Bryan Neubert was
raised on a ranch in the Salinas California area. Bryan
grew up around horses, cattle, and cowboys. His main goal
in life was to be the best cowboy he could be. In his teens,
Bryan became acquainted with Bill Dorrance who lived on
a neighboring ranch. He worked with Bill for several years,
starting colts and learning to braid rawhide. He later came
to know Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt and worked with them starting
colts and riding horses. These early associations with the
masters of horse psychology made a lasting impression on
Bryan’s philosophy and his approach to handling all types
of horses. The Cowboy Years
Bryan moved on in the
cowboy world. He moved to the vast northern Nevada area
where the ranches still ran wagon outfits. Bryan went to
work on the huge Spanish ranch northwest of Elko, Nevada.
This ranch is a “straight-up” buckaroo outfit adhering to
the buckaroo traditions of handling horses, cattle and men.
Part of Bryan’s job, while on this ranch, was starting horses.
When he first started there, many of the horses were started
as 8 year olds, which is a different philosophy than today’s
practice of starting two year old colts. Many of these older
horses were what are called “’big circle” horses that had
some thoroughbred in the blood lines. It was believed that
a horse couldn’t make the long miles until he was at least
In the old days on these ranches, they had used
what was called the “bronco man” that started the horses
for the cowboys. The horses were hobbled, blindfolded, saddled,
mounted, and ridden to a standstill with very little ground
work done before the horses were ridden.
the techniques he had learned from the Dorrances and Hunt
to finesse the horses instead of trying to out muscle them.
During this time, Bryan also started draft horse feed teams
to pull hay wagons, as much of the livestock was fed with
a team and wagon in the winter months. The word soon got
out that Bryan had a way with horses. While Bryan was still
single, he went back to Salinas, California during the winters
and took in outside horses to train.
After he left the
Spanish Ranch, he married his wife Patty. They had three
children, Jim, Kate, and Luke, all born in Elko. He took
the job as cowboss for the Rafter Diamond Ranch near Deeth,
Nevada. Here, he oversaw the running of 10,000 head of steers
and a buckaroo crew.
After his tours on the Nevada ranches,
Bryan returned to California and was co-cowboss on a 30,000
head yearling cattle operation near Hollister. His job on
this yearling outfit was tending and doctoring thousands
of yearling pasture cattle. In order to do this, the cattle
needed to be ridden on and, if they were sick, roped and
doctored outside in the pastures. This was an excellent
opportunity to ride and train young horses. He began to
use cow dogs to assist him in handling the cattle and became
an accomplished stock dog handler. He showed his stock dogs
at the prestigious bull, gelding and stock dog sale at Red
Bluff, California and had high selling dogs at the sale
four out of five years.
Bryan continued working on ranches
and moved to the Alturas area. In 1992, he cracked out on
his own, full-time, training horses. He bred and raised
horses of his own and took in horses from outside customers.
After a slow start, he soon began to find himself with more
potential clients than he could facilitate. He enlisted
the help of his wife, two sons and daughter who became accomplished
horse people in their own rights.
the early 1990s, Bryan expanded his horse work into the
clinic world. He has conducted clinics across the United
States and Canada. Bryan is very low-key. His clinics are
sold primarily by word of mouth. He quotes Tom Dorrance
as saying “If you give people more than they ever thought
they would get, you don’t need to advertise.”
has also worked with the Department of Interior, Bureau
of Land Management wild horse program. He started and trained
wild mustangs that had been captured off the open range
and were put in the horse adoption program. In the February,
l996 edition of Western Horseman Magazine, Bryan was featured
in a story entitled “Taking the Wild Out Of Mustangs.”
Bryan produced a video
on the subject called “Wild Horse Handling.” He has also
produced two videos on rawhide braiding-beginning and advanced.
A new horse starting video, “The First Week,” filmed at
the 6666 Ranch in Texas, with Bryan, his son Jim Neubert,
and Joe Wolter will be available in the summer of 2004.
These videos are available by contacting Bryan at his Alturas,
California ranch or on his web site
Colt Starting and Horsemanship Clinics
On February 6, 7, 8,
2004, we were invited to attend a three-day Bryan Neubert
clinic on colt starting and horsemanship held at the J-Six
Equestrian Center in Benson, Arizona. The clinic had seven
colt starting and eight horsemanship participants and numerous
spectators auditing the clinics.
the colt starting segment, Bryan presented a gentle introduction
of steps to start your young horse under saddle or restart
an older horse. He started each horse in a round pen on
the ground holding on to the lead rope attached to the halter
and using a flag attached to a handle around each horse.
He moved the flag around the horse’s legs, body and head,
getting above the horse’s back and head, desensitizing and
reading the horse. The horses reacted with varying levels
of fear and reaction, but soon became desensitized to the
then had each horse led up against the fence inside of the
round corral and had each participant rub the horse from
above, while sitting on corral fence. Then the rider would
work up to stepping off the corral onto their horses, bareback.
Bryan encourages people to rub their horses, especially
on the withers, mane, and poll and over the eye sockets.
All during the clinics, Bryan maintained a running commentary
and related stories concerning his cowboy days, about Bill
and Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt and other trainers, drawing
from thousands of other experiences with similar problems
so that people could better understand and relate. This
commentary seemed to be soothing to both the horses and
the participants. He didn’t put a lot of pressure on the
participants or the horses. Progress was at their own pace.
If the horse or the people did not understand, he would
back up to a point where they could. He stressed this with
both people and horses.
clinic participants then saddled their horses and “pulled
them around” by throwing the halter lead rope over the saddle
horn. This taught the colt to give to pressure from the
lead rope around the saddle horn. After that, the horses,
with their saddles left on, were turned out of the round
pen into the arena to “soak.” (This term means getting used
to a saddle on their backs.) Bryan checked to make sure
there was a breast collar on each horse so that if they
rolled the saddle would not end up under the horses’ belly.
Bryan or another rider moved the saddled horses around the
arena to get them used to the feel of moving under saddle
before riders were added into the situation.
the riders caught their horses then stepped up and put their
weight in the on–side stirrup. They lay over the saddle,
and patted the horse as far as they could reach on both
sides. Those that felt comfortable stepped all the way up
and got in the saddle. Each step built on the previous step
and reinforced the next step. Soon all seven clinic participants
were horseback, riding in the round pen. Bryan then said
in his quiet way “Little things make a big difference. “
The afternoon horsemanship clinics emphasized increasing
communication with your horse and transforming him or her
into a willing partner.
worked on riders moving the horse’s hips and shoulders,
preparing it for loping circles, turning around, changing
leads, backing up, and cow work. The second day reinforced
what was done the first day; plus, on the second day Bryan
introduced the horses to cow work. He demonstrated how you
can “hook up” a horse to follow a cow in a very short time.
He placed a single horse and rider with a cow in the round
pen and had the horse track the cow. This also gets a horse
acquainted with cattle if your horse has not been around
Throughout this three day clinic Bryan
was concerned for the safety of the people and their horses,
encouraging them to proceed with the next step of training
only when they felt confident to do so. This man is passionate
about helping people with their horses and problems. Folks
we talked to during this clinic said Bryan was a great communicator.
They were able to understand an exceptional amount of information,
presented on a personal level.
There are no “smoke
and mirrors” with Bryan Neubert; he is a true Horse Hand!
Alturas, California 96101