It is with great anticipation that we again
offer the equestrian public this new and innovative concept and format in the
teaching of horsemanship for the seventh year. As all of us have traveled
around the country teaching at clinics and equine expositions we hear the same
comments. “Ok, you have shown us how to start a young horse, now what?” or “This
is great to see such an advanced horse but how do we get there?”
listening to the needs of our horse
public the four of us decided to
form a group of horseman in a clinic
will take you from “Birth to the
Each of these clinicians are unique and committed to their particular field of
teaching and training. One of the
things that they all have in common and will
stress in their presentations, is the use
and development of “LIGHTNESS.”
“LIGHTNESS” is their
cornerstone, it is what all 9 clinicians strive for
from their “first touch thru advanced training”. You
will see “lightness” from the hand held touch of a
lead line to the hand and rein communication of the
advanced horse and rider.
Light Hands Horsemanship 2012 Continues to Thrill
2012 was the 6th year for Light Hands Horsemanship (LHH) and like previous years it sold out early. The world is learning that Light Hands Horsemanship is an unequaled opportunity to learn from some of the top clinicians in the world. It spanned the globe again this year with attendees from Canada, Australia, Hungary, Mexico, Denmark, UK, Switzerland, Austria and Scotland.
People attended from 16 states as well. It is a small, intimate event that gives attendees the chance to meet and talk one-on-one with the presenters, ask their individual questions and learn how to improve their communication with their horse.
All the presenters at Light Hands Horsemanship are unique in their background, their techniques and their approach. But they are very consistent in their focus and goal of creating “lightness” in their horses. Lightness is the cornerstone if this event. It is what each presenter strives for from the first time they touch a horse through that horse’s advanced training. Attendees are taught about creating lightness in horses from beginning work, introductory work, advanced work and the finishing stages.
Featured in 2012 were presenters Dr. Robert Miller and Rick Lamb. Both gave lectures throughout the event. Eitan Beth-Halachmy, Richard Winters, Jon Ensign, Lester Buckley and Jack Brainard returned.
Light Hands Horsemanship was fortunate to add Sheila Varian and Leslie Desmond to the lineup last year. Sheila shared her Vaquero Horsemanship knowledge and Leslie was a perfect fit for LHH since her main goal is “to teach others how to teach their students to develop a reliable partnership that is based on feel.”
Each of these presenters is very accomplished and more information about each can be found by clicking here. More importantly, each presenter at Light Hands Horsemanship is an excellent teacher. They all have an innate ability to explain a concept, point out subtleties in movement and horse behavior, to simplify the complex and all with a sense of humor and lots of entertainment.
There is no doubt people come to Light Hands Horsemanship each year to learn how to create lightness in their horse too. But there’s more to the event than horses. There is a Museum of the Cowboy Tour and a tour of the Intrepid Museum Collection. Every day features Santa Maria Style BBQ with treats like Kobe burgers, oak grilled prime rib, white cheddar and sage popovers and endless popcorn, tea, water and coffee.
Tall Tales is now an annual event where the presenters share stories, tell jokes and have fun with each other and the audience. There was also a sing-a-long this year. Richard Winters does a Sunday morning service each year as well.
Spalding Labs has sponsored Light Hands Horsemanship since the very first year. Through products like Fly Predators, Fly Traps and Bye Bye Odor, Spalding Labs provides the tools needed for healthier and happier horses. Through ongoing support of Light Hands Horsemanship, Spalding Labs provides the means to a healthier and happier relationship too.
How do you create the
“lightness?”. Join us May 30-June 2, 2013 in the
beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. These nine clinicians
are “MASTERS OF LIGHTNESS.” They will teach you,
share their knowledge and create a desire in you to
know more, to learn more. It promises to be a
weekend not easily forgotten.
"Light hands offers the ability to reach the
horse's body through his mind; it's a
greeting of sorts, a handshake of the
"When a horse
is taught to balance himself and not rely on
the rider's hands to hold him in frame,
lightness occurs." Light hands represent the
highest achievement between horse and rider.
