May 13th, 2013 / Author: Kate Bradley
With proper equipment to aid both he and his horse, Tyler Magnus makes a successful roping run.
Rope horse trainer and competitor Tyler Magnus lends his expertise to the June issue’s “Synch Before You Swing,” starting on page 65. In the article, Magnus provides way to better your roping ability through improved horsemanship and properly adjusted equipment. The Mason, Texas, horseman helps all levels of ropers and their horses to improve through clinics at his ranch and through his television show on RFD-TV.
Position the tie-down between the corner of the mouth and jaw bone, says Tyler Magnus.
Here, this nine-time National Finals Rodeo-qualifier and two-time NFR average winning heeler opens up about two of the most important pieces of equipment a roper uses to compete. In the first video, Magnus describes the different tie-down he uses and why a specific type can benefit a horse.
“The tie-down is for balance; it is a tool,” Magnus says. “I hear from old timers all the time, and I grew up thinking this too, that they wouldn’t own a horse that had to have a tie down. Well, I don’t own a horse I can’t take the tie down off of. If I want to go rope, then I put it on, and if I want to go outside to ride or work cows, then I take it off.”
Whether a leather noseband or rawhide covered in leather, the nose band can improve the balance point the horse uses to make a fast turn.
Magnus focuses on correcting the equipment before roping pens of steers. Without correct equipment to aid a run, the horse and rider work against each other.
The more you have to use your left hand [to pull the reins] the less you can use your right to rope,” he says. “In a nutshell, the more you can get a horse to do for you the less you have to worry about.”
In this video, Magnus talks about common bits he uses on a variety of rope horses.
For more with Tyler Magnus, pick up a June issue of Western Horseman, visit TylerMagnus.com.
April 8th, 2013 / Author: Kate Bradley
It is interesting where the story ideas for everything from a feature to a section article can come from. Western Horseman has a small staff, though we try our best to cover all regions of the Western world. Through trips and the contacts we make, often one of the editors receives a call about a great horseman, craftsman or other article candidate. While not all work out, one particular idea made it into our May issue.
Danny Stephens is a successful rope horse trainer and skillful bronze sculptor. His work is featured in “Clay and Calves” starting on page 109. I learned about Danny while purchasing feed at my local store, Needville Feed. Mr. Nulisch often tells me jokingly to run an article on him, and that would be entertaining, but this trip he told me about Danny. I competed in high school and youth rodeo with Mr. Nulisch’s daughter, and his son graduated a few years ahead of us. Mr. Nulisch’s son had a horse in training with Danny, and I looked into both the roping and sculpting background of this potential source.
What I found was an accomplished 65-year-old humble, south Texas cowboy who studied sculpting techniques not at art school, but under the watchful eye of Jim Reno, a Texas legend himself. It took little time to pitch the article and then visit Danny on a trip to my parents home near Bay City, where Danny lives.
I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with Danny and his wife, Jimmie, that hot, muggy day. I learned his artistic process and he roped a few calves for us. More over, Danny’s enthusiasm for both aspects of his lifestyle stuck with me far after the interview.
“I try to tell a story with every piece,” Danny says. “I try to do more than just a big wreck, you know? The goal is to try to preserve what the cowboy looks like right now. I enjoy the horse business as much as my art, and it has given me ideas for my [sculpture] subjects. I’m not as well known as some of the other guys because I’ve been training and riding horses since I was small and I truly love it. I wouldn’t trade what I’ve done.”
Take time to read about Danny Stephens, his art and his life in the May issue. I for one will hear about Mr. Nulisch’s great idea for years to come, I’m sure. But, it goes to show that ideas and inspiration can come from anywhere, even at the feed store.
Hear Danny discuss advice he received from Jim Reno and his goal with each sculpture in the video below. (Photos by Ross Hecox)
To subscribe to Western Horseman, click HERE. For more information on Danny Stephens’ art, contact him at dannystephensbronze at hotmail.com.
March 11th, 2013 / Author: Kate Bradley
The April issue of Western Horseman features a gulf coast day-working cowboy named Marty Rosenquest. Marty’s story is interesting, and one that we at the magazine love to spotlight. Though he didn’t grow up horseback, Marty makes his living working ranches that range from 100 to 10,000 acres in the Victoria to Wharton, Texas, area.
Along the way, Marty formed M&M Cattle Company, a ranch rodeo team that is now well known in the competitive arena. In 2008, the team’s best year overall, Marty won at least five top hand awards at ranch rodeos such as the San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo. Their success continued, but 2013 is looking to be another banner year for the members of the M&M team.
