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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where are you located?
    Tall Timber Ranch, just southwest of Bergen, Alberta is our home base. If you are not familiar with the local area, we are about an hour west of Didsbury/Olds, an hour north of Cochrane and 30 minutes south of Sundre. Our alternate location during the winter months is just southwest of Cottonwood, Arizona. We can see the Sedona red rocks from the riding arena. It's about 5 mintues into Cottonwood, 90 minutes south to Cave Creek or Phoenix, an hour west to Prescott, 30 minutes south to Camp Verde or 30 minutes east to Sedona.
  • What is Reined Cow Horse?
    Reined Cow Horse or Working Cow Horse is a discipline involving most of the old 'cowboy' skills. From the Spanish missions on the west coast, the Doms employed many young Vaqueros, or horsemen. They had vast stretches of California grassland to cover to care for their cattle herds. In those days, there was always lots of time. Extra time was used to train the horses. The vaqueros evolved a very high level of horsemanship which is what we try to achieve today in our competitions.
  • Do you offer any horses for sale under $2000
    No. We sometimes purchase young horses to train and then sell. We have never paid less than $3,000, even for babies, so we can't sell them for less. Most of our horses are bred and born at the ranch. Stud fees vary, but the quality of stallions that we select have stud fees in the $2,500 to $10,000 range. Beyond the stud fee, the vet fees add up quickly, both for the breeding itself and then mare and foal care. We price our horses so that we can at least break even on our efforts. You may find cheaper horses elsewhere, but be careful. They are often worth what you pay for them - in terms of health, temperament or training.
  • I'm new to horses. What should I budget to buy my first horse?
    Horses take everything you have - mentally, emotionally and financially. That first horse that is just going to ride a little in the pasture, needs food everyday and a vet periodically. Horses are very curious and seem to get themselves into scraps quite often. Regardless the price of the horse to purchase, the ongoing costs are the bigger part of the equation. Farrier care every 6-8 weeks, vaccines, deworming and dental care are just the basics. If you are new to riding, we strongly recommend a lesson program. It's faster and safer than trying to learn on your own. You may want to learn some equine first aid or the basics of managing colic. You'll need basic jeans and boots with a heel to get started riding. You'll likely need some small rounded spurs too. Depending on your facilities, you may require a loafing shed for them to get out of the weather and blankets for cold or wet conditions. Fly masks and spray are important in the summer. Of course you need a halter and lead rope. Then you'll want a decent saddle, complete with all the cinches, a bridle and maybe protective boots. When you get going and are enjoying your horse, you may want to go trail riding which requires a trailer and a truck that is safe to haul. Shows and competitions also add to the cost - entry fees, hauling to the show, pen rental at the show plus new jeans and a western shirt and hat.
  • How often are the horses trained?
    All of our herd receive regular work by our onsite trainer, specific to their age, physical development and level of skill. The youngest ones may just enjoy a visit and gentle stroking at feeding time. Yearlings start learning to stand tied and to be quiet with their feet. Two year olds begin a program of ground work. Especially for the younger horses, consistency is important so training is conducted daily. Once they are started under saddle at about 3 years of age, our horses are ridden daily, learning proper collection, square stops and smooth transitions between gaits. They are soon loping easily in the arena, moving cattle and handling new challenges without a fuss.
  • At what age do you start the horses?
    At Bar TT Cowhorse, we believe that everyday is important from the day the foal is born until they leave for their new home. We like to gentle the newborns and keep working with them regularly so they are calm and inquisitive through that first year. Gaining their trust is important to us. In their 2nd year we do ground work with them, pony them on trails and teach them patience when tied. Through this period, they start to learn that when we bother them with a little poke or flag, we are asking them to try a movement. Any movement at all is a success. Soon they will know that we want them to move away from pressure (which is not their instinct). Starting in their 3rd year, we begin to back them, when they are ready, using the same cues that they have already learned from the ground. The timing depends on the size and maturity of the colt or filly as well as their general attitude. It's safer, easier and better to wait until they are ready physically and mentally before we start riding.
  • How old are the horses when they start competition?
    At four years olds our horses have begun competition and continue to refine their manoevers. Incoming molars cause mouth tenderness at this age, so these 4 year olds are worked in the hackamore.
  • Do you have rope horses? barrel horses? tie-down horses? reining horses?
    We primarily breed, purchase and train toward reined cow horse work. But not all horses are built for the discipline either mentally or physically. The sport demands a great deal of horses and a lot of learning in the early years. Some horses just don't want to work in the arena to learn these skills - and they often end up working as ranch horses. Some horses prefer to just run - straight lines or circles. These, we direct toward roping, tie-down or barrels. And some horses don't like working cattle - they prefer the discipline of reining and arena work. Because the horses show us their talents over time, we often have a few available for other sports. We believe that, like people, horses perform best when they enjoy their job. Because we start with the very adaptable American Quarter Horse, we can produce mounts for a variety of sports. Some even like to jump!
  • I just want a safe trail horse. Why is it so expensive?
    There is an irony in horse training. Speed comes early and calmness takes time. "Just a trail horse" requires a very high level of calmness, many miles of trail experience, lots of exposure to different environments - rocks, water, wildlife and birds, flapping coats, sometimes high pitched children's voices. None of these are natural to a horse. Getting a horse comfortable on the trail requires a lot of time and effort and therefore, they tend to cost more. If you are willing to go with an older horse, one that has perhaps had a performance career and is ready for a slower quieter life, you may find them to be less expensive.
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