Some random words of thought..

hello friends,

Here’s something that might give you some pause for thought.. Please let me know what ya think.. I also want to let you know that the new round pen video is at the printer and should be back in a few weeks! Stay tuned…

Here ya goooo..

The keys to being a good horseman and trainer…


  Not long ago my apprentice ask me the question… “ What is the most important thing you can teach me to become a good trainer and horseman?”  It took some thought, sole searching, and recollection of the things I’ve learned over the years to give her an answer but here goes…


Through the years, I’ve come to realize that the keys to being good with horses does not lie entirely in the sums of acquired knowledge of training principals, or the tutelage received from the all knowing masters of horse training. The keys to obtaining the level of wisdom and to truly be one with the horse come from the deepest darkest parts of your sole and your experiences in life. It is how you see, interact, and judge, your self, your horse, and others, against the perceived realities of the world around you. And how you manage the turmoil within yourself.  This is how the horse will see you, respond, and work, (or not work) for you.


Horses are remarkable creatures in that they can look into the eyes of you, “The predator” and instantly know if they can trust you with their life. They will not prejudge or hold a grudge if they cannot.  They will willingly accept you as the leader if you have their respect and their confidence as the protector of the herd, their life, and their existence on this earth.


People that have not had or lived through a profound life changing or emotional experience and know the true meaning of what life is all about, cannot become true horsemen.  If you do not know, or haven’t seen your life for how truly simple it is, and cannot give a part yourself, or your knowledge, without judgment, for the betterment of the others in the heard, you cannot appreciate or comprehend what it takes to really know the horse.


I’ve talked with horseman and women that truly have a gift with horses. Virtually all are at peace with themselves and all creatures, including the rest of the bipeds.  All have witnessed and faced death, the miracle of life, and they know that it all can change in an instant. One bad kick, bad argument, bad war, relationship, or decision made for some self-serving mission or concept of reality.


The horse is one with his herd and his environment.  He will do his part to continue his existence and that of his species.  It’s a simple forgiving life.  The horse has no concept of human emotions.  He knows nothing about love, revenge, hate, time, responsibility, perfection, prejudice, or production.  He knows only two… The only two perfect unchanging concepts of emotion and human reality, living and dieing. These two concepts manifest themselves in the horse as “forgiveness and fear”.  Trainers or horse people that base their training on other human concepts will not succeed in training or horsemanship.  If they cannot accept and let go of their distrust, anger, jealousy, control, and preconceived ideas of life, love, sacrifice, time, and how we live life on this earth, they will never know or experience a true willing partnership with the horse or the humans in their lives.

Learn to forgive yourself, your horse, and others for their imperfections. Do not fear yesterday or tomorrow. Or get balled up over those things that you cannot change, were unsuccessful, needs more work, or simply forgotten.  Just be patient, and live for today, the best way you can. Be in harmony with yourself, your horse, and the others you share your life with. Have no regrets, and expect no more in return.


Trust the horse and the human to give the same of him as he sees in you and your lives will be better for it…


Then you will be on your way to becoming a horseman. At peace with yourself, your herd, and the world we live in… like your horse.


I’m not a true horseman yet but I work on it every day and I hope this helps you along the way.


About Smokie

Smokie Brannaman grew up on a 5000-acre horse and cattle ranch in Southwestern Montana. Working with horses, cattle and rodeoing as a professional trick roper was his way of life as a youngster. Upon graduating from high school, Smokie chose to serve his country in the United State Coast Guard. Although his military duties did not always allow much time to spend with his horses, he never the less, rode and trained horses of his own and others throughout his military career. Smokie retired in 2000 from the Coast Guard and worked as a Corporate Operations Manager for a security company. But he soon realized that his true enjoyment came from being around horses, training, riding and helping others with their horses. After working for 2 years as a stable manager for a large boarding stable, Smokie hired on at Ots Sunrise Farm to work with the young horses halter breaking, ground work and starting horses under saddle to progress to more advanced training. Smokie started his own business, Horseman’s Services Limited, llc in 2006 and now works full time as an educator of the horse and rider. Smokie utilizes the training methods of his brother Buck Brannaman, Jeff Griffith, and others, as well as his own techniques learned during a lifetime of working with horses. Smokie is a published author of two books about horses and their riders, Whisper This… Not to your horse, to yourself, and his newest book Equiknowlogy 101… and numerous horse training DVDs. Smokie lives in Greenleaf Wisconsin with his sweetie Vickie, and has three grown children, Kat, Travis and Jason. He raises and trains registered quarter horses of his own, which he uses as, Cavalry horses for his hobby, Civil War reenacting, and performing in Wild West Shows throughout the Midwest.
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