John Peiffer Testimonial

May 27, 2010

About six months ago, my neighbor brought me a copy of Hackamore Reinsman asking about some of the terminology that she didn't quite understand. I took a brief look at it and told her I'd read it and let her know what I found. I had no idea that I'd be looking at the last piece of a puzzle that had been eluding me for over a year.

I started last year with what I thought were some fairly ambitious plans for me and my horse. My main goal was to be sufficiently prepared to attend a horsemanship clinic with Buck Brannaman in July. We also attended three other clinics with Ricky Quinn and finally had a chance to begin cow working with him. We made substantial progress that I am very satisfied with and in the process I also took the time to do some background research on what we were doing. I found some references to material that helped me gain a better understanding of the history behind the vaquero horsemanship skills that I had been learning. I am very grateful for what you have done in continuing to provide your father's work and for the glimpse into the man's life who worked so diligently to preserve the rich traditions of the Californios for us.

I've only been riding for six years and I can confirm your statement that Ed's books are for the experienced rider. In addition, I believe that some exposure to the concepts of vaquero horsemanship are a pre-requisite so that the reader has something to put into context with what Ed is painstakingly explaining.

Just as he noted the changes in horses and horsemanship during his lifetime, there is a lot of terminology used in more recent books, videos, and training clinics which differs from much of what he was taught and then used to explain his concepts. Unfortunately, I don't think a simple glossary would suffice to bridge some of those differences. It would be equivalent to learning a foreign language to some people, especially to those who don't have a background with horses for whom many of these concepts simply elude their grasp -- in either description. I grew up speaking five languages and I have never had as much difficulty searching for the meaning of certain expressions as I have with the language people use with regard to their horsemanship. That is primarily due to the fact that it isn't just a matter of syntax or vocabulary -- it requires experience with the horse to understand what the author is trying to convey. After a lot of training, practice, reading, and attending clinics; I am finally beginning to understand what Ed Connell, Tom Dorrance, Bill Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Buck Brannaman, and others are talking about. Despite my experience growing up speaking several languages and translating textbooks and documents, I still believe that even an English-to-English translation of some of this material for newcomers would be a challenge without the benefit of some solid experience with horses and a lot of time in the saddle.


John Peiffer
Portland, Oregon


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