Correspondence about Starting a Colt DVD

Posted June 13th, 2014 — Filed in Horses, Testimonials


Question:     Could you give me a brief outline of the colt starting method Mr. Williams used? I am interested in possibly purchasing the DVD. . . .

Answer:     I don’t know just how to go about telling you about the video of Bud starting a colt except to say that you don’t have to be a “Cowboy” to be able to do it.  It does not require a round pen or any of the other things that are used today.  People were always wanting to watch Bud start a colt, but they quickly became bored because the horse never bucked and within 20-30 minutes Bud was riding it out of the corral and up the mountain.  About the only equipment you will need, other than your usual tack is a pair of strap-hobbles.  In the video Bud says that you don’t really need them but it certainly makes things easier and it’s always been our contention that a hobble-broke horse is much safer to ride.  I’ve been on a couple of pretty wild rides when an old, gentle horse tangled his feet in old wire, where a hobble-broke horse would have just stood and waited for you to get him out of it.  This is also true if your horse tangles himself in the fence in his pasture.  Please go to our website and read the January 21, 2014 posting.  I wrote quite a long response to go with a comment from a man in Australia.  Also, read the February 1 posting.

Comment:     I think I have seen, seen used, or used myself about every method of starting a horse possible. But my curiosity has gotten the best of me over the last month so I had to order the DVD to see this way.

Question:     I got the videos today. I was wrong about having seen it all. The videos were great. I have a question. To put hobbles on a wild horse I currently use a blindfold under a warbridle. Do you know of a better way?


Answer:     Bud never had any problem with a wild horse after he got a halter on it.   We never had a chute to put a horse in and occasionally he had to choke it down to get the halter on, but then he just worked to halter break the horse before going on to hobbling it and riding it, which shouldn’t take very long.  Maybe I should have gone into a little detail about halter breaking horses or cattle.  Here is a short post from our website about this.

  “First and foremost, DO NOT tie the animal to anything solid until you have it leading well. All this teaches him is that he can’t move, and it makes it very difficult to actually teach it to lead.
      Put the animal in a small pen.  Have a halter and lead rope on him. The lead rope should be long enough that by standing in the center of the pen, you can hold on to it with no pressure on the halter from any place the animal might go.
     You will be in the middle of the pen. If the animal is spooky, just let him move around you until he settles down. Don’t hold any pressure on the rope at all. When he settles down a little, just pull (never jerk) his head towards you, then give him slack. By pulling from the side you can “un-track” (make him take a step towards you to keep his balance) an awfully large animal.
     Never pull from directly in front, as you will only teach him that you aren’t strong enough to move him.
     Never pull from behind as you will teach him that you aren’t strong enough to stop him.
     Always give slack when he takes a step. Do not pull unless you are at the side and KNOW that you can make him take a step. Walk back and forth and all around, making him take a step towards you every time you are in the correct position to do so.
     Even after the animal is well halter broke, always start leading him by pulling to the side to get him to take his first step.”

This is something the colt will need to learn anyway.  I don’t remember it ever taking over a half-hour or so of working the colt like this before he could put the hobbles on.


“Settling” a Saddle Horse

Posted April 14th, 2014 — Filed in Horses, Stockmanship, Testimonials

Comment: . . . .   I had my best (but aged) saddle horse shipped here (2,000 mile trip with stays at new barns etc) and when he arrived he was in a real funk- he was listless, wondering around the pasture and not really recognizing me or my wife and not paying attention when I called him.  He was not really eating nor socializing properly with the other horses either.  I thought about his condition a little while and that I wanted to change it.  I have changed calves in a similar state many times but of course this is a horse.  Thinking back to the innumerable times I had to, when this low stress stuff was new to me,  think of cattle as horses, I decided to think of my horse as I do cattle then I could go to work.   I  put a rope on him, asked him to follow me, to turn left then right then backup then finally to stop and stand still. When his attention was more on me than his worries, I made him stand still (corrected him for wiggling etc) while he got a good brushing.  I curried him for some time as he needed it and then, after he was standing still on his own and calm,  let him go.  He immediately joined up with the other horses, stood calmly near them, hiked up a hind leg and was calm as could be.  Later he started grazing, but calmly now, not eating a bite then walking etc like before.   The next day he was still tired but acting again like a normal horse.  This experience made me think about proper handling-that it doesn’t just get the job done right, it doesn’t just produce great control- it really changes the animals in our charge.  I think the change that proper handling produces is deeper than I understand and maybe like (Tom Dorrance I think) said, deeper than we can understand.  If someone else out there has a horse shipped a long ways and it shows up stressed or if you work at a stable that receives horses, don’t just leave them alone, work them right. Now I have a happier horse, which makes a happier wife and thus a happier me, all just by taking his attention off his worries and troubles and on to me, then a pleasurable scratching and brushing.

Answer:    It’s amazing how working with Bud’s principals cause people to be more sensitive to everything and everybody around them.  It also teaches that you can do something about a problem even if you have no idea when you start.   One of Bud’s favorite comments was “Do something, even if it’s wrong!”

Starsky Owes Bud His Life

Posted February 1st, 2014 — Filed in Horses, Testimonials

Starsky was a 5 yr old Warmblood gelding that was taken in lieu of payment for work done by my rider from a breeder.

The horse was unbroken and had been very badly handled and treated. He hated everything and everybody. His saving grace was that he didn’t bite or kick.

We started breaking him the English way with lots of lunging and long lining and we had got to the stage of riding him. However he started to bronc and also to rear and go over backwards. He would even do this on the long lines and would throw himself into the fence.