Horsemanship.... where you are a "guest, not
Cornerstone Clinicians of Light Hands Horsemanship.
Robert M Miller
Dr. Robert M. Miller is
a world renowned speaker and author on Horse
Behavior and Natural Horsemanship. He is also father
of the revolutionary foal training technique known
as "imprint training".
In his 30 years as an
equine veterinarian, Dr. Miller has always been an
innovator. Over the past 25 years, he has become a
mentor to natural horsemanship clinicians around the
world. His ability to explain how and why the
clinicians training techniques are so effective has
made him a driving force in the movement towards
better, more humane, AND more effective training of
Beth-Halachmy has long been known for his own unique
style. In his training program he combines classical
dressage and traditional western horsemanship . A
native Israeli with a background in Classical
Dressage he came to this country in 1967 to pursue
an education in veterinary medicine at UC Davis in
California. If you ask him he will tell you he
really came to this country to become an American
Cowboy. He did not actually become a “cowboy” nor
did he become a DVM, but he did become a great
Eitan’s love of all
things western has led him on a horsemanship journey
now widely known and trademarked as Cowboy Dressage.
Part teacher, part entertainer Eitan has been
marching to his own drummer all his life. He is as
unique as his horsemanship. Like many artists he is
not one to stay within the shelter of convention. He
believes in “what works.” His desire for knowledge
and his love for horsemanship were a driving passion
that led him on a remarkable journey to Cowboy
Dressage, a combination of his early learning in
classical dressage and his childhood dream of
cowboys and their horses.
Eitan and his Morgan
Stallion Santa Fe Renegade were selected by the US
to represent them at the 2006 World Equestrian Games
in Aachen, Germany by opening the Closing Ceremony.
The same pair have been asked to take part in the
2010 World Equestrian Games Opening Ceremony and as
a featured clinician here in the US in Lexington,
Buckley grew up in the historic cattle country of
North Texas. He earned his Bachelor of Science
Degree in Equine Science from Sul Ross State
University in Texas, where he was also the
"Outstanding Horse Science Student". While training
horses during college he met Ray Hunt, renowned
horseman and clinician, and that laid the foundation
of all his future horsemanship.
It was the beginning of a life long career in horse
training. From untouched mountain horses in the
Canadian Rockies to top bred, finished show horses,
Lester has trained over 2000 horses in his career.
To show his respect and
appreciation for the horse, he became a committed
lifelong student of the horse. He has studied and
apprenticed under several of the top trainers and
clinicians in the world. Flying back and forth from
the King Ranch in Texas to the Parker Ranch in
Hawaii, two of the largest working cattle ranches in
the World. Lester trained horses for their working
cowboys, as well as for competition and eventually
managed a horse herd of over 400 horses in Hawaii.
Intrigued with the
preciseness and art of the classical horsemanship,
Lester decided to study the fine art of Dressage and
Sport Jumping. He searched to locate the finest
instructors, leading him to travel to Germany where
many of our Olympians train. Currently Lester
studies under Dressage and Jumping Masters there in
Germany and has earned his level IV and III Bronze
Performance Medals respectively.
The Equestrian School
in Germany invites him to offer clinics at the
school, teaching groundwork, basic and advanced
Western Riding as well as problem solving.
With broad theoretical
knowledge and his varied riding and training
experience, he offers a well-rounded understanding
of the nature of the horse and it’s training.
Montana horseman Jon
Ensign offers clinics all over the world to riders
who want establish a connection and partnership with
their horses without using force. With gentle
patience, skill and more than 30 years experience,
Jon trains riders to build a working relationship
with their horses which comes from a deep
understanding of equine thinking, instincts and
In decades of riding, rodeo, and breaking ranch and
cow horses, Jon sensed there was “something better”
to be learned about breaking colts and uniting horse
and rider as a mutually beneficial team. Studying
under Buck Brannaman and other notable horsemen, Jon
developed a method of teaching that has helped
thousands of riders improve their skills and
Jon’s clients include riders committed to
fine-tuning their horsemanship and those ready to
give up on their horses and hang up their reins. Dr.
