Arizona has been great this winter, as usual, and we counted our blessings every morning when we arose to blue skies, bare ground, no mud or snow!
January kept us busy getting dug in, riding, spending time with our new horses, and dealing with horse clients from California. Our big giant buckskin was delivered in early January from Tennessee, hauled out by our old friend and student, Floyd Snow of Lexington, Tennessee. Floyd attended our very first school in 1994 at our Richland location. He spent over a month with us, helping at the OutPost and working horses.
"Everest", the big boy, has attracted a lot of attention this past month with calls from people all over the nation hot after this "one of a kind" giant buckskin gelding. We currently have a deal made with an excited client from Ocala, Florida. It's just the perfect match, as he is 6' 8" and needs this big, kind horse.
Our From Foundation to Finished Course February 4th through the 10th went well, with students coming from Colorado, New York and California. Wil was pleased to work with John Ferronato of San Bernadino, California. John is the new owner of Wil's favorite horse, "Zorro" (the big stocking legged Black featured in Cowboys & Indians). The two made a great match and are well on their way to many "happy trails". Working with his wife, Ria, a dressage rider, was also fun. Getting the concept of "letting the horse hold themselves in frame rather than holding them in frame" was challenging for her, but she prevailed and succeeded in making great improvements, transforming into a more fluid & relaxed western rider. She left with a more confident level of communication with her own horse.
We also had a AQHA breeder of Hancock-bred roping and ranch horses from northeast Colorado who turned from "team roper to new horseman" in just one week. What a difference in the abilities of both him and his 7 year old stallion, who progressed from a shank snaffle into a full bridle, learning to spin and neck rein like a pro! Dudden Quarter Horses will have a new program to follow! Another student from New York City was an avid trail rider who really amped up his knowledge and is now well rounded in the finer aspects of reining and using leg cues. It is always an interesting mix of folks all after the same goal...better horsemanship. We are always honored to share with this elite group of people who go that extra mile to expand their knowledge and advance their horsemanship, putting a priority on their horses activities. Some do it because they wish to make a better living at it, others to reach their personal goals, and yet others who value their life and want to know a better way to get along with their horse. We meet all those needs with fervor. Our Oregon Home Ranch summer dates for our From Foundation to Finished Course will be May 29 to June 4, followed by a NEW! weekend three-day Cow Working Course.
Now you can come for two, four, or all six days of our week-long From Foundation to Finished sessions!
Days 1 & 2 cover the Establishing Leadership - Horse Psychology, Groundwork, Round Penning, Hobble Training and the essentials of our Bitting Up exercises.
Days 3 & 4 cover Wil's 10 Steps - a foundational sequence of tasks in a snaffle bit that are necessary for a horse to become flexible & supple both vertically and laterally, working on collection, leg cues and total mind & body control, perfect for advancing colts or tuning older horses in preparation for advancing beyond the snaffle bit and reining for any event or work.
Days 5 & 6 cover Wil's program of advancing into neck reining and going through a series of bits "Beyond the Snaffle Bit" that refine communication in preparation for going into the full bridle. These sessions include bit discussions and demonstrations, work on understanding the "feel" and reining techniques used with the different types of full-ported finished bits and romel reins, and a history of the California bridle horse and training techniques.
This is the full and original format of our From Foundation to Finished course; however, due to peoples' time constraints these days, these courses will be offered in a piece-meal format to allow folks to progress and return for repeat or advanced portions of sessions at later dates or stay on for the "full meal deal". We feel this format may free up folks' scheduling so they may partake of our offerings. CLICK HERE for the new 2009 summer and fall class schedule.
As we have always emphasized, it's all a matter of priorities. Growth takes commitment. We're committed if you are. Step up and take the challenge! We love to see people advance their horses and attain their goals--let us help you get there with a full understanding of your horses that will stay with you a lifetime.
Now Scheduling Private Client Clinics
We are available by appointment for private off-site clinics and consulting at your location. You receive custom coaching for your own unique circumstances, learning at your home location with your horse. In addition, we'll show you how to improve your facility for maximum practicability, safety, and enjoyment of all your horse activities. Our fee for this exclusive service is $2500/day, two days minimum, plus travel expenses. Invite your friends for this elite occasion! We will take up to six horse & rider participants. Can't afford it? Cut the expense by charging spectators. We prefer a private setting, but if you don't mind the public we don't either.
