Smokie Brannaman on Lacking Confidence

Posted in: Featured, Horse Training, Ranch Life

As a mother, I have discovered a crux of sorts in regard to horses and confidence. Here’s the thing, I have minimal confidence, which leads to guilt and feelings of depression. Horses have always been a large part of who I am, and so when I’m afraid of riding some horses, my self worth can plummet to a degree.

There are horses that I can easily and confidently ride, but, unfortunately, those horses are aging a little and don’t need a work load. So finding a new horse for me that allows me to feel like I am completely safe at all times has been a journey; one I’m still on, in fact.

I spoke with Smokie Brannaman, who hosts Fat, Fifty, and Fear clinics, to help me get to the root of my problem—one that I feel a lot of moms face—and how to gradually overcome it.

smokie brannaman

Getting to the Root

I’ll tell you first what my situation is like, then I’ll fill you in on how we can broach these feelings and emotions. So, you may have seen some photos on other blog posts of me riding my Cremello gelding. He’s a fine horse, but there have been a few instances where I feel a little uneasy; he hasn’t had anything more than excess energy, but to work through that in a way I used to is far more complicated when confidence is lacking.

A hit to the confidence generally comes when either a wreck and injury ensues, or, as Smokie Brannaman so eloquently described it, responsibilities cause trepidations. Blessedly for me, an injury hasn’t caused my lack of confidence; however, a looming threat of injury causes such real fear. I worry that I will get hurt in a way that will render me useless to my family during a time that my family requires me greatly.

“A lot of folks around that get to that point of fear, and it just kind of builds on itself. It might be a horse that is a little more than you think you can handle, or you’re older and have more responsibilities,” Smokie said. “For folks like that the first thing is to go and find a real good, trustworthy, kid-type horse that will take care of you, and get back into the mode of riding again and building confidence and go from there.”

Look for part two of three on lacking confidence on Cavvy Savvy.

About the Clinician

smokie brannamanSmokie Brannaman grew up on a five thousand acre horse and cattle ranch in southwestern Montana.  As a youngster, working with horses, cattle, and rodeoing as a professional trick roper was his way of life.  After graduating from high school, Smokie chose to serve his country in the United State Coast Guard.  Although his military duties did not always allow much time to spend with his horses, he never the less rode and trained horses of his own and others during that time. 

Smokie retired in 2000 from the Coast Guard and worked as a Corporate Operations Manager for a security company. But he soon realized that his true enjoyment came from being around horses, training, riding, and helping others with their horses. 

After working for two years as a stable manager for a large boarding stable, Smokie hired on at Ots Sunrise Farm to work with the young horses halter breaking, ground work and starting horses under saddle to progress to more advanced training. Smokie utilizes the training methods of his brother Buck Brannaman, Jeff Griffith, Clinton Anderson, and others, as well as his own techniques learned during a lifetime of working with horses. 

Smokie lives in Greenleaf, Wisconsin, with his sweety and wife Vickie and has three grown children Kat, Travis, and Jason. He raises and trains registered Quarter horses of his own. He uses those horses as cavalry horses for his hobby of Civil War reenacting and Wild West shows throughout the Midwest. Find out more at

Posted in: Featured, Horse Training, Ranch Life

About Savanna Simmons

I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...

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