Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bill Richey Mounted Police Training

Walking through fire~
This Clinic was as good as advertised!  Bill Richey is one heck of a nice guy & has a unique way of teaching extremely diverse horses & their riders.  If I were asked to describe it all in one sentence - it would be;  "Facing Fear!"  You can see the pictures, watch the video's & it still doesn't give a complete picture of how Bill progresses each horse/rider team through obstacles with distractions that most of us wouldn't attempt, even in our nightmares!  :-)   Pun intended!
Butch took photos, a little video, helped Bill, riders, horses, moved obstacles & was the "go to" man for Farah & I!  We didn't attend the first day, but arrived Fri. evening to spend the night & be ready for Sat.  We were met by Patrick - Farm Manager, nicest guy around - who showed us to a fresh stall for Farah.   We sat out that evening with some really fine people, swapped stories & shared their fire & grill for dinner.

Sat. morning I saddled Farah at the trailer & we entered the arena as a few of the riders were warming up.  (Luckily - I had Not mounted up yet!)  In the next instant Farah erupted with a head-down full fledged bucking fit similar to an exploding volcano.  She ripped the reins from my hands & caught off guard, I still managed to step on a rein & get her back just in time for her to again leap five feet off the ground in another bucking fit & again deliberately ripping the reins from my hands - took off across the arena.  I caught her - apologized to all concerned & with Patrick's help - took her to the outside arena, attached a long lounge line & watched as she tore around me at a full on gallop in deep pea gravel/sand footing.  This went on for what seemed forever, until she finally dropped into a trot, eventually slowed & came to me with a big blow, head down & apologetic...  (Third heat cycle - third tantrum.)

This did NOT make my day!  I took her back inside, mounted up & joined the class already in session.  She was tense, I was tense - but it became so intense that the only recourse was to relax & go with the flow - which we did.  The "normal" obstacles were easy for us, but as the day went on - as the horses would relax with what was happening around them, Bill would up the ante - siren, smoke, flares, barking & attacking dog etc.  I think all of us were ready for a tall one by the time the day ended!
Smoke so thick it was almost dark!
Sunday, I'd spoken to Patrick about one of the trainers at Butler Hill, Dusty - who agreed to "put a ride" on Farah before class.  I was hoping & so was he - that she would go to bucking.  No luck...  instead Dusty gave her a beautiful ride & the two of them were a pleasure to watch.
Dusty on Farah
If I lived closer, I'd have Dusty do some western training with her.  He's quiet, demands respect & has that slow methodical way with horses that only comes from those naturally  born horsemen.  He tried for some bucking, got a couple cow-hops - but not the show we were hoping for.

On into Bills' clinic we went.  This day - which I don't think any of us believed possible - was even more intense than the day before.  I was thrilled with how Farah responded.  She LOVED "extraction" & lead the group going in to surround the police car with lights, siren & barking dog - then, follow along as close as possible as it drove safely out of the "crowd"!  :-)
We head to the car as Bill directs
 She also enjoyed "chasing" the car!  :-)
Chasing a police car?
The two highlights of the clinic though - walking through fire lines, which we did a lot of & of course facing a flying heilcopter!
Farah (far right)  spots the chopper!  Her "giraffe" look!
My plan, besides staying topside, was to stay out of trouble, so I managed to keep us off to the side, next to a sensible Arabian gelding!  :-)
Here he's coming in low & fast
We were all very proud!  All our horses HELD their ground!!!  Yippee!  It was pretty amazing!  Needless to say, for safety's sake, (Butch stayed well away from both horses & helicopter.)  the pilot didn't fly close enough that there was any chance of a downdraft putting us in his way!

Bill was far from done with us though!  We went back inside & this time did it all & all at once!  Instead of "lights, camera, action", it the Mounted Police version of ; "fire, siren, smoke, flares, cars, dogs etc."

Everyone was all smiles as the day came to a close.  With the welcome sunshine, Bill invited us all outside to give pointers on how to desensitize our horses for mounted shooting.  Butch & I watched from just behind the shooter.  Farah, at first stood beside us, but after a couple rounds - moved to a safer position behind us!  :-)

It was close to 6 p.m. by the time we picked up our certificates of achievement & headed home.  Thanks Bill!  (Who has an evil little laugh! :-)


  1. That is awesome!!! You do the coolest activites with your horse, I wish we lived closer- I would LOVE to take Cartman to something like that:)

    1. Sign up at; http://www.snokingsaddleup.com/ It's only a $5. nominal fee & that's where I find out about all the clinics going on in the King/Snohomish County areas, sometimes beyond!


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