Two master instructors, plus seasoned ranch design consulting services, all for one price! We are scheduling 2009 and 2010 dates now. This has been an ideal situation for previous WHR students and our horse clients after they take their new horses home. For all inquiries, contact Beverly at 520-826-0188.
Beverly's Ladies-Only Cowgirl Camp Meets Needs!
In early March this year we had another committed group of "wanna be" cowgirls traveling to the sunny southwest from all over the country--Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Antioch, Illinois, and Phoenix, Arizona. Assisted by her "right & left hand" helper, Sue Schaffer, Beverly instilled her signature "you can do this!" attitude in the women , addressing specific issues in confidence and leadership roles, guiding the gals through a wide range of mental and physical activities and exercises with their horses, forming a bond between all of them and providing the results each was seeking.
One happy cowgirl was Debbie Ruxton of Illinois who fell in love with our new little "bomb proof" Cinnamon buckskin, Quarter Cow Pony "Poco". He was a perfect match for Debbie and her need for a close-to-the-ground, stout, solid, all-around trail horse. Congratulations! Debbie wrote us, "I cannot thank you enough for all your help. I really learned a lot at your class. It was very fulfilling and fun, thank you ever so much!
If you are interested in Beverly's Ladies Only class at our Oregon home ranch location this summer, sign up now. The class is scheduled for June 17 to 23, and discounts are still available through April 17. Contact Beverly at 520-826-0188.
NEW! June 24-27 Couples Reunite Retreat & Ride! Guys, come join your wives after the Ladies Only week and bring your horse! Ride and relax for two to four days...your choice! It'll be your turn to get "hands-on help" and work on your horsemanship goals with the added option to work cattle! dip in the creek, kick the campfire, hug your honey and soak up wil's wisdom first-hand: "horses and life run hand in hand." Full and half day rates available depending on couple's participation. Call for details, options, and pricing.
The Joy & Rewards of Pursuing Horsemanship As time passes, we are continually reminded of the necessity for folks to take their horsemanship seriously if they are to succeed with their horses. What does success mean? For some, staying alive while on their horse is success; for others, just "getting by" and navigating about on their horse as though it was a tractor will suffice...but there are others who truly dream of a cooperative horse that will yield to a rider's command with the least amount of persuasion and who desire to attain a level of communication where technique is no longer a conscious effort, to reach a point where this union of horse and rider may be lost in the unconscious moment of refined communication.
We can guide you through true trust and consistent, fair leadership of your horse, but you must be willing to work for it. Those who do work at it really excel. The effort invested brings about a sense of accomplishment no other sport can deliver because you and another living creature have actually become an extension of one another. By capturing your horse's thoughts in mid-air and channeling that energy, you and your horse become as one...thought and movement in unison...what a rush!
Wil Howe Geldings...New String!
Featured Gelding "Dunnit"
For the past two years we have been trying to cut our herd our herd down to a manageable number for just the two of us, and it finally looks as though we have done it. It does make it hard though, as we love horses and could easily have up to the 25 head we have so often held in recent years, but staying committed to "less is more" and a simpler lifestyle, we will continue to seek quality over quantity, serving those clients who are looking for just that special horse with a Wil Howe finish and stamp of approval.
He's been there done that...and we call him "Dunnit". This is a special gelding that is an all-around dream horse. He not only is a very well-trained with a reining horse handle & stop, but this quiet, sweet-minded, solid individual is a superb, trustworthy trail mount. Twice this past month we have had him up to the top of the Cochise Stronghold. a gnarly, rough, and rocky mountain trail, with two different senior citizens--our 76 year-old friend, Bud Terry, from Richland, Oregon, and Beverly's 83 year-old father, Bill Johnston, from Seattle, Washington. "Dunnit" was a total gentleman and took care of these guys every step of the way. They don't get any more reliable or fun to ride than this stepping-out, smooth-riding, ears up little buckskin.
