Workshop offers stock horse training tips

Alisa Boswell: Portales News-Tribune Scott Bagley maneuvers his horse around a steer Tuesday afternoon during his Building a Better Stock Horse demonstration at the 2011 Ag Expo.

Scott Bagly of Dimmitt, Texas, returned to the New Mexico Ag Expo for the second year to teach attendees how to train a better stock horse during a workshop Tuesday.

Bagley, who was a 4-H leader for 17 years, said he did the same instructional event at the Ag Expo last year.

In the first half of the event, Bagley trotted around the arena on his horse, Pinon Patrone, demonstrating the three most important principles to breaking a horse: Soft side-to-side, bridling straight up and moving the hip.

Bagley explained that by training the horse in these three things, a rider can get a horse to do whatever he wants.

“I think the more we can do those basic things and build up from those things,” Bagley told his audience, “the more we’ll be successful.”

Bagley demonstrated that by pulling the inside (left) rein, a rider teaches the horse to move in whichever direction he desires, which is soft side-to-side. Bagley continued on to demonstrate that by pulling both reins, the rider gets the horse to raise its body and straighten its back.

“I want to be able to do those three things whether lightning strikes or hell freezes over,” Bagley said. “If you can do those three things, you pretty much got him broke.”

[image #1, align=left, size=meduim]

Bagley moved the horse around the arena for awhile, demonstrating to his audience that by using a simple pull on one or both reins and using a person’s legs or hips, a rider can make the horse move side-to-side, backward and forward and trot or run at whatever speed the rider wants it to go.

Bagley said it is not natural for a horse to move backward, so they have to be taught to do so.

“There’s no difference between the greatest horse trainer in the world and you and me,” Bagley said. “They’re just more consistent.”

Bagley said consistency is one of the most important factors when training any horse, especially a stock horse.

In the second half of his demonstration, Bagley brought out some steers to demonstrate how a rider and his horse maneuver in order to corner and rope cattle.

Bagley said the most important element to rounding up cattle is staying in close proximity with the bull.

“The big issue there is when the cow stops and takes pressure off ya,” Bagley said. “You need to stop and back up then reposition to wherever the cow is.”

Bagley said he has enjoyed giving the workshop both times.

Patrick Kircher, the Roosevelt County Extension ag agent, said he thought Bagley brought an enlightening demonstration to the Roosevelt County fairgrounds.

“I think Scott brings a very practical approach,” Kircher said. “There are lots of philosophies and his is a down to earth approach on how to train horses.”