Thunderstruck Ranch is situated on 160 acres of picturesque rolling meadows, located approximately 25 miles east of Red Deer, near Delburne, Alberta. The facilities include a 70' x 120' indoor arena and a 110' x 200' outdoor arena, a heated barn, turnout pens and acres of pasture for the broodmares, foals and yearlings . Small groups of fresh cattle, a mechanical cow and some young buffalo are kept on hand for training and schooling the cow horses.
Breeding, raising and training quality cow horses is our passion! A good reined cow horse can be of any breed but we prefer Appaloosas. We begin with what we consider to be some of the best individuals available to produce exceptional minded athletes. The utmost attention is paid to soundness, athletic ability & trainability.At Thunderstruck Ranch we are committed to producing horses that can compete in today's high level of competition without sacrificing the conformation, disposition and structural soundness. Several of our horses have competed & succeeded at the highest levels of competition including The Canadian Supreme, NRCHA World's Greatest Horseman, NRCHA World Championship Snaffle Bit Futurity, ARCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, ApHC World Show & more. We are proud to have been inducted into the Canadian Supreme Hall of Fame in the Breeders Division, along with our stallion, High Sign Nugget & our great mare SW Red Velvet.
To excel in Reined Cow Horse events, a horse is not a cutting horse or a reining horse. He must be an all-around horse, one that can do a complex dry work pattern, work cattle out of the herd, and also handle cattle "down the fence" in the arena. This requires well-trained athlete with great heart, soundness, softness & confidence, one that responds to the demands of the rider. We use the services of many of Canada's best trainers, Les Timmons, Brad Pedersen, Geoff Hoar, Vance Kaglea, Travis Rempel, John & Clint Swales to help us achieve our goals. We believe in the traditional vaquero training program , which includes numerous phases, spanning several years before a horse is considered “finished.” This training method does not involve any shortcuts, but rather, requires long and patient training on the part of both horse and rider to produce the final finished bridle horse. To begin, a mild snaffle bit is introduced to the young horse. Its purpose is to allow a 2 and 3 year old horse to be guided through training without undue pressure on the tongue, roof or sensitive bars of the mouth. In skilled hands, the snaffle works on the corners of the horse's lips, providing gentle guidance to position the head, to stop and to turn. At the end of the horse's 3 year old year he should be able to perform all the necessary maneuvers required of a cow horse.
After the initial training in the snaffle bit, horses progress to the hackamore for their 4 & 5 year old years. We believe the hackamore stage to be very important to preparing the horse to be a finished bridle horse. In good hands, the hackamore softens the horse while preserving the mouth. The horsehair mecate & mechanics of the hackamore prepare the 4 & 5 year old for neck reining in the bridle.
The horses are then worked in a two-rein system of a pencil bosal (bosalito) & bridle bit. Horses learn to carry the bridle bit while still working off of the familiar hackamore system. Gradually, the emphasis of the hackamore is transitioned to the bridle reins with the hackamore there for gentle correction & guidance.The horse is now ready to move to the final stage of bridle horse, one with a confident & light mouth. The finished bridle horse will be able to perform, at speed, all maneuvers necessary for a good cow horse with little visible cuing. This is possible because of this slow start and schooling taken step by step, with little or no pain or fear associated with the training. The final result - a superbly trained working cow horse.