I was fascinated by horses at a very young age. My father was in the cattle business and we used horses to gather, doctor and move them. When I was eleven years old my dad thought we needed better horses so he bought five two year old unbroken fillies from a ranch in Texas. My older brother, Hank, who is ten years older than me, and I started halter breaking the fillies. My dad gave all his children a filly. I got Bonita Marie. Of all the the siblings, I loved horses the most. When my brother, Jim, got tired of his filly, Bonita Kathy, I permanently borrowed her from him. Everyday after school and during the summer and vacations all day long I was on one horse or another. When I got to high school I went out for all the sports, but found that I had to give them all up, except tennis, because they took away from my time riding.

In my early teens I started calf roping at local arenas. When I started to think I was pretty good, I joined the United Rodeo Association. I loved roping and spent every moment that I could practicing and competing. When I was 28, I was the United Rodeo Finals Champion Calf Roper. Unfortunately my love for roping and a family life did not mix well so I gave up my rodeo career. I still do team rope locally.

I have been self and horse taught. In my early years, I was pretty rough on my horses. Barfly Skip, a gelding quarter horse, changed my life. One day, after I had reprimanded him, we were out in the pasture riding along a barbed wire fence. I cued him to turn away from the fence, but instead he reared and placed his body over the top of the barbed wire fence. I decided then and there that I was going to change the way I rode. Any horse that was willing to subject himself to that level of pain to get away from me must have felt what I was doing something pretty horrible.

I figured I needed to find a new way to reach Barfly Skip. My horse needed to understand what I wanted to accomplish and I needed to establish a willing partnership with my horse if I were ever going to enjoy my riding the way I wanted to enjoy it. I started watching the people who I thought were the best horsemen. These men were not trying to physically dominate their horses instead would gently ask their horses to do their bidding. Coupled with these observations was my reading anything I could find about how great trainers handled, maneuvered their horses.

I started my training career working with people's problem horses. After I got a reputation for fixing problem horses, they started sending their regular horses. I started giving lessons to help the owners of the problem horses that I had fixed.

In all the years that I have been a horseman, I have come to the single conclusion that if you are capable of using all rider aids (legs, seat and hands) to control all the parts of a horse that you can ride any discipline. I have a personal interest in roping and other western activities (reining, cutting, team sorting, and western pleasure), but have also instructed dressage and hunter jumpers.

E-Mail Bill at: bill@paintedmranch.com