Cowboy Hats And English Tack

Posted in: Featured, Horse Training, Ranch Life

Training horses in English tack, roping, working out as a Beachbody coach and keeping up with her three-year-old daughter keep ranch wife Taren Hays plenty busy, but that’s the way she likes it. Recently, she hit “pause” on her fast-forward life at the White Horse Ranch in Eastern Oregon long enough for an interview.

JY: How long have you been doing ranch work?

TH: All my life. I grew up on a ranch in Northern California, and my brothers and I were involved in everything. We’d go to Nevada and help our grandpa with his cows, that’s where my love for Nevada and the desert started. I feel very blessed to have grown up in this lifestyle and just as blessed for being able to raise our daughter, Mesa, the same way.

Mesa looks like she feels pretty blessed to grow up on a cattle ranch as well.

Mesa looks like she feels pretty blessed to grow up on a cattle ranch as well.

JY: What do you like about ranch work?

TH: I love being in the saddle all day. Sometimes you’re alone in this huge country, just you, your horse and some cows. That is the most peaceful place on Earth. It’s sensory overload in the best possible way.

JY: How long have you been three day eventing (consists of dressage, a cross-country jump course and a show jumping course)?

TH: My interest in three day eventing began when I was around nine. One day I was riding home [from a neighbor’s house], and I saw this big beautiful bay turn the corner and do the most spectacular extended trot I’d ever seen. Of course I didn’t know what it was called then. I stopped my horse and watched a bit longer. The woman, her name was Sue, invited me in to watch the rest of her lesson and then sent me home with a backpack full of videos about dressage and show jumping. I started jumping soon after.

Jumping on gray horse

Taren shows intense focus while jumping over a log during a competition.

JY: What do you like about three day eventing?

TH: Dressage and jumping have definitely made me a good rider and sticky! My first jumping horse was a Peppy San Badger crossed with some barrel racing lines, and he was hot. I got him from my brother because they didn’t really get along and he hated cows. I have some of the best memories with that crazy red headed horse.

JY: How do the ranch work and dressage/hunter-jumper events compliment each other?

TH: I believe they compliment each other in every way. They stem from the same roots, after all. It’s all about steady progression and creating a horse that moves in his best balance. This is different for them all, depending on conformation. It’s not a one size fits all system, and my favorite part is the horses don’t all look exactly the same.

JY: Do you use the same horse for roping, gathering cows and three day eventing?

TH: As of right now I don’t. However, I have been kicking around the idea of taking Tuffy [a reined cow horse] out to the horse trials to let him do something new. He has the most adorable jump when we’re going through the brush. Now I just need to see if he’d jump rails.

Taren slides to a stop on her A-#1 cow horse, "Tuffy." She showed him in the Snaffle Bite Futurity in Reno, and has brought him all the way to the bridle stage herself.

Taren slides to a stop on her A-#1 cow horse, “Tuffy.” She showed him in the Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno, and has brought him all the way to the bridle stage herself.

JY: How do you find time to exercise and train your horses?

TH: Usually I start my mornings with a workout. My friend Murphy comes over and we do it together, that helps with accountability. Mesa usually joins in on her own yoga mat, and when she doesn’t want to, I just start a 30-minute show and she’s pretty content.

After we work out, Murphy watches Mesa so I can ride Jayme and Garry, my two jumping horses. I’m so thankful for the help, not sure what I would do without her!

Some days it feels like a whirlwind because I’ll ride them, then Ryan [husband and cowboss at the White Horse] might call and need help, so I’ll saddle up Tuffy and meet up with the guys. I love every minute of it!

Taren scoops up two feet while helping on the ranch.

Taren scoops up two feet while helping on the ranch.

JY: How many three day event competitions do you attend each year, on average?

TH: On average I’ve been doing one a year, this year my goal is three because I’d love to win the saddle series.

JY: And cow horse events?

TH: I took last year off of cow horse events, mostly because I didn’t have the time or place to practice. I also have realized I don’t really enjoy it, and I just don’t see any sense in doing something I don’t enjoy. You never know what the future holds though. I might be back at it in a few years.

All photos courtesy of Taren Hays.

Posted in: Featured, Horse Training, Ranch Life


About Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives near Fallon, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....

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