Al Grandchamp Testimonial
March 17, 2001

Dear Leslee,

One of the 1952 issues of Western Horseman had an article about the book Hackamore Reinsman by Ed Connell. This was what I needed. I had a new Luis B. Ortega hackamore but didn't know how to use it. The book was ordered and received. If put into practice the answers are all there. I decided that I must know the author and wrote him.

This was the beginning of a correspondence of 5 or 6 letters per year which lasted until Ed departed this world. His letters were well-written, clear, interesting and informative about the various phases of horse management. Fortunately, I kept most of them and later returned them to his widow, Irene.

His answer told me that he was at Greenfield near Bakersfield, California. I immediately found an excuse for us to visit an aunt in San Diego. On the way we stopped, met and visited with the Connells. Ed was friendly, social and very articulate. He and I related right off. This was the first time I met Ed Connell.

The second time was many years later. I was ranching in Montana. One day I received a telephone call from a friend telling me that Ed Connell was conducting a horsemanship clinic at Helena, Montana. I was only 55 miles away, so off to Helena. We had a great visit and the clinic was excellent. One day dealt with bits and bridles and one day dealt with the hackamore. This was the second and last time I saw Ed Connell. It was April, 1977.

The title, Hackamore Reinsman, is the key to the whole manual. Every important thought and the illustrations are pointed to one word: Reinsman. The author's objective is to guide the reader to that one word. He tells you to know what you want; to know why you want it; to know how to do it, and to know when to do it. His summaries are to make it easier for the reader to achieve this objection and the illustrations should be used and fully studied in detail.

It all boils down to method and order. Here's the method (what to do) and here's the order (to learn and apply it). In reading this book, be very sure that you don't skip or go past a word you don't understand. It may be the key to the sentence. Underscore or highlight the thoughts which are important to you; the author has, with bold print, let you know what is paramount to him.

Finesse in handling the reins is the hardest part of horsemanship. The author tells us, "the secret of making this kind of finished stock horse (or any horse) lies in the way the reins are handled." He iterates and reiterates this thought, giving explanations and examples of how to do it. Here as always, it points to the key word, reinsman. I have seen the book in remote cow camps, in hip pockets, in tack rooms, as a text book in horsemanship classes, in homes and in libraries.

From my outlook Hackamore Reinsman is the classic in its field. I have researched at least 65 books about horsemanship and horse training and have not found anything comparable. I am not alone. Many horse people and top trainers agree. The book's longevity of 19 printings and 49 years is the best recommendation it can have. It has stood the test of time.

About 1960 a friend of mine was given a spade bit. He didn't know how to use it and gave it to me. I didn't know how to use it either, but knew whom to ask, so a letter went off to Ed. About two weeks later I received a detailed outline of how to use the spade. He said that the outline was the plan for a book he was working on. The book was published later entitled, Reinsman of the West—Bridles & Bits. The book takes off where Hackamore Reinsman ended dealing with: the double reins, (called two reins by most trainers), the use of different bits, especially the spade which I have not been able to find in any other horse training literature. This book contains a wealth of valuable information for any person who wishes to improve and perfect his or her reinsmanship.

Tell your mother hello and that I am proud to have known Ed. He made a valuable, practical and everlasting contribution to the literature of horse training which will live on. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he was a horseman par excellence.

Al Grandchamp
Toston, Montana

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