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Outdoor Buddy: Chris Cox Horsemanship

Chris Cox Horsemanship

Moro Bay CA, 16-Aug-2011

Article and photos by Casey Allen

The billboard on Highway 101 reads “Discover your better nature” in Morro Bay. That is exactly what happened to us while attending a Chris CoxHorsemanship Clinic. For three days Chris Cox shared his unique understanding of the horse and his perceptive and insightful view of each rider explaining what it takes to reach the next level of horsemanship. For some, it was a hard reality that they needed a personality change to advance in the saddle and for others the enlightenment opened whole new worlds of opportunity.

Chris Cox grew up training horses. He has a natural ability and understanding of what makes a horse tick. He says he is constantly learning and has changed his methods over the years from that learning. Now he is passing his knowledge on to others, and more importantly, teaching people to see their own weaknesses and giving them a way to strengthen them. For me, the clinic was as much about people as it was about horses.

Marlene Allen was working with her 6 year old Arab/Morgan gelding, Phoenix, following Cox’s instructions. Marlene was a bit timid when asking Phoenix to move his hindquarters and Cox started coaching her, imploring her to swing her lead rope harder and harder. “Come on Marlene! Get after him! Harder, harder, harder,” he yelled. Marlene’s face turned red in anger and finally a new energy welled up. “If you would act like your face looks you could move that horse,” Cox teased. Marlene funneled that emotion to moving that horse and she did it. “Now release. Good job Marlene,” Cox finished, moving on to another student. Marlene stood with her horse, both breathing hard and both looking satisfied. That was the beginning of meaningful ground work.

"Not sure"

From the sidelines I could take in everything Cox said and take notes. Some things I jotted down are; pressure and release; direct and drive; have a purpose; be sure; do enough; don’t delay; and the release is the teach. For some students with horses the sensory overload was apparent when Cox had to repeat instructions too many times. “Okay, you can put your halter on. You can put your halter on. Put your halter on your horse!” Everyone had a good natured laugh when caught spacing out on their horse.

Chris Cox started training horses as a teenager and got a job training mustangs for the Bureau of Land Management. Over the years he developed his training program that he says is still evolving, “there will always be something for me to learn from a horse or another horseman.” Chris Cox may have learned more about horses than any man alive today. He is the three time champion of the colt starting competition Road to the Horse and he outperformed the biggest names in the business.

Every rider was fully alert when Chris Cox rode into the Morro Bay arena on a four wheeler pulling a roping dummy. This was another big challenge for Marlene and others but after trading her endurance saddle for a more stable western saddle she was able to canter after the steer on skids and follow through the figure eight turns. The confidence Marlene gained from this exorcise and others during the three days translated through her seat to her horse who could now stand still in a line of strange horses and watch other riders take their turn.

“Get after it”

Marlene and I will continue to “Ride the Journey” with Chris Cox and his teachings. We urge anyone with an interest in horses to attend a clinic, visit the website, or order his training videos. It does not matter which horse discipline you pursue Chris Cox can make you a better horseman and give you confidence that will change yourlife.(




For more information about this topic, please contact Casey Allen by calling 1-888-814-6773 or 940-327-8113 , or - e-mail