My Equine Partners, Friends and Teachers

 
Nickle  Born a clumsy, blue eyed, baby on a ranch in central California; Nick didn’t show much promise as a performance horse of any kind. So, by hook or by crook, he spent the first few years of his life working on ranches in northern California. He packed cowboys long miles and dragged calves to the fire until one fateful fall day in an arena full of ranch horses in Stonyford, California. I was 17 and had sat astride many a lease horse by that point. I had not however, had the opportunity to ride a horse that I owned. There was something about that flashy paint horse that just got to me. He wasn’t the biggest horse, at 15.1 hands, and he wasn’t the most athletic horse, but he had a character as big as texas, and a willingness to teach and listen that I’d not experienced before. Nick was a low man on the totem pole in the herd. When I first met him, another horse had bit him on the neck and left quite a mark. I guessed I sympathized with the guy. Finally I had a compadre that would ride with me as far and as wide as I desired. For a year, we galloped all over the hills in the East Bay before I moved to Colorado. I made it a point to bring my buddy out with me, because a horse, I’ve heard, is the best form of therapy. Nick and I spent years studying horsemanship together under several great horsemen and working as cowboys on ranches in the rockies, Wyoming and Nebraska. Nickle is still with me today, growing and expanding his skills and helping me do the same.:

Nickle

Born a clumsy, blue eyed, baby on a ranch in central California; Nick didn’t show much promise as a performance horse of any kind. So, by hook or by crook, he spent the first few years of his life working on ranches in northern California. He packed cowboys long miles and dragged calves to the fire until one fateful fall day in an arena full of ranch horses in Stonyford, California. I was 17 and had sat astride many a lease horse by that point. I had not however, had the opportunity to ride a horse that I owned. There was something about that flashy paint horse that just got to me. He wasn’t the biggest horse, at 15.1 hands, and he wasn’t the most athletic horse, but he had a character as big as texas, and a willingness to teach and listen that I’d not experienced before. Nick was a low man on the totem pole in the herd. When I first met him, another horse had bit him on the neck and left quite a mark. I guessed I sympathized with the guy. Finally I had a compadre that would ride with me as far and as wide as I desired. For a year, we galloped all over the hills in the East Bay before I moved to Colorado. I made it a point to bring my buddy out with me, because a horse, I’ve heard, is the best form of therapy. Nick and I spent years studying horsemanship together under several great horsemen and working as cowboys on ranches in the rockies, Wyoming and Nebraska. Nickle is still with me today, growing and expanding his skills and helping me do the same.:

 
Dime:  There came a time out in Colorado where I was driving all over the range checking cattle and performing other cowboying duties and ol’Nick was taking the brunt of the miles. So I figured I needed a big, strong re-mount as well as a horse that needed some work. So that I could practice my horsemanship skills with a horse that didn’t know as much. I don’t know how I lucked out with finding this fellow, but he was exactly the teacher I needed at the time. There is an old saying of disputed origin that has played itself out time and again in my life. When the student is ready, the teacher arrives. I figured that I’d go get myself a deal on a horse, so through a friend of mine, I was able to walk through the feedlot of a kill buyer for horses. I walked all over those pens, and there was only about one group of horses that didn’t seem completely broken down. Out of that group, this big kind of solemn paint horse kept following me around. I almost didn’t want to take him because I didn’t want to be known as the “paint guy” but something in me kept telling me it was the right decision. So I made a deal with the feedlot owner and led the big guy to my trailer. He seemed pretty terrified of the world, and one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t learn sooner how to help this poor horse with his fear. But remember, when the student is ready, the teacher reveals himself. After a year of learning the art of colt starting and riding ranches, Dime and I weren’t the handiest duo, but we could cover miles, and cover miles we did. All over Wyoming and Colorado, Dime would give Nick days off and vice versa. Somewhere along the line, Dime actually began to come out of his shell. He went from a timid, reserved fellow to being a rather friendly, gregarious, opinionated, big horse. Fortunately, I had always learned to practice one form or another of fairly good quality groundwork. So I never had an issue with Dime on my own two feet, but there were times when Dime’s new found confidence got him and me into a few battle of the wills. We’d get into bucking and rearing sessions that left me looking for something better. Dime has progressed quite a lot since then, he is the leader of my string, has learned to become soft supple and willing. Dime is now learning some of the finer points of riding such as canter pirouettes and collection with self-carriage. He’s done pretty well for a horse that was destined to be dog food.

Dime:

There came a time out in Colorado where I was driving all over the range checking cattle and performing other cowboying duties and ol’Nick was taking the brunt of the miles. So I figured I needed a big, strong re-mount as well as a horse that needed some work. So that I could practice my horsemanship skills with a horse that didn’t know as much. I don’t know how I lucked out with finding this fellow, but he was exactly the teacher I needed at the time. There is an old saying of disputed origin that has played itself out time and again in my life. When the student is ready, the teacher arrives. I figured that I’d go get myself a deal on a horse, so through a friend of mine, I was able to walk through the feedlot of a kill buyer for horses. I walked all over those pens, and there was only about one group of horses that didn’t seem completely broken down. Out of that group, this big kind of solemn paint horse kept following me around. I almost didn’t want to take him because I didn’t want to be known as the “paint guy” but something in me kept telling me it was the right decision. So I made a deal with the feedlot owner and led the big guy to my trailer. He seemed pretty terrified of the world, and one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t learn sooner how to help this poor horse with his fear. But remember, when the student is ready, the teacher reveals himself. After a year of learning the art of colt starting and riding ranches, Dime and I weren’t the handiest duo, but we could cover miles, and cover miles we did. All over Wyoming and Colorado, Dime would give Nick days off and vice versa. Somewhere along the line, Dime actually began to come out of his shell. He went from a timid, reserved fellow to being a rather friendly, gregarious, opinionated, big horse. Fortunately, I had always learned to practice one form or another of fairly good quality groundwork. So I never had an issue with Dime on my own two feet, but there were times when Dime’s new found confidence got him and me into a few battle of the wills. We’d get into bucking and rearing sessions that left me looking for something better. Dime has progressed quite a lot since then, he is the leader of my string, has learned to become soft supple and willing. Dime is now learning some of the finer points of riding such as canter pirouettes and collection with self-carriage. He’s done pretty well for a horse that was destined to be dog food.

 
Abby:  Abby is one of the most talented horses I have ever had the pleasure of riding. She was slated to be one of the top contenders at the snaffle bit futurity in Reno. Unfortunately fate struck in her 2 year old year and she developed juvenile arthritis. After her recovery, she was sent to a big time trainer in Texas to finish her schooling. She then studied at a cutting ranch in Northern California with one of my oldest friends. Eventually, I was entrusted with the care of this fine little mare, Abigail. Abby has been a true teacher to me in the realm of equine high performance, and continues to surprise me with her abilities. She is my canary in the coalmine, showing me just how far it is possible to progress with an equine partner.

Abby:

Abby is one of the most talented horses I have ever had the pleasure of riding. She was slated to be one of the top contenders at the snaffle bit futurity in Reno. Unfortunately fate struck in her 2 year old year and she developed juvenile arthritis. After her recovery, she was sent to a big time trainer in Texas to finish her schooling. She then studied at a cutting ranch in Northern California with one of my oldest friends. Eventually, I was entrusted with the care of this fine little mare, Abigail. Abby has been a true teacher to me in the realm of equine high performance, and continues to surprise me with her abilities. She is my canary in the coalmine, showing me just how far it is possible to progress with an equine partner.

If you’d like to learn more about what my horses are teaching me check out the full length videos at the mphacademy!