Our workshops provide opportunities for folks to learn about our interpretation of vaquero horsemanship, and our balance/signal/softness approach to interacting with horses, from groundwork right through to riding in the bridle, working cattle and roping. Participants can get expert help introducing their horses to the hackamore and two-rein, or transitioning to straight up in the bridle. At many workshops there is also the opportunity to put these techniques and methods to use working cattle and roping, in manners consistent with the style. We will explain how the equipment functions, why it works in its unique ways, and how it is designed to be used for such. We will share some history and background of the culture that this style developed from, in order to help folks better understand the evolution of the gear and techniques and the overall thinking and philosophy (and hopefully the beauty) behind it.
One thing rather unique to our workshops is that we are more than willing to, and with your permission often do, ride every horse there. We do this for several reasons. Firstly, it gives us an opportunity to feel the horse ourselves. We have a lot of experience at watching others ride and being able to suggest adjustments for better results, but sometimes it really helps to feel it firsthand. Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to see what the horse may be capable of with just a few small adjustments. We find that this can be very encouraging if the horse is new to certain gear and the rider is inexperienced at introducing it, or if the rider has been working at it for a while and is just needing a little help with getting an improved response. Thirdly, it allows us an opportunity to let the horse feel what we are trying to present, so that when you get back on and work at it, the horse can already have some experience with the presentation. Past participants have expressed that this part of the workshops is very helpful, not just in watching there own horses ridden, but in seeing the changes many different individual horses go through.
We specifically call our events “workshops” in order to differentiate them from what has become a typical clinic scenario. The format of our workshops are that they normally consist of 3 days, each divided into 3 or 4, 2 - 3 hour sessions. There are 4-6 riders participating in each session. In other words, one paid spot allows you to ride in one session each of the three days of the workshop. We highly encourage everyone to watch the other sessions that they are not riding in. We find this format works very well for a number of reasons. There is a maximum of only six riders working at any one time. That allows every rider to get plenty of individual attention and personalized suggestions for themselves and their horse. We also find with this more focused work, that a few hours at one time is plenty long enough for both horse and rider. It’s a long time to concentrate. This format also allows participants to watch numerous other sessions. A lot can be seen and learned from the outside of the arena.
We get riders with a full range of experience and levels of ability. Some are rather inexperienced riders in any style, many are new to the vaquero style of bridle horses, some are professional horseman, and some come with quite a bit of experience in making and riding bridle horses. We feel and have been told, that we have a lot to offer anybody that is interested and open to learning about this style and our approach to horsemanship. We also feel that it is a benefit for all to have these different levels of experience riding and working together at the same workshop. We’re really all working on the same things, just at different levels of refinement.
Another bit of feedback that we repeatedly hear is how much fun folks obviously have at our workshops. We are all about a low-stress, relaxed, learning environment. This approach, due to its nature, seems to appeal to only a small segment of the riding public, but that segment is definitely made up of some wonderful and amazing individuals. We take our horsemanship, the traditions, and the respect we owe them and our horses seriously, but we try to never take ourselves too seriously. We like to laugh, joke, have fun and enjoy ourselves. Many workshops are set up so that there is a lot of time spent together in the evenings, as a group, sitting around visiting, sharing stories, rehashing the days events and further discussing the nuances and intricacies of the style. Many a strong and lasting friendship have been made at these workshops. Check out our schedule, or contact us, if you are interested in attending one.