“Trail riding can be enjoyable relaxing exercise on horseback experiencing and feeling God’s incomprehensible works of nature firsthand.”
For this to be true, both the rider and the horse must feel comfortable in their part of the adventure.
However, that’s not always the case as riders can be frightened of their mounts and horses cautious of their riders.
So, “Safe, Sound, Sane On The Trail” is a special program at the EquiFest of Kansas in Salina March 16-19.
- Rex Buchman, Christian horseman, will present the demonstration Sunday morning, March 19, at 11:30.
There is no Sunday admission charge 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 the Flint Hills Ranching Adventures Company.
At Buchman’s Bar U Ranch near Burdick, they host trail rides, cattle drives, branding events, horsemanship camps, and a four-day cowboy camp.
“It is really important to have a team for these events,” Buchman insisted. “More than one set of eyes and ears are essential to keep people safe.”
Buchman has participated in horsemanship clinics throughout the Midwest and competed successfully in major working horse competitions. He has also hosted three clinics at his Burdick ranch with Buster McLaury, who is also a clinician at EquiFest this year.
Importance of horse and rider communications cannot be overemphasized, Buchman pointed out.
“Regardless of how well trained a horse is, there are situations which will make it shy,” he said. “That takes a rider by surprise and too often they become frightened and might even fall off.”
To prevent such occurrences, Buchman said, “Safety is of first concern for all trail riders. The horse is not generally at fault, but the rider must know how to control themselves and their mount in every situation.”
During his presentation, Buchman intends to have a few horses with riders to explain how to stay mounted during unexpected circumstances. “There will be different levels of experience among riders and horses with various degrees of training,” he said.
While riders often bring their own horses for trail rides, Buchman also provides horses for some inexperienced participants. “It is a continuous challenge to have horses that those with little horse background can enjoy riding safety,” he admitted.
Neighbor ranchers often let Buchman use their horses for the trail rides. “These horses are used to being ridden in the Flint Hills and will often work just fine for first time riders,” Buchman said. “They’re sometimes better than horses ridden by their owners because neither horse nor rider have been in the wide-open spaces.”
While horsemanship is required of the riders, they also need to understand the basics of horse training, the clinician said.
“Inexperienced riders should be mounted on a horse with more training and people experience,” Buchman said. “Putting a first-time rider on a horse that hasn’t had much riding is an accident looking to happen.”
Attempt is made to match horses with riders. “It doesn’t take long to tell if somebody has ridden before and knows basic horsemanship,” Buchman said.
“The riders must understand the importance of using the reins, the stirrups, and their legs,” Buchman explained. “Those are the basic driving tools for a horse and handling them correctly will help prevent a wreck. There’s a time to hang on to the horse and then know when to give the horse freedom to move.”
Of course, every horse will work different depending on the rider. “I have several people ride my horses, so they better understand people’s differences,” Buchman continued. “A ‘one-man horse’ who’s only been ridden by a single person just doesn’t understand somebody new the first time.”
Horses and riders need to “get along” with each other on the trail. “I have riders do ‘exercises’ spacing apart, passing each other, facing one another, and going side-by-side,” Buchman said.
Certain horses travel faster while others are timid and more cautious in moving forward. “It’s important to give the slower horse time to think and follow the leader,” Buchman explained. “Horses can change dispositions in a crowd as well as when they are left alone or behind.”
A “pen-wheel set-up” is used by Buchman to increase understanding among fast moving and slower horses. “I put the horses that want to trot or lope on the outside and let them go until tired. Horses in the center relax and become regenerated to move out,” Buchman described briefly.
Serving as an Extension agent in New Mexico early in his career, Buchman helped train youth riders. “I learned as much from them as they did from me,” he said. “I continue to put those experiences to use today.”
Additionally, the clinician gives ample credit to his dad Burton Buchman and his grandpa Keith Davis, both working ranch cowboys. “I remember how they handled horses and what they’d 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 talks to us like a horse talks to us. We must listen to God and to the horse and respond to each other’s directions. We are disciples making disciples.”
A working rancher with a purebred Red Angus cow-calf operation, Buchman raises horses and trains horses.
“Every horse is different regardless of the breeding and must be handled that way,” he said. “The best training a horse can get is on a cattle ranch working in the wild open spaces of the Flint Hills.”
More information about Buchman can be found on Facebook, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and phone 620-794-5332.
Besides Buchman, several other prominent Kansas horse trainers-owners are to be featured at EquiFest on free-admittance-Sunday, March 19.
Additional details concerning EquiFest can be found at www.equifestofks.com.