“We still hold our own and do pretty good,” Marty says. “I love to rope, though I don’t team rope anymore. I’ve had lots of little tricks that gave us an edge, but everybody’s learned my little tricks. It’s very competitive now.”
But, M&M is hanging in there with the competition. Already the cowboys claimed the top title at the San Antonio ranch rodeo qualifying them to compete against full-time operations like the Bell and Tongue River ranches at the Champion Ranch Rodeo last Saturday, March 9, at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. The top three teams from the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo and the Houston LIvestock Show & Rodeo ranch rodeos vie for the overall champion title.
While M&M didn’t take home the win Saturday night, they did place second in the Invitational County Ranch Rodeo earlier in the day. Marty and team members Cole Applegate, Cody Cerny and Cody Rosenquest, Marty’s son, gave their all in the champion event. Josh Baros joined the Rosenquests and Applegate in the county ranch rodeo. Here are a few photos of the M&M team on their way to the second place finish in the Invitational County Ranch Rodeo.
Cole Applegate has the "wild cow's" tail, Josh Baros is barely discernible on the head, and Cody Rosenquest has the rope while Marty milks at the Houston ranch rodeo.
Be sure to read Marty’s story in “Gulf Coast Cowboy” starting on page 68 of the April issue. You can watch the M&M Cattle Company compete at the All-Around Ranch Rodeo Challenge in Glen Rose, Texas, June 6-8.
For complete results from the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo ranch rodeos, visit rodeohouston.com.
March 6th, 2013 / Author: Kate Bradley
Gaucho. Kuhhirt. Cowboy. No matter the name, the competitive spirit is the same. At the 2013 American Quarter Horse Association Versatility Ranch Horse World Championship held during the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, two international riders represented the reach of Western stock horse culture.
Andre Weber traveled from his ranch near Baden-Baden, Germany, to compete in Houston, Texas, aboard a horse he had only ridden for one week prior to the show. From the south, Alvaro Lucena traveled from Argentina to compete in both the open and amateur divisions on two different horses. Both men represent not only their countries, but the growing interest in stock horse competition.
Andre Weber and Josephs Catchem All compete in ranch trail.
“This is the second year I come here to show,” Lucena says. “We qualify in Argentina, but it is very complicated to bring horses here. I am riding a very nice mare [The Queens Pistol] that I rode last year, and the gelding is from Mozaun McKibben. I am very happy with the horses I got to show here.”
Lucena, like Weber, traveled to the US shortly before the show and practiced on the mounts he would ride. Lucena placed 11th in the world on Show Biz Sug, owned by McKibben, and finished 12th aboard Balance Ranch’s The Queens Pistol in the open.
Alvaro Lucena and Show Biz Sug make a cut in amateur ranch cutting.
The short time to ride was not daunting for Weber. He rode Josephs Catchem All, owned by Jimbo Humphreys, to the reserve world championship in the amateur division.
“I enjoyed myself at the show,” Weber says. “I like this big horse very much; he is incredible. I always thought big horses may be hard to turnaround, but he knows how to work and manage his body.”
Weber won the ranch riding and ranch conformation on his way to the reserve title. It is the third year he competed in the event. The first year, he rode a horse furnished by Kim Lindsey of Dickens, Texas, and the second and third years Humphreys furnished the mounts.
“I don’t really have to help him out much,” Humphreys says of Weber. “Andre comes over about a week before and just rides. I point out what cues work best for the horse, but he knows what he is doing.”
Weber receives the amateur ranch riding first place.
Indeed, Weber raises Angus and Quarter Horses on his German ranch. He and his wife compete in versatility competitions in Germany, and 8 years ago founded a ranch horse club affiliated with AQHA.
“We have up to 25 in the open and 25 competing in the amateur,” he says. “We started a beginner class so that people who have no idea about it can learn. I’ve always liked the cowboy but the show horse riding is not my deal. I want a horse that can do everything because it helps you during your work outside. It makes a horse relaxed and open-minded.”
Lucena’s motivation for involvement in stock horse and versatility shows sounds similar to Webers—enlightenment and enjoying the horse. In fact, McKibben traveled to Argentina three years ago to conduct a 10-day versatility clinic at Lucena’s home. It was a unique learning experience for all involved.
“The people are so warm, friendly and open,” McKibben says. “When we first got down there, we couldn’t find a rope in the whole of Argentina! We had to call home and ship one, but it wound up being their favorite thing. They love roping. Since that trip, I’ve become good friends with Alvaro. He’s a good guy and is really good for the sport.”
