around at a long trot or easy lope through the timber and downfall after cattle with ease. We've had him on high back country trails and he handles our steep canyon country very well. He's a sweet horse to ride. Any level rider would appreciate Dos XX's smooth gaits and willingness to please. For a big guy needing horse that'll pack ya, whether it's for pleasure or work, he can do the job...with class. Ranchers, if you own the outfit, why not ride the best?!

2004 Big Black & WhiteFlashy Specialty Trail Horse15.3 hands, 1300 lbsUnique in every way, "Waldo", as Wil calls him, is a registered Tennessee Walker and Pinto. We have owned him for almost two years and are just now offering him. Wil took him on as his personal project and adores this big gentle giant because of his attitude and trainability. Waldo is a kind-hearted horse who is a smooth traveling machine and can flat move out cross-country. He is an old-style western Tennessee Walker, big-boned and -footed; not show-horse gaited, but he rides like a Quarterhorse with afterburners! Great for trail riding with other Walkers, or he can walk on a loose rein and cruise with Quarterhorses, just pick your gear! He handles rough country on- and off-trail, and has done well moving cattle and got cow savvy, too. He goes anywhere like a D-8 Caterpillar! Would make a great ranch or trail horse for a big or tall guy who needs to cover a lot of country, and is gentle enough for the whole family.

Heading South Soon...

We are planning to head to Arizona next month. As we wrap things up here at the ranch, the weather has been a beautiful endless Indian Summer. The cottonwood trees are golden, and it's always a special time to ride and be in the mountains astride a good one. Try to join us while the weather holds out--we still have cattle a few more weeks and are open for clinic appointments The Idaho Reined Cow Horse Snaffle Bit Futurity took place last week in Nampa, a follow-up to Reno's big NRCHA Futurity two weeks ago. We ended up going to watch and cheer on Grant Lindaman, who came up from Scottsdale, Arizona, to show his Metallic Cat stallion who made the Non-Pro finals in Reno. In Idaho, he was Reserve Champion Non-Pro in the Futurity on him. Congratulations, Grant! Also there were more former students/clients of Wil's, including trainer Zeph Schulz from Utah, non-pro riders Paul Wilinkski of Wisconsin and Chuck Baltazar of Washington, and numerous old friends and fellow horsemen which made the gathering a memorable event. We saw fantastic cow horses and ever more talented young trainers and riders there. It is amazing to see the influence we have had on the Reined Cowhorse world over the years, inspiring and encouraging many to pursue this sport either showing themselves or having horses with trainers supporting the reined cowhorse world. It is truly the most demanding discipline, but ever rewarding and always exciting, producing the finest all-around horses.

So for a taste of it, come and see us and come a'riding! See our 2015 Arizona Winter Schedule and ask about early sign-up discounts. We look forward to having you join us in the Arizona sunshine at our SouthWest Outpost in Cochise. Come further your enjoyment with your horse, achieve your goals, and move on competitively through refinement and knowledge. We are here to show the way...Howe & Why. Contact Beverly for class registrations and private clinic appointments at 541-893-6535

Till the weather turns...

May autumn's leaves of gold drop softly on your trailand light your way with joy.

We all have so much to be thankful for. Happy Harvest Season from WHR--

Beverly & Wil

and Katie the Ranch Dog

WHR Words of Wisdom...on the Trail of Training 

As the weather changes and you find yourself not riding as consistently as you were during the summer, remember to check in with your horse and don't forget the WHR foundational exercises we always preach about... ground work, standing tied & hobbled for some time, round pen sessions for attitude adjustments and airing them out before riding on these cold mornings, and bitting-up sessions when our timing has gotten slack and the horses aren't as responsive or dialed in...and always return to Wil's Foundational 10 Steps for a refresher in the Snaffle Bit. Most of our horses we work with and sell are well-conditioned for just riding in their finished-bit bridles, but revisiting the basics will always remain the solid foundation. It may sound repetitive, but it so essential for that good relaxed and safe horse and ride. As Wil would much prefer to just head for the hills after some cattle anymore, he loves riding and working the horses I've spent time on. The patient work I do with them, both on the ground and in the arena, make his job a breeze as the horses are soft, well-prepared, and ready for his fine-tuning finishing edge that I like to ride behind myself! So I guess that is why we have made such a good team all these years as we both add our complementary touches to the horses. Which leads us back to more horse training tips... Circles to Soften...

I find working my Cowboy Dressage routines in the bridle and romel reins in the arena or out in the pasture help to maintain the suppleness and bend I am always seeking. Gathering my horse up in a collected frame and working on the perpetual perfection of round circles, bending from one direction to the other, maintaining forward impulsion and roundness and softness in the bridle at the sitting trot and long trot, will warm the horse up nicely so the loping comes effortlessly as does the rest of the day's ride. If he is fresh or forward, long trot your horse in frame collected and BREATHE IT OUT like Yoga in the saddle!...until they breathe and snort out their anxiety in unison with your breath and then you'll have your horse in the palm of your hand and seat. Remember, "if your circles look like eggs, you aren't using your legs!" Placing cones or tires can help center yourself around them and gives you a focal point to work from. 

Mix up the pattern circle work with diversions of cavalettis and trail obstacles walk-overs with bridges and such to redirect your horse's attention and relax him. By going back and forth, the work becomes fun and never boring. If you achieve the soft arcs you are seeking in your circles, be sure to reward your horse. A stroke of approval goes a long way, especially if you do it while he's in motion--in the act of correctness, so to speak, rather than stopping and rewarding him later after the fact. Seeking impulsion, breathe, sit and push your horse into your hands...when he gives to the bit, you give and keep asking...and releasing...keeping the conversation going into weightless reins, self-carriage and complete softness. What a joy! And still fun-seeking for me, even after 30 years.


For all horse inquiries, please call Wil Howe Ranch at 541-893-6535 mornings or evenings Pacific Time for personal attention to your requests. Remember, we usually have several geldings not currently listed. $20,000 and up. Let us help you find the horse of your dreams! Click here for details on purchasing a WHR gelding.

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