One day after two months he went over backwards and landed on the rider, at this point, the horse was very fit from lots of lunging and work. I took the decision to send him away to live in a field with cows and not go near him for 3 months. I figured that being left in a field he would lose his fitness and would get used to being on his own. He then went to a friend who is an ex Jockey and very good with difficult horses.

Peter worked him for a month and had him long lining and going beautifully but he still couldn’t get on him. I went down for the weekend, with the decision made, that if I couldn’t ride him by the Sunday he was getting shot on the Monday.

I borrowed a dummy which he accepted really well. I got on him on the Saturday, but he reared and I came off.  I took the reins off the bit and put them on the head collar which was on under the bridle. This worked and whilst he still bucked a bit he didn’t rear so on the Sunday I brought him home.

For the next week I rode him every day and every day I shook with fear before getting on. On the Saturday the girl that helps me said “Liz you are not getting on this today he’s in a real temper.” Steve had sent me Buds DVD and I had watched it with great interest the night before but I was still concerned that buds method might make the horse angry again.


I made the decision we will do this the Bud way from start to finish. I followed Buds steps and rode the horse that day with no problem. I was delighted.  I then continued with Buds methods every day for the next month gradually reducing the steps one by one.

Starsky has continued to develope into a kind and co-operative horse.

Starsky has his first show jumping show this weekend and is now a pleasure to ride. He still can be a little cold backed but is now a happy horse who without Bud Williams and your desire to release “Starting the Colt” DVD  would be dead.

Thank you so much for sending me this DVD. Starsky owes you and Bud Williams his Life.

Starting a Colt

Posted January 21st, 2014 — Filed in Horses, Testimonials

“The benefit to me and to others of Buds “Starting a Colt” DVD has been enormous and has had a tremendous influence on some problem horses that would otherwise have been euthanized.”

This is part of a message I received from a guy in Australia and has prompted me to get back up on my soap box and let you know what I think about the way most colts are started today.

I’ve long been concerned about how many of our friends have been injured in riding accidents and have always felt that Bud’s method of starting a colt (more…)

Weaning Results

Posted October 15th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship, Testimonials

Had to send you a thank you note after our last trip across the scale.

Our best group of calves (525 head) gained over 2.6# per head per day for the first 20 days after weaning. We’re averaging right at 2#/d on 2,000 head.

I’m in a little trouble with my manager because we’re going to be significantly over our contract weight!

I hope you’re well. Thanks again for all you do!

Beef Magazine’s 50 Industry Leaders

Posted September 17th, 2013 — Filed in Testimonials

Comment:    Congratulations to Bud and you for being in the Beef Magazine’s 50 Industry Leaders! Whoever wrote it did a great job also. They never said low stress stockmanship, which Bud always said that it was proper stockmanship or improper stockmanship. The stress high or low was the end result. Thank you for contributing so much to the industry and to my life and so many others that have gone to your schools.
 Thank you

Answer:    Thanks so much for the kind words.  Here is a link to the Beef Magazine article.


“Handle Issues in the Present”

Posted June 29th, 2013 — Filed in Testimonials

Let me share something-I just went thru 2 days of continuing education for accountants in Chicago this week. The presenters had many points that related to what you and Bud advocate in life. They specifically advocated thinking about the present moment in what we try to manage and change. We control our thoughts and no one else does in life. When we release all the constraints, hangups, and distractions, it is amazing how peaceful we can become with ourselves. We become more observant, specifically with animals and people. We deal with our employees better when we handle issues with them in the present. Bud was a master at this and I specifically mentioned Bud twice in the 2 days. Bud was a true gift to us. You and Bud truly have touched my life, even though sometimes I am a little dense.

Northern California Still Remembers Bud

Posted June 28th, 2013 — Filed in Testimonials

I was in Eureka, CA last week.  I did not mention Buds name, but any time you do something on livestock handling people relate it to Bud Williams.  The folks that visited about it spoke very highly of you two.  I did not realize that is the area you spent time in.  Most of the time when I get to an area of someone that has been successful, there is negative talk or jealousy.  It was real nice to hear the nice opinions about someone you look up to.

New Videos

Posted June 11th, 2013 — Filed in Testimonials

I was very fortunate to attend your Stockman Ship School in Wyoming a few years ago and I loved every minute of it, but it is hard to retain all of the information given out during the two days. So, I have been excited and looking forward to getting the videos as soon as you had them available. I have watched about 30 minute of each one and I have already had several answers to questions I didn’t know I had….Aha!

I know I will watch the videos over and over for years to come. I often ask myself, “What would Bud say or do?” Now I can watch and learn and relearn when I forget.

 I want to thank you so much for the work and time you both put into these videos to capture and retain a lifetime of knowledge and experience.

“Bud Lives On”

Posted March 19th, 2013 — Filed in Testimonials

Dear Eunice, I wanted to send you a note as I just the other day heard that Bud had passed away. Ironically, I was putting a rather wild heifer of mine in a rather rickety corral, that I might add was definitely Not designed by Bud. Right after I hollered “EASY” at my help. Doc . . . . said to me “you knew Bud passed away didn’t you”. I was in shock and as I was pulling the calf I was thinking back on what an influence Bud and yourself have been on my life. I will never forget the quality time that I had the privilege to have spent with you fine people. Although it seems like we have lost touch I think of Bud most every time im in a sticky situation  with cattle.

Bud lives on in the lives of the many people he has touched.

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