The sport of versatility may be relatively new to Argentina, Lucena says the first versatility show was held in 2011 and only two were held in 2012, but he feels it speaks to the heart of the gaucho—Argentina’s cowboy.
“We are in a period of needing to teach the Argentine people,” he says. “We need to introduce the class to gauchos, and then we can all learn. We are working very hard to introduce the competition. It is important to show the work we do and to look for a complete [working] horse. Not only a reining or cutting horse, but a complete horse.”
Lucena prepares to rope in the amateur working ranch horse class.
Each man takes home not only ribbons from the world show, but also new riding skills and friends within the stock horse industry. Soon, the Western world may get smaller as the international community embraces and promotes the versatile stock horse.
For complete results from the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championship Show, visit aqha.com For information on the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo’s horse events, visit rodeohouston.com
February 14th, 2013 / Author: Kate Bradley
Kansas clinician Kerry Kuhn had an epiphany. After years of working with horses, from unbroke 2-year-olds to problem older horses, he developed a halter than enables him to better communicate with a horse. Now, Kuhn starts all horses in this nylon halter with three independent rings, allowing for movement and increased pressure to signal the horse.
While a full description of Kuhn’s versatile training halter is featured in the March issue’s “Essential Gear” on pages 38 and 39, you have an opportunity to listen to Kuhn discuss how the halter works as a more beneficial sidepull.
In February, YOU have a chance to WIN this black halter! Here’s how you do it: Leave a comment on this blog stating why this halter would be useful or why you want to win it; remember only positive comments will be included in the raffle. At the end of the month, we will select one random commenter to receive the training halter.
Watch this exclusive video from Kerry Kuhn below, then sign in and leave a comment to WIN!
Good luck! For more information on the halter, read the March issue of Western Horseman. You can find more information on the horseman at kerrykuhn.com.
February 4th, 2013 / Author: Kate Bradley
Stuart Bozeman experienced a world championship show that most riders can only dream about. The 30-year-old Idalou, Texas, horseman won five championships at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions in San Angelo, Texas. The best part for Stuart, all five titles were on his gelding, “Squiggy.”
Merada In Style 09, left, and Shiney Pixie Dust made Stuart Bozeman's first NRCHA Celebration of Champions memorable.
Registered as Merada In Style 09, Squiggy and Stuart teamed up in May 2012. For most of his life, Stuart competed in cutting horse events, and he even apprenticed to become a professional trainer after college. However, a health problem with his father brought Stuart home to work the family farm seven years ago. He didn’t leave the horses behind, though, and continued to ride and show.
Stuart spent the next few years showing cutting horses in aged events, and had good success. In 2011, his good cutting horse was hurt. During that time, Stuart’s mom, Susan, sent him to a Don Murphy clinic to learn to ride a cow horse. Stuart took his Shiners Lena Doc daughter, Shiney Pixie Dust, who was not finished in any portion of the cow horse. Though he enjoyed the clinic, it wasn’t until his second visit to Murphy Ranch that he got hooked on cow horses.
“Don kept putting me on trained, finished horses. I hadn’t ridden a finished horse until that weekend,” Stuart says. “I didn’t know what I was doing and I wasn’t sure I wanted to learn it, but I went to ride anyway. Don called me ‘Karate Chop Kid’ because I didn’t know what I was doing but I gave it my all. The next time I went, Don put me on Eric Storey’s Red One Time, and sent me down the fence. He yelled to put my hand down, and that fence turn hooked me.
“I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was hooked. Don also made me spin that horse. And on the second spin, I screamed. I’d never been on anything that could turn like that. I felt like a total moron that weekend, but I love working horses and I was having fun doing it.”
Stuart’s first time to ride a finished cow horse was in March 2012, and little did he know less than a year later he’d win multiple world championships in the same event. It was a short road to the top, but one with many twists.
Stuart and “Pixie Dust” began to show in earnest after their visit to Murphy’s ranch. Murphy continued to coach the duo, and eventually, suggested he purchase a 3-year-old, Squiggy.
“I rode [Squiggy] for a month almost before I bought him,” Stuart says. “I really didn’t like him at first, but he was really going good. I really like the way he stops, but he is a really lazy horse. He wants you to show him what to do and leave him alone.”
As the horses progressed, Stuart says he began to understand Pixie Dust took much more riding and Squiggy was completely opposite. The young bay gelding was all business in the show pen. Both horse qualified for the Celebration of Champions.
