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Randy Rieman wows at Midwest clinics

Published: 7/7/2013
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Editor’s Note: Randy Rieman spent years with Bill Dorrance, one of the forefathers of what many call “natural horsemanship.”
Aside from his talents as a poet, poet reciter, and rawhide braider, Rieman is also a talented horseman. For years, he was the head colt starter at the Parker Ranch in Hawaii, one of the biggest ranches in the United States.
Read more about him here.
Recently, he traveled from his home in Montana for clinics in Minnesota and Michigan.

Visit his website.

Here sponsors and participants reflect on their experiences:

Kathy Mueller runs Equitation Station, a facility outside of Minneapolis. She hosted Rieman there for several days and provided photos here.

Mueller: I really appreciated his authenticity, knowledge, great stories, willingness to work with the people and horses right where they were at, and help them improve.

I have mostly a dressage barn, and his methods and understanding of the horse-human relationship were right in line with what I like to teach. Plus, he added some new dimensions to our work with tarps, flags, and group patterns.

Jill Manske adds:

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this “cowboy clinic.” I’m certain that Randy wasn’t quite sure what to expect from us either!
It was quite a sight – women in breeches and boots riding around a lanky guy in the cowboy hat.
Well, that guy in the cowboy hat certainly gave us our money’s worth….It was immediately apparent that Randy was all about the horse, about laying the foundation for good riding and for a good horse/rider partnership.
I was surprised by how much of his approach and focus was on precisely things that are the foundations of dressage; suppleness, transitions, bend, bringing the hind leg under the horse, riding the back (not the head!).

He is a gifted communicator – to both human and equine. He focused on getting our horses to pay attention to us, to respond to the lightest aids.
However, he also helped us demand more from our horses and helped us communicate more clearly and effectively. Some of his oft-repeated phrases were:
  • Take the horse before the horse takes you
  • If it isn’t working for you, try something else
-- He reminded us to reward the smallest effort.

-- He is one of the kindest horsemen I have ever worked with.

-- Randy is not only gifted with horses, he is an excellent communicator.

In the middle of working on something he will go off on a story. Pretty soon, I figured out that these stories had a purpose. Not only were they a means of getting a point across, but when he paused to talk, it allowed the riders to "get out of their heads" a bit (since we sometimes overthink things). It also gave time for the horses to figure something out.

Pat Iverson:

Randy is more than an amazing horseman... he is an incredible person. What he teaches goes way beyond the equine world.
I love when people I meet are not only super talented in their field, but integrate so much of their life philosophy and who they are as they share their experiences. He is about so much more than horses, and that comes through again and again.

Curt Petersen:

I had ridden with Randy twice at his ranch, so this wasn't my first experience with him. It was the first time that I've seen him in a clinic setting.
Our barn is dressage oriented (I'm the black sheep) and sponsors clinics by several outstanding dressage trainers. My sense was that although we have some outstanding riders, many don't feel comfortable with their horse outside of the arena. Randy comes from a world where you have to be able to trust your horse or the consequences are potentially dire.

He makes things simple: your horse has to be safe to handle and accountable for its actions and the rider has to accept responsibility for addressing "holes" in the horse's training that make its behavior unreliable.

No excuses or rationalizations, please, and be prepared to have your comfort zone broadened.
All this is pursued with methods that keep the participants safe, if occasionally uncomfortable.

Some riders were challenged to struggle through their frustrations. Even while they muttered, sweated and excused their horses’ behavior Dr. Rieman pursued the cure for their problem patiently and with good humor.
  • Forget about the rules you've been taught, first be effective
  • Move your hands if you must and forget about being judged
  • Focus on what needs to be done
  • Get creative if necessary to communicate with your horse clearly

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Visit his website.
Read more about him here.

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7/8/2013 pat iverson
The only thing I left out: if you get the chance, GO to a clinic with Randy. I came away with so much, and the lessons are reinforced daily, whether I am at the barn or not!

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