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Equine

Take the time- The Natural Horseman

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By Steve Stevens

It is amazing how the lessons horses teach us are never ending if we open our minds and souls to it.

When you train multiple horses at the same time you get different groups. Some groups are easier than others or sometimes as a group they can be more difficult. Sometimes it seems you have a group of more troubled souls—horses that at some point have had a rough start in life. Maybe haven’t been given a fair chance or were pushed too hard at a young age. This creates a lack of trust.

They can be quite like humans in this way. When bad things happen to us, it is hard to move on, to begin again. And if someone has done us wrong, we probably will go into the next situation with some hesitation.

I think it is important for us as humans to put ourselves in our horses’ hooves for a moment. We often expect horses to comprehend things just because we bought them, care for them, and love them.We don’t step outside of the human box and look at it from their side. Horses have such strong instincts for survival that sometimes we may think their reactions are ridiculous and sometimes they can frustrate us and maybe even scare us at times. But they are just doing what they need to do to feel safe or comfortable. It is never personal to them.

They eat when they are hungry, drink when they are thirsty, move when they are scared and play when they feel good.
That is the horse.

Imagine one day you were put in a 10×10 room and twice a day someone gave you water and food. And every blue moon you were taken out of that room, right to a yard where you were made to work to perfection and get whipped, hit and yelled at for every mistake and sometimes no mistake at all. That kind of sounds like prison to me. But imagine if someone took your hand gently and took you somewhere every day to exercise and play then asked you to work alongside them as partners.I don’t know about you but I would choose the latter. And I would dedicate myself to that relationship.

Spending time with this group of horses, you obviously have to do the basic training. But I think it is also important—maybe the most important thing—to just be with them. Pet them, sit with them, hang with them. Don’t ask them to do anything. Just enjoy their presence and allow them to learn to enjoy yours.

Steve and Special. (Photos courtesy of Steven and Amanda Stevens)

Steve and Special. (Photos courtesy of Steven and Amanda Stevens)

Imagine if every time you go to the neighbor’s house for dinner they ask you to fix something or to help move something. You might quit wanting to go there. It is the same for the horse.

It is a hard thing to do when you are busy with life’s hectic schedule, especially when you have horse training goals in mind. But maybe if we just hung out with our horses a little more they might want to hang out with us more.

Sometimes horses just need to learn to be with the human with no agenda.
To Just Be.

Amanda and Goose.

Amanda and Goose.

When I sit with the horses I realize that it is easy for me to do that with them as this is something I have practiced for many years. To tell you the truth, it is one of my favorite things in the world to do. Just being next to a horse makes me feel enlightened. So I can do it for hours.

But they make me think about how hard it can be to sit and take that time with my wife and children. We are always going a hundred miles an hour. But the horses remind me, when I see how just hanging out with them with no perceived notions, how comfortable they can get and how much they enjoy my company, how important and necessary it is to do that with my family. I love them more than life itself, but it is hard sometimes to just take the time and hang out.

That is the true gift of the horse—the lessons they teach us if we listen.

So as I promise to you the readers that I am going to spend more time with my family just listening and relaxing with them, I ask you to make the extra effort to just take a little more time with your horse and just hang.

Goose showing Amanda some love.

Goose showing Amanda some love.

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Equine

Women in Rodeo

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By Krista Lucas Wynn

As female sports come under fire in 2024, the same can not be said for the sport of rodeo. The western industry is not short of talented, strong cowgirls. The Women’s Rodeo World Championship, presented by the World Champions Rodeo Alliance and the Professional Bull Riders, is the world’s richest women’s rodeo with a guaranteed payout of $750,000.

The week-long event showcases women competing in barrel racing, breakaway roping and team roping. The WRWC is the culmination of professionals and challengers alike who have qualified by a point system, held May 13-18 at Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas, and the championship round is at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Competitors are nominated at any event throughout the year to earn points leading up to the WRWC.

To read more, pick up a copy of the June issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Equine

The American

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By Krista Lucas Wynn

The American Western Weekend on March 8-9 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, was a weekend full of rodeo competition that fans looked forward to for the past 10 years. The night of the American rodeo is something cowboys and cowgirls have worked hard for, in order to have a chance to win a $1,000,000 prize.

The top five from the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo were invited to compete alongside five contenders. The invitees were vying for a $100,000 paycheck for first place, and if a qualifier won their event and was the only qualifier to do so, he or she walked away with $1,000,000.

In the bareback riding, Kade Sonnier, Keenan Hayes, Jess Pope, and Tilden Hooper made it out of the long round of 10 to advance to the final four-shootout round. WNFR qualifier, Sonnier, made a 90.5-point ride on Agent Lynx to win the $100,000.

To read more, pick up a copy of the May issue of NTFR. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Equine

The Cowboy Culture

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By Phillip Kitts

The mystique and imagined glory of the rodeo road call many young people’s names. As they grow up, they watch the greats of the sport run from rodeo to rodeo and occasionally land on the television giving the perception of the rockstar lifestyle.

No, the glory of the rodeo road is not as grand as, say, the National Football League or the National Basketball Association, but being an athlete competing in front of the yellow chutes of Vegas is just as big a deal, and in every way, can be compared to competing in a Super Bowl.
However, things sure are different in the rodeo world. Let us take a minute and talk about what seem to be simple things in life that impact rodeo and rodeo athletes that in no way would make a difference to the big-money sports.

To read more, pick up a copy of the April issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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