“I didn’t realize when I entered that each class had a first run and finals. So, I had to make four separate runs,” he says. “I did real good on Squiggy, winning every divisions of the non-pro and amateur. We won every go-round but one.”
Stuart won the amateur derby, level 1 limited open, non-pro derby, intermediate non-pro and novice non-pro divisions. In other words, he made a clean sweep.
“There’s not a lot of horses I’d pick to ride over Squiggy,” he says. “I get excited about riding him. I don’t think I’ve touched what this horse is capable of yet, because he’s really only had about a year of riding.”
The duo have their sights set on competing in NRCHA and Stock Horse of Texas shows, and Stuart says cutting is always an option.
“I’m sure it will be very hard to ever top this [show] again,” he says. “My goal is to get the most I can out of every horse I ride. When you can ride one like Squiggy, its exciting.”
For more information on NRCHA Celebration of Champions winners, visit nrcha.com.
January 25th, 2013 / Author: Kate Bradley
Whether you ride on the trail, work cattle on a ranch or are a seasoned competitor, the need to show off your skills can be the same. Often, the competition itself can be the catalyst for improving your horsemanship.
The Best of the West Ranch Rodeo at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo brought together some of the top cowboys from working ranches across Texas and New Mexico. Kris Wilson of the Silver Spur Ranches Bell Ranch lead his team to a third place finish overall, and Kye Fuston won Top Hand. The third place finish earned the team a spot at the Texas state ranch rodeo finals to be held in March at the Houston LIvestock Show and Rodeo. Wilson is no stranger to horse shows, ranch rodeos and contending for prizes. In the video below, he talks about how competing helps the Bell Ranch crew stay on top of their game.
While the ranch rodeo commanded attention in the FWSSR coliseum, the American Quarter Horse Association and National Reined Cow Horse Association working cow horse classes wowed audiences in the John Justin Arena across the road. Clinician Chris Cox showed he could not only start a young horse but also finish and show an older horse in the working cow horse. Though Chris hit his elbow on the horn during the run, which made his arm go numb, he competed well. In the video below, he spoke about the need to compete in order to help your horsemanship and training skills, no matter what age horses you were working with.
Competition can be fun and friendly, a means in which you set a goal to achieve for you and your horse, or it can be a dreaded event that knocks you down instead of helping you to grow as a rider. Take a few notes from the ranch or the arena, and use competition to your advantage.
January 17th, 2013 / Author: Kate Bradley
Each year, the Chisholm Challenge offers riders with special needs the chance to compete in one of the most prestigious arenas in horse show competition. The John Justin Arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas, has been home to cutting events, the American Quarter Horse Association’s Youth World Championship Show, the Appaloosa Horse Club’s world show and the American Paint Horse Association’s world shows. It is fitting that dedicated riders with special needs take part in the first event to unofficially kickoff the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo—the Chisholm Challenge.
The 2013 show marked the 10th anniversary for the event that has touched so many lives, rider, instructor, volunteer and spectator alike. This year, 10 riding teams from therapeutic riding centers around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and one team from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, brought a squad of riders for the two-day show. The centers are all PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International) certified, ensuring safety and professionalism.
Events range from speed events like barrel racing to English and Western Equitation, and even trail and a driving class. AQHA offers an official point-qualifying day where riders can show in showmanship, trail, hunt seat equitation and Western horsemanship, and the class is held as a walk-trot or walk, trot and canter.
There is a dedicated team working year-round to produce the event, and a committee of volunteers is led by General Manager Cheril Becker, Show Secretary Mary Gwinner and Events Coordinator Karen Schrepel, and many more.
“Competitors receive the official FWSSR rosette, and class winners receive a custom made Gist belt buckle just like other horse shows,” says Schrepel. “Many riders repeat year after year. The youngest is 8 years old, the minimum riding age, and this year the oldest rider we have is 57.
“Over the 10 years we have tweaked it. We have sections for the riding centers to sit in all around the arena. It adds an element of team spirit even though the riders are riding for individual awards.”
Patty Simon Tiberg, group publisher at Cowboy Publishing, awards a Western horsemanship winner.
Fittingly, the theme for 2013 was “Decade of Excellence,” and excellence was showcased in every class. Trail class judge Michael Richardson is no stranger to competing or to facing challenges. Richardson was featured in the April 2011 Western Horseman. In 1986, Richardson was involved in a Jeep roll-over accident that left him a paraplegic, yet, he continues to work with horses as a professional clinician. This was his ninth year to judge.
