I wanted to introduce you to my current team of horses, as they are such a huge and important part of my life.
MAX ~ Meet, Max. He is my rock. My main man. I purchased Max from a local sale as a yearling, so I’m pretty much responsible for all the highs and lows we’ve gone through. Thanks to his generosity and steady nature, our journey has been mostly highs. Max is now 19, which means he has been with me through all the years I’ve been teaching. During those years, I have continued to learn from the many great horses and people I’ve been blessed to work with, so Max has also been the recipient of all the changes in my learning curve. Every time I would learn something new, he was the one I would try it on. When I was cowboying full time, he was my main horse; when I was picking up, he was my go to horse; and when I began to refine my work, it was always him I would try and sort things through with. Thinking back, I’m sure the poor guy could tell by the way I was walking out to the field that I was about to change the rules again and was up to something new! He was there for me through it all, when life was easy and tough, and he was always the same kind, unflappable guy. That steadiness has taken me through so much of my life, and I am forever grateful for the depth of this horse. Too often, we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone, so I am consciously thankful that Max and I are still together trying to sort things out and get a little better every day.
BENTLEY ~ I am currently also working with Bentley, a 7 year quarter horse. Well, I guess I should say that I was working with Bently until my daughter Taylor stole him! Bentley is a bred cutting horse, small and stocky with the biggest heart. He adores my daughter and they have become extremely close. He is a well-schooled horse who is working nicely in the two-rein, but with my daughter now doing such great work with him, I don’t think I will be the one taking him into the full bridle!
CRUZADO ~ I think every trainer should work with horses that are easy for them, along with some that are extremely challenging. This balance allows us to feel confident but also be pushed to the edge so we are constantly learning new skills to refine our abilities. To date, my Andalusian Cruz has been the biggest challenge I have had the privilege of working with. In one moment, I feel like we are achieving great things, and in the next I am losing sleep trying to sort him out! The greatest thing about Cruz is his indomitable spirit, which will simply not be broken. He is a proud and honorable horse who is willing to work with you, but it has to be on mutual terms. True to his Iberian nature, Cruz is sensitive and extremely expressive, but he is also prone to being fearful. When you combine all of that with his sheer athleticism, he can be a whole lot of horse to handle! When I get it right and all his energy is working with me, it’s a phenomenal experience, but even now, when his energy is coming from his fear, it looks like his first ride! He is truly a joy, a privilege, and at this point my greatest teacher.
PORTIA ~ Also in my lineup is Portia, a super cool little quarter horse whom I truly love working with. She is the only mare in my crew right now as I have found I only have enough room in my heart for one mare at a time! She is a kind horse who always tries her hardest to be good and take care of her rider, but in the same breath is not afraid to tell you how she thinks and feels. I have always been fond of mares, as there is a depth about them that is different than the geldings. This is not something that I can explain but it is something I have always enjoyed. Portia is at her best working cattle or being out on the trail, as she can get bored with arena work. It’s important to find a balance to honour her mind in this way, as this allows her to be and give her best.
As a trainer I have found that the more horses I can work with, the better I come to understand horses in general. This has been one of the greatest privileges of teaching clinics, as it has allowed me to see literally thousands of different horses. But working with other people’s horses at clinics is a different experience that working with my own, because those horses are reflecting the struggles of other riders. This is why I feel the need to always have a bunch of horses going myself, as it allows me to constantly see myself through them and continue to grow in my own horsemanship journey.
I hope you have enjoyed hearing about my horses — maybe you will see them someday at a clinic near you!
Love this Josh! Thanks you for sharing. One of the most profound clinics I’ve taken was when I worked with Max. Terrified to “mess” him up…my mind talking…not my heart it was amazing to step into the arena and see that there were things I didn’t get, but more importantly there were many things I did.
So blessed over the years to have gotten the chance to watch you with all these horses and to see the way you accept them for them. Same as you do for your students and all that cross your path.
This might be my favourite blog post yet! 😉
Aww Josh. Love reading this. Thank you for sharing you and your horses.
Thoroughly enjoyed this. It is nice to see what you, personally are doing. Thanks Josh
Josh, thank for sharing stories about your relationship with your herd. It is clear to see how much you appreciate their individual characters – and what makes them happy partners.
I can see some of my own horses in your descriptions – especially Max. The steady friend that is always there for you. You remind me that I must never overlook my steady Bling when a younger or more challenging horse takes away my focus and energy.
Such lovely kind words you have for your team. 🙂
i have the pleasure on knowing or having met these lovely horses. They make you happy just being in their presence. I know you could have included many more. Kat and Hannah. I loved Hannah and Willy are just a few. Yes, you do have a soft heart for mares. I see it when you work with them. I like them the best. I don’t know why because they are bossy, but they tell you the truth.