Home Clinic with Bryan Neubert by Pat Gleeson

The Gang – Left to Right -Pat Gleeson, Curtis and Lee Vossler, Craig and Camille Reesor, Steve Haines, Greg Garvie, Jane Angeles, Patti Dunne and Bryan Neubert


“Let’s see what you got,” said in Bryan’s enthusiastic and inimitable style. Thus begins 5 days of an adventure discovering what you really have got at a Bryan Neubert home clinic last October.  

A little different than previous years when I have been there in May/June. The home clinics lend themselves to smaller groups, which also means you can get a lot done and gain some very valuable information. We had a wonderful group of 7 and with me that made it 8. Five of those guys were from over the border in Alberta, Canada, and were ranchers there, so most things are done horseback. This gave Bryan the opportunity to relate a lot of information about horsemanship in a ranch situation and provide stories and examples of when he was cowboying. This had my radar on high alert soaking up all the information that Bryan provided, as a ranching environment can set a horse up for life with regard to responsiveness and exposure to many and varied scenarios.

We had colt starting in the morning and our 5 Canadians had all brought a horse to start. Day one with these guys to be started was fairly straightforward and the horses responding nicely. Bryan commended the group when it was time to go catch their horses after he had flagged them around the arena and then brought them into the round corral. He asked the colt starters to catch their horses. Now rather than every man for himself, these guys stepped back and assisted each other in gaining the horse’s attention and allowing each person to catch their horse before another commenced the process. Common sense you may say, but go to clinics and just see what happens when the clinician says “go catch your horse.” Yes, people actually make the process harder for themselves and their horses by just barging in and scattering horses about!

Day 2 the colt starters had their horses saddled. One particular horse was not too keen with the saddle and Bryan related the story on a difficult horse he had and the suggestion Tom Dorrance gave regarding once it stops bucking take the saddle off and go back and repeat the process in an hour and continue until that horse realizes it doesn’t need to buck. With this particular horse he was concerned about that saddle, but once you stepped up in the saddle there was no problem and no indication of wanting to hump up. Snaffle bits were not used initially, but rather the halter. Bryan stated that he prefers to tie up the end of the rope to the halter so that you now have a set of reins rather than have to flip the lead rope from one side to the other. It is logical because you can support the horse quickly if required and draw the face back and forth if need be to assist the horse in understanding moving forward. There are other techniques and suggestions that Bryan made, but they are best to experience firsthand. Needless to say, by day 4 the colts were in the arena and had snaffle bits and by day 5 they even had exposure to tracking cattle.

The afternoon is horsemanship. Now travelling from Australia I cannot bring a horse, so Bryan kindly lets me use one of his. This year I had a green broke mare with about 20 to 25 rides on her. I carried out some groundwork with this horse in the morning just to see where she was at and try a couple of moves to experiment how I could have her looking to me. Bryan does like to encourage experimenting with thoughts and ideas and refers to Tom also being strong on encouraging this approach. I was looking forward to our ride that afternoon.

The afternoon I saddled up and stepped up into the saddle. Having gained knowledge and confidence through my other clinics with Bryan I could test out and see what this mare knew. I should have known!! This mare may be green broke to Bryan’s thinking, but for others, they would have been surprised just how much was there. It also meant that what Bryan had shown at other home clinics I attended had sunk in and when I asked from this little mare, I got, even down to spins!! Having said that, she still needed support and guidance in keeping straight. It was interesting to note that once she found that I could control her feet and that I remained consistent in what I asked, she relaxed that much more. So the horsemanship for me was getting better and refining what I had learnt plus adding more to the toolkit.

Everyone else was pushing and challenging for more information and could demonstrate that they were ready for more. This just makes Bryan grin and further heightens his enthusiasm and more is delivered. Bryan can give you and show you so much, but it is measured to where that person may be at with their experience and knowledge. Sensible approach to have, in order to provide a quality experience for all. I could go into minute detail on all the maneuvers we accomplished and little exercises we undertook to strengthen a knowledge base that we can use with all horses, however, it would fill a book and take away from you, the reader, the opportunity to go and experience it for yourself.

One other thing I might add, some of the learning that will occur, will not be at the clinic, but weeks later when you get home and are working with your own horse. That is when the lightbulb comes on and you say to yourself “oh that is what he meant” or something similar. So, don’t come along with expectations that you will learn everything you need to know or that you will “get” everything you think you need. It will happen with time. Rather, go with a truly open mind and be extremely observant and by all means ask the supposed silly questions. It may not sink in there, but it will filter through later when you are home.

Now Bryan is also a great storyteller and the stories are both entertaining and informative. In colt starting he will break to tell a story that relates to what was just being practiced by the group. There is a method and I’ll add timing with these stories. It gives the horse a break and time to soak on what has just occurred. It gives the humans that break just to relax, yet at the same time clarifies the learning process. This also happens in Horsemanship and many times you will see the “penny drop” for one participant who will then undoubtedly try the move again and reach success. So, there is method to his madness and Neubertisms!

Riding out on Bryan’s ranch in Alturas gave all attendees the opportunity to see how their horses responded to being out of the arena. It’s also a great opportunity to ride a varied and changing terrain and help the horse look to you for direction, pace and speed. We watched Bryan move cattle with his dog and then we all had the opportunity to hold the herd and cut cattle on a hillside and then move the cut herd back along a road and headed down to the arena for more cattle work tomorrow. When you are out in that environment and you hear from Bryan “good work,” or “I like your thinking,” as you set up cows ready to cut, it always makes one feel like one has achieved and can demonstrate that the lessons learned in the arena have been digested and come to the fore out in a pasture moving cows.

Speaking of digesting,  Patty Neubert puts on a lunch each day that is not only delectable, but makes you feel like you are at home with mom’s cooking. It is just another touch that provides you with a welcoming feeling. Lunchtime is also a great time to hear other stories from Bryan that not only enthrall you, but inspire you.

Bryan and Patty open up their home to clinic attendees and provide a camping area with facilities and stalls for your horse and a plentiful supply of hay and water. Groups for the home clinic are kept to a small number, thus allowing a greater opportunity to learn and clarify and show Bryan “what you got.” It is always a pleasure when he looks at you and says “Let’s see what you got,” the challenge is always accepted because whether you could demonstrate the move or not, there is encouragement and words of advice that take you further in becoming a better horseman.

It is not only the horsemanship that draws me back time and again to a Neubert home clinic, there is a lot more to it than that including humility and humbleness in its true form from both Patty and Bryan. To be immersed in that environment really does help put a perspective on how you conduct yourself with others, livestock and with horses. You get a lot more than you expect if you are open enough and observant.

I travel halfway around the world to be at Bryan and Patty’s home because every experience with them is worth its weight in gold. That should indicate to you how worthy it is to go and experience a home clinic with Bryan. Be prepared to challenge yourself, be prepared to be open to learning, demonstrate your desire to improve and broaden your horizons and he will give you what you need in spades. So, if you have ever thought about attending, now is the time to put those thoughts into action. It takes me well over 8000 miles to get there, but the journey is the price to reach an amazing destination. I am happy to pay the price because I leave with so much more each time!

Please check out Bryan’s Schedule for an upcoming Home Clinic!

This article first appeared in issue No.92 – Buy in printBuy PDF.
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