Traditional Ranch Roping / Cattle Handling Clinics

If you have ever been interested in learning how to rope and handle cattle in the style of the Great Basin Buckaroos, this is the clinic to get into. But you will need to hurry, limited to 12 riders!!!!

Our instructor, Scott Van Leuven, is one of the greats of the modern buckaroos, was a finalist in The Californios Vaquero Roping, won the Top Hand Roping with his team at the Great Basin Buckaroo Gathering 2014 and most recently won the Open Doctoring at the Early Californio Skills of the Rancho with his team in 2016.

Scott makes his living doing what he will be teaching us to do. He is an outstanding instructor and is equally good with children, beginner adults and advanced ropers.

This first clinic, Jan 21/22, will literally start at the beginning. In the roping portion, showing you how to handle a rope, proper coiling techniques, how to build a loop properly & efficiently, correct swing, etc. We will be concentrating on dummy roping this first clinic with some talk on learning how to move cattle in a pasture setting and holding them in a rodear.

Each subsequent clinic (Feb 18/19 and Mar 18/19) will build on the skills you have learned in the previous clinic so you will need to be practicing at home!!! There will be 3 practice days on April 29, May 27, June 17 without instruction. Then we will have a refresher clinic with Scott on July 29/30 and a Ranch Roping & Cow Working jackpot for clinic participants (must have entered all 4 clinics) only on August 19th!!! We will have an open Ranch Roping & Cow working Jackpoton August 20th!!

Outside of your horse & tack, you will need an extra soft rope that is minimum of 50′ long. Diameter will be anywhere from 3/8″ to 5/16″ depending on your hand size and either poly or nylon. You may also want to purchase a “break away honda”.

Cost is $350 per person per day with a $50 cattle fee applicable starting in February. Contact email at with additional questions. Also look us up on FB under Purple Sage Equine events!  

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Relocation of Services Offered

The time has come for Purple Sage Equine to relocate from the Reno, NV area.

As of January 1, 2017 I am offering full time services in the Carson Valley (Minden, NV to be exact) in a melding with 5 Clover Ranch & Trailer Sales.

I am really excited about this new endeavor. With the accessibility of an lovely indoor arena, 2 outdoor round pens, 2 outdoor arenas (1 under construction), cattle pens and tons of space to ride on, I can really begin to get my personal & client horses a broader spectrum to get “broke” in!

I will be hosting an eclectic offering of special events including a Ranch Roping clinic series that will be “beginner friendly”, we will literally be starting at square 1, and a jumping clinic taught by International Grand Prix winner Candice King ( http://www.usefnetwork.com/athletes/56/candice_king.aspx ). At 5 Clover our focus is to provide quality horsemanship that applies no matter what the discipline.

Several things are in the works with hopes to complete by this spring.

A) developing a VERY large and detailed trail trials course with more natural type obstacles.

B) building a full set of jumps to offer the hunter/jumper crowd

C) building a Cowboy Dressage court.

D) developing a riding school for ALL ages & levels that has a European flavor and a Western flair!

I have a few openings for full time training starting in March and some lessons slots available. Please visit my website for more information on what I am and please check out my calendar page at that site for availability and future events.

Come ride with us!!!

To Treat or Not To Treat . . . . .

That is a HUGE question!!!!

In a previous installment of my blog (https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/purplesageequineblog.wordpress.com) I talked about how the horse will choose comfort & security over food when the leader provides that. Most people have a basic understanding of this fact. The one thing they seem to forget when they actually become involved is trying to get the horse to do something that is “scary” with the use of food. That MAY work for a very short time, in a specific instance.  But when that food is no longer offered, the horse will revert to being “scared”.

Why does this happen??? You may think “I was being a good leader by showing my horse that he shouldn’t be scared of something because he if he isn’t he gets goodies”.  In all reality, 90% of people resort to this method AFTER the horse refuses to do something (due to fear or another reason) and it becomes a REWARD FOR BEING SCARED/NAUGHTY/ETC.

Trailer loading is probably the best scenario to utilize as an example. I can’t count the number of horses I have seen that are hard to load, haul poorly and unload like a rocket. Most times what has happened is the horse wouldn’t initially load so the handler got a bucket of grain/handful of carrots/pocketful of treats and attempted to “chum” the horse in AFTER they have had trouble. Now the horse correlates their unwanted behavior with treats. Then, if they manage to get the horse in, they usually get the door closed as fast as possible to prevent the horse from escaping backwards. Now they have “trapped” the horse in a place he was scared of to begin with. Then the handler drives to their desired location, opens the door and the horse “escapes” from the scary place and the handler usually reprimands the horse for this unwanted behavior. So now the horse see the trailer as a place to act “naughty” & get treats then get trapped in it and anticipate the entire ride the reprimand for getting out.  Congratulations human, you have created a vicious circle that tends to get repeated time after time.

Another prime example is rewarding a good ride with treats while the horse is standing at hitch rail/cross ties/etc or, in some cases while people are still in the saddle. The horse starts to correlate getting the person either A) off their back or B) away from the work area with treats. All of a sudden (or so it may seem to the human) the horse begins to hang at the gate or rush to get home. Another symptom is pushing towards the human or “nuzzling” looking for more treats. The human innocently thinks the horse is “thanking” them or being affectionate. Then all of a sudden they get bit or stepped on and then the horse is punished for being naughty. Congratulations human, you have betrayed your horse.

Something to really ponder . . . . . .   how many times have you seen the leader of the herd step aside or offer that treat / bucket of grain / choicest spot of green grass to an underling in the herd??? They don’t, PERIOD.  If the leader of the herd asks an underling to do something, they NEVER direct that horse to a choice mouthful of food as a reward.

The horse really doesn’t care if a treat comes from your hand or they find it in their bucket/feeder in their stall/pen/pasture. They enjoy them just as much . Reward your horse for a job well done by releasing pressure (loosening the reins, taking your spur out of their belly, lowering the flag, stop moving their feet), rubbing, scratching. All of these can be done IN THE MOMENT, as the horse is  performing whatever action you wanted from them.

Can’t abandon your addiction to treats?? Fine, just take an extra few minutes to put them in the horse’s feeder/bucket after the horse is gone from the area. Then when you put the horse away, maybe spend an extra few minutes standing with them while they are munching with maybe a scratch or pet during. If your horse is in a pasture environment with other horses you might resort to putting these in a bucket and spontaneously “finding” them on the way back to pasture.

Be the leader your horse needs . . . . . . . .