Robert Miller commends Jon Ensign for having “The
focus, the patience, the softness, the experience,
and the empathy necessary for the optimum
communication with the horse.”
Jon initially began
training riders as a way to help horses he had been
hired to train. He often found that when the horse
returned home, the same old problems between horse
and rider would return.
“In many cases it
wasn’t the horse that needed more training, but the
rider,” Jon said. “I wanted to help people be better
able to help their horses.”
understanding of horses, his ease in communicating
with horse and rider, and his skill and patience as
a teacher have contributed to his gifts as a
clinician. He gives much of the credit to many of
the horsemen who have taught and influenced him,
including Ray Hunt, Brian Neubert, Martin Black,
Jeff Griffith, and of course Brannaman. And he’s
deeply appreciative of the many horses he’s been
privileged to ride and train, calling them all
“amazing…and often misunderstood.
Joining Dr. Robert M. Miller, Eitan
Beth-Halachmy, Lester Buckley, and Jon Ensign, the
four cornerstones of Light Hands Horsemanship
are the following Guest Clinicians
Jack Brainard Back By Popular Demand returns to LHH in 2013 2010 Jack Brainard inducted into the NRHA Hall of Fame
are very excited and honored to have
Legendary Texas Horseman Jack Brainard
as our guest clinician in 2012.
Jack brings with him a wealth of
experience, education and horsemanship.
He is the horsemen's horseman.
Trainer, Breeder, Judge, Leader,
Teacher, Author, Mentor and Friend are
all accurate labels of Jack Brainard of
Tioga, Texas, long known for his
contributions to the equine industry and
his lifelong commitment to horses and
the people who enjoy them. Jack Brainard has bred and trained
horses for over 55 years and judged for
a variety of national horse associations
for over 40 years.
In 1966 Jack Brainard helped organize
the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA)
and served as one of its original
directors. Jack has is also a well
respected author and has written two
popular books: If I Were To Train a
Horse and Cowboys Past, Present &
Jack Brainard, at 87,
still trains his own two-year-olds. Most
days he can be found schooling numerous
horses, teaching students, or traveling
the roads to conduct one of his many
clinics. His students marvel at his
“easy to understand” presentation of the
prerequisites and elements of the
“flying lead change,” his positive and
motivating approach to both horse and
rider, and his never-ending enthusiasm
for doing what he truly loves.
Hands Horsemanship is proud to announce that the popular
TV/Radio Host and Author,
Rick Lamb will be acting as Master of Ceremony at the event for his
7th year. In addition to Rick's yearly duties of MC, in 2013
Rick will also be a guest speaker. He is a wealth of
knowledge and stories that all will greatly enjoy. Rick's
topics will be posted in the near future.
Rick Lamb is best known to
horse lovers around the world as host of The
Horse Show with Rick Lamb on television and
radio. He has also written three books: The
Revolution in Horsemanship (with Dr. Robert
M. Miller), Horse Smarts for the Busy Rider,
and Human to Horseman. He is a
featured presenter at numerous horse expos
each year and permanent host of Road to the
Horse, the popular annual colt-starting
contest. Rick lives in Phoenix, Arizona with
his wife, Diana, and their four horses.
Rick Lamb, well known
author, TV and radio host will also be
a Guest Speaker at LHH again in 2013. Stay
tuned for subjects to be covered.