We currently have a nice colorful string of geldings, a couple of classy paints, buckskins; also a handsome bay and grey and a couple of fancy sorrels. One sorrel, Beverly's personal mount, Mercury, has been under her tutelage for two years and has made the transition from straight reiner to working cow horse, preparing him for versatility & reined cow horse events; she has taken up ranch roping on him too. After this summer's cowboying season, this spectacular individual will be offered for sale as well. Click here to view all the horses, read more about them, and see them in action in the newest feature of our website...video clips!
New WHR Headstalls at Huckleberry's Line Shack....
Check out the new classic cowboy headstall we've been carrying for our horse clients since last fall. Now Huckleberry's has it! Clean, classy, and well-made, this is a simple, attractive, and affordable single-ear bridle. It's vintage design with silver concha buckles is just the touch your favorite horse needs to show off his collected Wil Howe head carriage. "Everest" loves to show his off!
To order, contact our pardner, Dary Reed, at 520-952-3188 or visit Huckleberry's Line Shack.
Grapevine News from the Wil Howe Ranch Mail Box
We start off this edition of the WHR Mail Box with a note of acknowledgement from Wil on the recent passing of legendary horseman, Ray Hunt: "He was truly the grandfather of natural horsemanship and did share the mystery of how to get next to horses mentally... I hope I have been a good steward of Ray's horse wisdom that I so eagerly absorbed, some 30 years ago. By revealing the truths kept a mystery that so many people missed, I have made a life of trying to make horse psychology & training horses understandable, bringing what was left hidden into the light for the blind to see. Though it's no secret that Ray Hunt could be difficult on a personal level, having a better way with horses than his people skills, I cannot but show my respect and honor for this influential man who was half horse...Thank You, Ray"
Last fall, I failed to report great news about one of Wil's favorite protégés, Zeph Schulz, who aspired to and succeeded in becoming a very successful reined cowhorse trainer whom we helped get started in training years ago. 2008 was a great year for Zeph, as he returned to him home state to win the 2008 Montana Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Open & Intermediate Derby, and was third in the Open Futurity Finals. He also won the 2008 Wyoming Mustang Make-Over, HDRCHA's Capriola Derby, the IRCHA Intermediate Open Derby Championship, the IMRCHA Year-End Open Snaffle Bit and the Regional NRCHA Hackamore Championship, as well as many other achievements. Way to go Zeph! Well-earned titles and we couldn't be prouder.
Got another great letter from John & Wendy Hughes of Kennet Square, Pennsylvania, reporting a successful year breaking & starting 30 thoroughbred colts last fall off "Cash", the big handsome dappled grey gelding we sold January 2008. "Cash has been everything said and more. When the youngsters tussled and really tested him while ponying them, it never phased him a bit, he was absolutely wonderful, he knew just what to do. He's also done well at the small events Wendy has been taking him to and is jumping very well! Thanks again, if we ever are able to come get another horse from you, we most certainly will!"
Recent phone calls also confirm good news from Rods Hart in Tennessee with Teton, that "the big horse took care of me on a terrible wreck in downed timber on a steep hill while trail blazing. He was amazingly calm, and steadily & calmly crawled out of the mess."
Also, Chuck McGrath in southern California reports great riding with his new palomino since November: "Corona is doing great, you were right, he is the perfect match for me!"
Send us your WHR gelding stories of successes and accomplishments that you and your horse may have achieved, big or small. We enjoy sharing any step towards a greater awareness of your horse and horsemanship skills, and it is always an inspiration to others to persevere and reap the benefits of learning from the WHR ways.
Winding Down in Arizona...
Heading North May First
We look forward to getting back to the green pastures of our home ranch in Eagle Valley, Oregon, and will be heading north around the first of May. We have clients coming in for private schooling sessions in April but there are still some dates available. Till then, we'll be riding in these gorgeous desert mountains and enjoying the early summer Arizona-style. We still have horses to videotape and more work ahead on the new website.
We wish everyone a breath of fresh air this spring and encourage all of us to focus on what we do have, instead of what we don't have or think we want. Count your blessings, and go take a ride on your horse--it will put life in the "Proper Perspective".
Happy Safe Trails & Turn Arounds!
Wil & Beverly
and the WHR Crew--
Dary at Huckleberry's Line Shack,
Pauline at the Home Ranch,
and Bonnie in Bookkeeping