“Coming at it from my point of view, I’m not judging harder than others, but want my score to reflect the rider’s effort,” he says. “It is great to see many of these riders grow up. This show is fabulous.”
Spectators can view class levels ranging from assisted, where a handler or spotter walks with the rider, to fully inclusive, where the rider competes on their own. Spectators and volunteers alike realize the importance of these riders showcasing their skills on a big stage.
“Our volunteers are repeaters,” Schrepel says. “It is fulfilling to watch these riders and to lend a hand.”
The competition was held Monday, January 14, through Wednesday, January 16. Watching the horse and rider teams compete, it is obvious the connection many riders share with their mount. In addition to rider awards, a top horse award—the Carrot Award—is given to the horse that exemplified a loyal, willing animal. The award began in 2006. Horses are truly a means of freedom for many riders.
For more information on the show, visit ChisholmChallenge.com.
December 27th, 2012 / Author: Kate Bradley
Photographs convey emotion, tell a story and often bring to mind a great memory. In celebration of 2012, I’m listing a few of my favorite images that ran this past year. I hope you all had a joyous holiday and a prosperous 2013.
Mary Bell Cooksley, "Women of the West," January 2012
I traveled to Nebraska for two articles, one with Mary Bell Cooksley and another with rancher Pete Becker who will appear below. Mary Bell was a wonderful host, interesting subject and a true inspiration. Her family has one of the most beautiful herds of purebred Shorthorn cattle in the country. Unfortunately, Mary Bell passed away in October 2011, before seeing her article published. She was 91. We published the article as a tribute to a true Western woman.
Pete Becker Ranch in Ashby, Nebraska, is home to some of the most beautiful horses I’ve ever seen. They are built to be solid working horses, and running the Sandhills surely helps them build muscle. Mr. Becker took me around his ranch all day, calling me his “pardner” and giving me an amazing lesson in ranching bloodlines. This portrait of Mr. Becker still makes me smile. He is riding a ranch-raised son of Tanquery Gin, and the green you see is that vivid in real life.
Pete Becker, "Ranchlands: Sandhills Raised," March 2012
Alie McKee, pictured below, was one of the sweetest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. She and her husband, Jeff, work on the historic Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita, California. Senior Editor Jennifer Denison interviewed Alie for the article, but my travels allowed me to photograph her in front of the original San Luis Obispo mission barn. It was a wonderful backdrop.
Alie McKee, "Women of the West," August 2012
Martin Black and Chris Cox, "A Festival of Horsemanship," April 2012
It is not every day you have the opportunity to photograph Idaho horseman Martin Black riding alongside Texan Chris Cox, yet that is what I was able to do. In San Luis Obispo, California, photographing and gathering material for the upcoming Horsemen’s Re-union event in April 2012, I witnessed both men working with young horses, driving herds across pastures and riding together daily. The simple action in this image and the concentration on their faces always takes me back to that trip.
C.R. Bradley and I share the same last name, but we are not related. Yet, I felt a kinship working with him on the how-to article for the “Hands-On Horseman” section. We both appreciated the beautiful gray stallion used in the photograph below. Ima Tuff Bueno belongs to Oregon’s Coyote Rock Ranch, and is everything a successful roping horse should be–fast and powerful. C.R. told me to shoot wherever I needed, so I climbed up on the roping chute. The cattle weren’t thrilled, but the angle let me capture the moment C.R. and the stallion launched from the roping box.
C.R. Bradley and Ima Tuff Bueno, "Better in the Box," June 2012
Cow horse trainer Jake Telford ran at least two dozen circles the morning I shot the image below. This angle, the horse’s leg position and lighting were exactly what I was hoping to capture. A good sport, the roan stallion wasn’t fazed loping mere feet from my camera. And, I have to say, I wasn’t all that worried knowing Telford was at his helm. He wouldn’t run me over, right? This ran as a two-page spread opening the training article I wrote with Telford, “Circle Strategy,” in the December issue.
Jake Telford, "Circle Strategy," December 2012
Finally, a photograph I loved was chosen as the cover image for our sister publication, Barrel Horse News, annual Stallion Register. Frenchmans Guy was the subject of the September feature, “Time Tested.” The beautiful palomino was not a hard subject to shoot.
Frenchmans Guy was featured in the September 2012 Western Horseman article "Time Tested."
Here’s to a happy 2013 for all our Western Horseman readers!
December 21st, 2012 / Author: Kate Bradley