2009 Winner of
Road to the Horse returns to LHH in 2013
Horsemanship – A Lifelong
For nearly three decades
Richard has dedicated himself to honing his
horsemanship skills and to passing this
knowledge onto others. His vast experience
includes starting literally hundreds of
horses that have gone onto almost every
equine discipline imaginable. Richard's
credentials extend from the rodeo arena and
high dessert ranches of the west, to being a
highly sought after trainer and horsemanship
Richard considers himself a product of many
great horsemen that he has had the privilege
to ride with. The absence of a fixed
destination fuels his passion. “The further
I go in my horsemanship, the further there
is to travel while on this journey!” From
the weekend trail rider to the competitive
world of three day eventing and reined cow
horses, Richard makes it possible for people
to realize their horsemanship dreams.
include World Champion-ship Titles in the
National Reined Cow Horse Association along
with being an A rated judge. Richard’s most
recent accomplishment was making the Limited
Open Finals at the World Championship
Snaffle Bit Futurity in 2008. Richard also
earned the Reserved Champion Title, in the
Limited Open Derby, in Stephenville, Texas,
in 2008. In 2007 Richard was named champion
of the West Coast Equine Experience “$10,000
Colt Starting Challenge.” He was also
presented with the 2007 Monty Roberts Equitarian Award for outstanding
achievements in Horse/Human relationships.
Much of Richard's work has been accomplished
through the numerous clinics he conducts
around the country. He also enjoys being a
guest presenter at various Horse Expo's.
A love for horses, knowledge developed
through years of practice and study, and a
willingness to continue learning, are the
components that make Richard the “Masterful
Equine Communicator” that he is today.
is just the icing on the cake! For years we
had wanted famed horsewoman Sheila Varian to
join us at Light Hands Horsemanship. Sheila
is a very busy woman but this year the stars
aligned and the LHH dates and Sheila's
schedule worked out. Sheila is a well
respected horsewoman of the Vaquero
Tradition. She has a wealth of knowledge
about the Vaquero’s early California
history. I have seen one of her
presentations on the “two rein” and it was
exceptional. She will also be sharing a few
stories from her life at the "Campfire" as
an avid horsewoman and breeder and exhibitor
for over 50 years of beautiful Varian
Sheila has a long and illustrious career in
the horse industry. She has bred and
continues to breed some of the finest
Arabian horses in the world. Her blood lines
have worn the roses in all divisions from
western and english to halter. Being a
breeder and competitor in the show ring is
just one of the many highlights in Sheila's
career. Sheila has so many honors that I
would have to start a whole new blog just
too list them all. One of her top honors was
to be inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame
in Fort Worth, TX in 2003.
Ann Kennedy joins Light Hands Horsemanship again in 2013
We are very excited to announce that Grammy nominated hit
songwriter from Nashville, TN, Mary Ann Kennedy, will be re-joining Light Hands
Horsemanship in 2013. Mary Ann creates music that celebrates the horse. A dedicated
horsewoman herself, Mary Ann seems to express what we all feel in our hearts
for our beloved horses and the life we all live with them. Through melody,
rhythm and humor in song, this is music that we horse lovers can listen and ride
to. Music from the heart about horses and the animals we love. There's none
other like it.
Sarah Winters will be assisting her father, Richard Winters in the colt starting part of the LHH 2013. Sarah and her dad teamed up for a great presentation last year and we look forward to their combined expertise again this year.
At age 22, Sarah has accumulated a list of accomplishments that could stand with equine professionals twice her age. In her short career, Sarah has earned 2 NRCHA World Championships, the 2008 Snaffle Bit Futurity Limited Open Reserve Champion and Ladies Reserve World Championship in both 2009 and 2011. She is also a two-time Open Finalist for NRCHA Premier Aged Events. On top of this, Sarah has experience training and showing in the English discipline of Three Day Eventing.
One could argue that horses are in her blood, as she is the daughter of renowned horseman and clinician Richard Winters.
Sarah is following in her father’s footsteps and will be a participant at the 2013 Road to the Horse. www.swhorsemanship.com
Please stay tuned and check back often as the site will be continually updated... much, much more to follow!!