Here’s what Brent’s students are saying: Testimonials (Written)
In my life I have met many interesting people from all walks and talks. Few of them have been life-changing and inspiring to me. Brent Graef is a standout of these few. I have taken three, 3-day, clinics from him which covered groundwork and equitation from the saddle. I have also taken his 6-day Young Horse Handling class. I can say without reservation these were the best experiences of my life with not only horse handling but self-growth in areas seemingly unrelated to horses. These areas were profoundly and sometimes painfully or joyously revealed when we students embarked on the journey Brent provided. If you are looking for a very astute and experienced clinician with a great sense of humor; who won’t ridicule or embarrass you during the training; who knows horses like no other and can ALSO teach humans, look no further. It matters not what equine discipline (from backyard play to Olympic-level Dressage) you pursue or your experience level, taking at least one class from this easy going and soft-spoken Texan is a bucket-list MUST! You will learn so many things you didn’t know you didn’t know.
Brent Graef is an amazing man that I have studied with for approximately 10 years. I have attended numerous Brent Graef clinics, 8 Young Horse Handling classes (undeniably my favorite), and the Canyon Trail Class. Brent is an incredible clinician that is able to not only “read” the horse but also the human and adapt his teachings to meet the needs of both at any given moment. He addresses issues in a general way that never singles out one student but his students instinctively know when he is talking to them. He is the “gentle cowboy” that lives “what’s is best for the horse“. If you want to take your horsemanship and your relationship with your horse to a level deeper than you ever imagined possible, Brent is your teacher. I highly recommend attending a Young Horse Handling class. You will see your own horse with a whole new perspective and he will be forever grateful.
I first met Brent about 6 years ago when I signed up for one of his clinics in California. I had become aware of him a few years earlier after reading some of his posts on an online group that focused on natural horsemanship and was impressed with his tactful and thought provoking responses.
The weekend prior to Brent’s clinic, I had signed up at the last minute to ride in another clinic with a well-respected clinician. While I learned a lot from this clinic, I found that I was not able to effectively communicate to my horse the methods being taught and my horse was definitely not feeling successful. Admittedly, much of this trouble stemmed from my lack of saddle time, but the methods that were being used during the clinic were not able to be modified to fit the situations that my horse and I were struggling with. Instead I was told to just keep doing the same thing and he would eventually “get it”. Needless to say, I was frustrated and so was my horse.
The following weekend, I attended Brent’s clinic. What a difference! A 180 degree change in how to address the specific issues that we were having, with many different options offered by Brent to give me the tools needed to arrive at a positive end result that was a good deal for my horse.
Needless to say, my horse and I were able to feel successful as a team and work together!
Brent has the gift of being able to effectively communicate his teachings to his students and to adapt to the many changing situations that arise. He is able to help his students achieve their goals, whether it is just riding down the trail or competing in the highest levels of their chosen equestrian sport. He teaches us to see the try in a horse and what the good deal is for horse all the while being as light as possible in our communications with our horses.
Brent genuinely loves what he does and that passion shines through in his relationships with his students and their horses. When you ride with Brent, you become part of his family!
My Name is Deb Perdue from California. My Horse Cider & I took the Foundations Class in Eagle Point Oregon. Before I took the Brent Graef Clinic I had very little confidence in my own riding skills and I don’t think Cider had much confidence in me either. Although I had ridden as a kid, I felt I had to start all over again as an adult.
I was nervous about taking a clinic but the first thing I found out was what a warm & genuine person Brent is. He cares for the person as much as the horse and explained things to me in a way that I could participate at my own level throughout the clinic. During the clinic I learned to see things through my horses perspective and the concept of feel. I now understand that there are things I can do to make it easy for my horse to do what I am asking of him. And as for confidence, I learned about legwork, balance and control. Not only did I gain confidence but I think even Cider learned to trust me more each day. WOW! It was a lot to take in and we have work to do. But I caught a glimpse of where Cider and I can go together and that’s exciting!
I would highly recommend anyone considering a clinic with Brent to attend! It was LIFE changing for me and goes way past working with horses and into my daily life in how I handle my horse, people and even myself! I could never thank Brent enough for that!
I grew up in California not far from Tom Dorrance. I was lucky enough to have spent a fair amount of time around him and the horses. I’ve been a life-long student of the horse.
Enter Brent Graef. Several friends encouraged me to watch a Brent Graef clinic. These friends are as discriminating as I am when it comes to horsemanship. I had the opportunity to watch Brent in action this past summer and was thrilled with what I saw. I saw a remarkable man with extraordinary insight. His coaching style left both horse and rider with a sense of calm and confidence. Brent uses as much feel with the horses as he does their human counterpart. His tender, affirming style of coaching students through their fears is refreshing.
There were some horses at that clinic who most definitely needed the help of an experienced person. It was a treat to see the way Brent was able to help those horses. Too many clinicians today keep the horse out of trouble by getting it mentally shut down or going too hard and too fast to push the horse through his troubles. Not Brent. He does it in a way that the horse finds refuge in his feel, and peace in his company. I’ve seen very few others use that degree of sensitivity and tact. Brent’s approach is reminiscent of Tom Dorrance. I was amazed to hear Brent never met Tom. I know other clinicians who spent a substantial amount of time with Tom and, sadly, still missed the message.
After watching that clinic, I asked Brent if I could have some private one-on-one time at his home in Texas. I spent a handful of intense days with Brent this past fall. It reminded me of the precious days spent with Tom.
I haven’t been able to exactly figure out what it is that gives men like Tom and Brent that mystical quality known as “IT”. Maybe growing up on a small isolated ranch with more horses than humans has caused them to get closer to Mother Nature. Maybe because they were shy kids who kept to themselves and found refuge with the animals. Maybe it’s just something in their blood. Most definitely that feeling of serenity, calm, coupled with pure joy and zest for life comes from “all that good clean living!” as Brent would say.
I worry about this new revolution in horsemanship as many self-promoting, gimmick selling clinicians lead students like the pied piper down a path that is a disappointing representation of what Tom tried to share. (Tom used to refer to them as “surface workers”.) The “one size fits all”/ “study kit” style of horsemanship is cause for concern about where the future of horsemanship is headed. With all the dollars behind these mega-marketing masters of manipulation, it’s not always easy for people to be “Wowed” by the simplicity of a happy, soft, willing horse. The lesser-educated horse world still wants to see a 3-ringed circus. Very sad.
You can’t imagine how relieved I was to find Brent Graef. He has learned to trust his instincts. He is working to see through the horse’s eyes. He knows it’s not only about getting along with the horse, it’s about all of us getting along with each other & getting rid of the baggage. He has extraordinary insight that comes from the heart and soul. I’m excited to see him continue to learn & grow. I’m a better person for having spent time with him.