Written by Eclectic Horseman
1. How did you get involved with horses?
I was raised on a ranch in LaVeta, Colorado, where I day worked and rode bareback horses. I’ve always been around horses and had ridden colts for a few people. My cousin introduced me to Charlie Van Norman. Charlie told me if I ever rode another horse for pleasure, for work or for the public that I needed to go see Ray Hunt, and that was the beginning
2. What one word describes your ideal horse-human relationship?
Ideal horse-human relationship? Friends.
3. What are your current professional goals?
My goal is to raise top-end ranch horses, maintain a desirable Angus cross cow herd, and ride a few outside horses to the best of my ability.
4. Do you see yourself as part of a larger community of horse people, and if so, how do you fit into that community?
No. I looked up “community” in Webster’s dictionary, and it is defined as “a body of people living in the same place under the same laws, society at large, joint ownership, similarity or likeness.” There is so much variety in the horse community. There are a few people I respect and admire, and I have a very personal relationship with my horses. It’s too personal for me to consider myself as part of a larger community.
5. What equine-related product could you not live without?
My Keith Seidel saddle. It’s comfortable for me and the horse, and makes riding more enjoyable.
6. What is the most important character trait for a great horseman to possess? Why?
To be sincere, because that is what the horse is.
7. What do you get out of working with horses? What do you give?
I get the challenge of working with different horses and offering them the best I have to give.
8. Who is/was your favorite horse of all time? Why?
Grannie, the first horse I ever started. Grannie had so much ability and she put up with me through it all. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized just how much Grannie put up with. Grannie died two years ago on Thanksgiving Day. I am now riding her last baby, a bay filly that looks and acts just like her mother. I now have more experience, and hopefully with that and the grace of God, this filly will get a better deal.
9. Who would you most like to ride with?
My wife, everyday. The days we ride together are the most enjoyable for me. In a clinic or learning situation, Ray Hunt.
10. What is your most memorable horse- related moment?
There are two: When I rode my first bucking horse at the National Western in Denver. And, when Ray told me at a
clinic that my horses really liked me.
Bill Riggins was raised in LaVeta, Colorado, on his parents’ ranch. He day labored for ranchers in the area, rode colts, and rode bareback horses from 1976-1985. In 1986 Bill was hired by T Cross Ranches, Colorado Springs, Colorado, to start their colts. He worked there for 7 1/2 years. Bill met Bruce Nauman during his time at T Cross and they became lifelong friends. In 1994 Bill moved to Las Madres Ranch in Santa Rosa, N.Mex., to manage a ranch for Bruce and start a horse program of their own. Today Bill lives on the ranch with his wife, Laurie, daughter, Taylor, and son Tyler. They raise a few horses and run a herd of commercial Angus cross cows. When time permits, Bill puts on a few clinics at the ranch, or will do a private clinic for interested parties.
This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.9