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Buddy Uldrikson: Wickenburg AZ Workshop, Sept. 19-20, 2009

By Mike Thomas

Start of the Workshop…

The workshop kind of got off to a rough start when a couple of horses had problems and there were a few new students as well. Every level of experience and inexperience in horses and riders became obvious almost immediately and Buddy had to strap his thinking cap on, real tight!

Buddy got the more experienced riders set up with some projects to work on while he "dialed his own 911"
in his brain! I have been around Buddy for some years now and have really enjoyed his progress with "learning how to teach". His progress has been super, but the Saturday AM start presented a new challenge for him and he handled it with class. There isn't a successful "True Horseman Clinician" who hasn’t gone through the same agonizing process of trying to teach while keeping each horse and student safe!

Saturday AM Session

Buddy quickly identified the morning exercises that needed to be accomplished or worked at to prepare the horses and students for the afternoon cow working session. A combination of smooth, rounded serpentines, a lot of hindquarters work to the fence combined with a stop, backup, and then bring the forequarters across. This was combined with a lot of indirect rein with leg yields to create an arc in the body while still going forward. The favored position for working a cow with a very green horse with the horse's head looking at the cow, ribs arced away from cow and hindquarters set up for a quick stop, shift weight back and bring forequarters across without "falling through the front of the bridle". This is so the horse doesn’t face continuous failure and get "whipped by the cow", which is real discouraging to a green horse and green rider!

Buddy went to work in showing them how they need to prepare these green horses so that they could all win when the afternoon cow working started. While the students were doing that, he went to each troubled horse and rider and had them do exercises that would settle their confused horse and themselves. This worked like a charm but for Buddy it was like doing two workshops at once. It worked! By the noon break everybody was working on the same exercises and there were many more smiles on their faces and the troubled horses had settled just fine.

Saturday PM: Cow Working Session

Buddy started all students on some basic driving routines - simply moving down the arena while staying on the steer’s balance points and pushing on the right or left eye/ear to maintain the straightest line possible. Everybody got multiple opportunities. With a wide variety of experience in horses and humans, this was important! What not one student understood was how important the serpentines in the AM session are! Driving a cow anywhere is a combination of serpentines while pushing on eyes/ears from the balance point, where the bovine never loses the serpentine while going where they are directed! A good drive on a bovine is a snake trail, while they look for ways to escape! So the morning exercises on doing serpentines almost missed every human but the horse really understood!

Later in the afternoon, while driving exercises were being done, Buddy introduced the concepts of driving vs. blocking the steer, maintaining as much distance between them as possible and doing the least amount possible. The further back a green horse/student is from the bovine while maintaining control is the easiest way for both to win and not lose the cow... (God Forbid!) What started out pretty shaky wound up in a real fine place.

John Keogle (sp) and great little Peppy San Badger/Doc O’Lena bred mare did real well and helped anchor moments of confusion by helping others see what he is getting done with his long relationship with Buddy Uldrikson. A gentleman on a horse in every sense of the word!

Dave and Monet were the "glue" of the 1st day and they were incredible at helping others! They know no other way and that is why they have been a team for life! They "teamed up their horses a few years ago" and I can’t see anything but a great marriage, great desire for improved Horsemanship, Lifemanship and Friendship! Whenever you get to meet these incredible people… don’t miss the opportunity!

Sunday Session…

Sunday from the get-go was a huge improvement over the day before. Every horse and rider rode into the arena and each was on a mission practicing where they left off and thinking all night about it, each horse/student (synonyms) knew exactly what they needed to do.

Buddy then had them go to work on the same things they did just 24 hours before but now there was a major improvement! Sherri Noel almost became the star of the workshop. She had the "BlueRoanGray" working off feel, fully responding to her in every way. Their was an incredible peace between them that I just could not quit looking at. Julie and Appy, who were real green, started off in awesome manner! Appy hung in for Julie and really worked at sorting out what Julie wanted to do. Monet Groff and Doc, more advanced, helped Sherri. Students helping students: it’s a beautiful thing!

Dave Groff and Buddy were doing demos for all to see that would help the AM Session and People Did Well, all students' learning curves took a sharp turn in a linear manner to the heavens. Almuth and Jim Mason showed up and Almuth with Dutch went to work starting up where she left off a couple of months ago at another workshop. Cindee Grimes who rode Popcorn the day before was now riding the incredible Thelma and having fun, something she has needed for a long time!

Jim and Moose had really improved a lot in the last 3-4 months had a super day and it looked good! Kay Lewis that rode on Saturday prepared an awesome lunch! To me that is very important and I like her paint horse a lot. Lisa Jacobs did a great job with the "Nifty Bay" and has great hands with feel.

Almuth Mason like in a clinic before just kind of "kicked ass" in a very right way. This lady has awesome TRY and Dutch is right with her. Almuth and Dutch gave incentive to all others, 2 and 4 legged students. She has Guts and Try! This is the hardest thing to teach, but if you see somebody like Almuth and Dutch, you will instantly know that you can get better! Thanks Almuth, Dutch and Jim!


Buddy Uldrikson in the last several years has been tested to the hilt. This is a fellow for whom even talking on a cell phone is like being taken to the woodshed for a whipping. He has had to overcome his reticence with his sincere love of True Horsemanship with feel, which he can easily understand but has had to work to learn how to tell others. This is difficult for anyone!

This is a wonderful thing for me at age near 70 to see! Just as I have seen Buck Brannaman from age 16, Paul Dietz from age 14, Ray’s family of Van Norman’s, Blacks and the wonderful progress of Bryan Neubert, Joe Wolter, and many others from the "Inner Circle of Quality Horsemanship" in the last 40+ years.

People with a confused horse or a confused self can find a place for HOPE! Does Buddy have it all figured out yet? No! Because he has not met you or your horse yet! I say that with a smile...

“There Is A Better Way!”

Mike Thomas ( Himself)