Professional horseman Al Dunning lives and trains out of the Almosta Ranch northeast of Scottsdale, Arizona. An avid and successful competitor in reining, cutting and cow horse events, Dunning has won more than $912,000. Though he specializes in Western performance events, this multiple-association-approved judge of 27 years offers horsemanship advice to all riders through his online mentoring program, Team AD International.
Ben Baldus trains horses at the historic Waggoner Ranch in Electra, Texas. He grew up in Michigan, where he showed pleasure and all-around horses as a youth. He worked for Christian evangelist Lew Sterrett and traveled around the country before moving to Texas several years ago to work with National Reining Horse Hall of Fame member Doug Milholland at the Waggoner Ranch. There, he began training and showing reining horses. He has been a finalist at major NRHA events, including the Futurity and Derby, where he was the 2012 Open Level 1 champion on Dainty Little Step, and the National Reining Breeders Classic.
Idaho horseman Wade Black directs the equine science program at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Oregon. Growing up on ranches in the Great Basin area, Black buckarooed with his father, Martin Black, and other top horsemen. While at college at Montana State University, Black took the knowledge he'd gained starting colts and applied it to his equine science degree. To complete his master's degree in equine nutrition, Black wrote the "Foundation for Perfection," a program he uses to teach students and horses at TVCC.
In the December issue, cow horse trainer Jake Telford breaks down his circle strategy for a successful pattern. Telford has won more than $1 million in reined cow horse competition, and recently showed Nabsico Roan to the 2012 National Reined Cow Horse Association's Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Bridle Reserve Championship. Telford and his wife, Jessie, share their Idaho home with daughters Shawny and Sierra, who both ride. Look for Telford at the 2012 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in the working cow horse classes held November 2-17.