Respected horseman and trainer Benny Guitron passed away on Sunday, December 18, 2016.

Benny Guitron
Benny Guitron and Too Smart For You won the 2009 Magnificent 7 competition at the Western States Horse Expo. (photo by Kathy Higgins)

Horseman and champion trainer Benny Guitron of Merced, California, died on Sunday, December 18, due to complications following a long battle with cancer.

Born February 12, 1948, Guitron was raised on his family’s farm in Indio, California. He became interested in horses through going to horse shows with his father, Felix, Sr., and was eventually influenced by the classic California stock horsemen of the era—such as Jimmy Williams, Harold Farren, Don Dodge and Tony Amaral, Sr.—and gravitated to the vaquero traditions in training horses.

His experience and training grew hand-in-hand with the growth and development of the National Reined Cow Horse Association. His long list of accomplishments includes winning the 1976 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Open Futurity and the 1979 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Bridle on Kit’s Smoke. He won both the 1980 and 1981 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Hackamore, as well as multiple American Quarter Horse Association world championships in reining and working cow horse.

In addition, he coached and mentored many champion professional and non-pro riders. A respected master of hackamore training and cow horse historian, Guitron was inducted into the NRCHA Hall of Fame in 2008.

Western Horseman featured Guitron many times, and he co-authored the Western Horseman book The Art of Hackamore Training with Al Dunning. Guitron also raised Quarter Horses and was an AQHA 20-year breeder. He was honored as the 2005 AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year.

He is survived by his two sons, Tom and Wayne, and his companion of more than 30 years, Paula Duiri. He will be missed and remembered by stock horsemen and –women across the country.



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