“Trail riding can be a nice relaxing exercise on horseback experiencing and feeling God’s incomprehensible works of nature firsthand.”
For this to be true, both rider and horse must be comfortable in their part of the adventure.
However, this is not always the case as riders can be fearful of their mounts and horses wary of their riders.
Hence, “Safe, Sound, Sane On The Trail” is a special program at Kansas EquiFest in Salina March 16-19.
B. Rex Buchman, Christian Knight, will host the event Sunday morning, March 19, at 11:30.
There is no Sunday admission fee for EquiFest at the Saline County Livestock Expo Center and Tony’s Pizza Events Center.
Rex and Teresa Buchman in concert with Matthew and Angie Jobe, Windsor, Missouri, are partners in Flint Hills Ranching Adventures Company.
At Buchman’s Bar U Ranch near Burdick, they host horseback riding, cattle driving, branding events, horseback riding camps and a four-day cowboy camp.
“It’s really important to have a team for these events,” Buchman insisted. “More than a pair of eyes and ears are essential to keep people safe.”
Buchman attended riding clinics throughout the Midwest and successfully competed in major workhorse competitions. She also hosted three clinics at her Burdick ranch with Buster McLaury, who is also a clinician at this year’s EquiFest.
The importance of horse-rider communications cannot be understated, Buchman stressed.
“Regardless of how well trained a horse is, there are situations that will make it shy,” she said. “This takes a rider by surprise and too often they become frightened and may even fall.”
To prevent such occurrences, Buchman said, “Safety is the number one concern for all cyclists. The horse is generally not at fault, but the rider must know how to control himself and his mount in any situation.
During his presentation, Buchman intends to have some horses with riders to explain how to stay in the saddle under unforeseen circumstances. “There will be different levels of experience between riders and horses with varying degrees of training,” he said.
While riders often bring their own horses for trail rides, Buchman also provides horses for some inexperienced participants. “It’s an ongoing challenge to have horses that those with a little horse background can enjoy the safety of riding,” she admitted.
Neighboring ranchers often let Buchman use their horses for trail rides. “These horses are used to being ridden in the Flint Hills and will often work well for first-time riders,” Buchman said. “Sometimes they are better than the horses their owners ride because neither horse nor rider has been in the open.”
While horseback riding is required of riders, they also need to understand the basics of horse training, the doctor said.
“Inexperienced riders should be mounted on a horse with more training and experience than people,” Buchman said. “Put a rider for the first time on a horse that hasn’t ridden much is an accident that’s going to happen.”
You try to match horses to riders. “It doesn’t take much to tell if someone has ridden before and knows basic horsemanship,” Buchman said.
“Equestrians need to understand the importance of using the reins, stirrups and legs,” Buchman explained. “These are the basic riding tools for a horse and handling them correctly will help prevent a wreck. There is a time to hold on to the horse and then knowing when to give the horse the freedom to move.
Naturally, each horse will work differently depending on the rider. “I have several people riding my horses, so they understand people’s differences better,” Buchman continued. “A ‘solo horse’ that has only been ridden by one person just doesn’t understand someone new the first time around.”
Horses and riders must “get along” with each other on the trail. “I have riders doing ‘exercises’ by spacing, passing each other, facing each other and riding side by side,” Buchman said.
Some horses travel faster while others are shy and more cautious about moving forward. “It’s important to give the slower horse time to think and follow the leader,” Buchman explained. “Horses can change their disposition in a crowd as well as when left alone or behind.”
Buchman uses a “pen wheel set-up” to increase understanding between fast-moving and slower-moving horses. “I put horses that want to trot or gallop outside and let them go until they’re tired. The horses in the center relax and rejuvenate to go out,” Buchman succinctly described.
Serving as an extension agent in New Mexico early in his career, Buchman helped train young riders. “I learned as much from them as they did from me,” he said. “I continue to put those experiences to good use today.”
Additionally, the doctor gives ample credit to his father Burton Buchman and grandfather Keith Davis, both cowboys on the ranch. “I remember how they handled the horses and what they would do with a certain horse in a specific situation,” he said.
Strong in faith, intending to follow God’s principles in life, Buchman said, “God speaks to us like a horse speaks to us. We must listen to God and the horse and respond to each other’s directions. We are disciples making disciples”.
A rancher working with a Red Angus calf company, Buchman raises horses and trains horses.
“Every horse is different regardless of breeding and needs to be managed that way,” she said. “The best training a horse can get is on a working cattle ranch in the wild, open spaces of the Flint Hills.”
More information about Buchman is available on Facebook, email [email protected], and phone 620-794-5332.
In addition to Buchman, several other notable Kansas horse trainer owners will be in attendance at EquiFest on Sunday, March 19 with free admission.
Further details on the EquiFest are available at www.equifestofks.com.