Lifelong trainer Scott Willett with over forty years
of saddle time under his belt is based at Double Spear Stables in New Braunfels,
TX. Randy and Carol Nunez own the
budding three-year-old facility.
Willett primarily specializes in Quarter horses and trains,
shows and coaches events such as Western pleasure, Working Hunter, Hunt Seat
Equitation, and Western Horsemanship. Several of his clients have won
entire scholarships to colleges and various top titles.
He is a no nonsense type fellow—wiry, with well-muscled
hands. Having grown up with a father who loved horses and was in the
Air Force allowed Willett to learn from places all over the world. During
WWII, before his son was born, Willett’s father rode polo ponies in places
like New Guinea and Singapore.
“Horses were always there,” Willett said about his life.
Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, Willett later spent his childhood in Florida and
remembers his first riding teacher as Pat Barrientos. He rode hunters
back then. When he turned thirteen his parents bought him Super Spoof,
an Interstate Cutting Champion—a horse that did it all—reining, cutting, etc.
He’s been in the horse business all his life.
As an instructor, he keeps an even keel and uses different
words to say the same thing if a student doesn’t quite get a particular concept.
“I might use different adverbs and adjectives until it finally clicks.”
With a student who is fairly new to riding he might put
that person on a really broke horse and work them in the round pen on a lunge
line until the person finds their balance and seat, he said. A new client
who brings him a horse to work with is usually advised that Willett would
like a month of working with the horse during which time the client may come
observe and after that Willett will work with the mounted pair. Willett
prefers students “that are driven, that love the sport for the sport and
because of the horse, and that they try to do their best. It’s not
just about going and showing,” he said. “It takes being tough minded
and being committed. You’ve got to be methodical and have a work ethic.”
Many of his clients work with him side-by-side three to four times a week.
While Willett rides another horse, he observes them on their horses, offering
constructive comments as everybody schools. He is careful not to have
a horse peak too early either, saving its brilliance and spot on attentiveness
for the show ring.
You don’t want to have a horse do everything perfectly
on Wednesday when you really need him to show later in the week on Saturday,
Willett said. It is an art to keep the horses “interested and happy.
You keep them wanting to work without stressing them out.”
The one big difference between Willett and his clients
is that he works twelve hours a day at this, and currently has eighteen horses
On the horse business in general Willett said, “it’s
huge--big business. The horses are becoming more expensive but there’s
still room for anybody to get in.” He likes the structure of the top
shows that give a more definite time frame during which a pair is expected
in the show ring since it allows him to plan better warm ups. He considers
mentors such as John Hoyt, Nancy Cahill, Joe Farrin, and Chuba Vedlick to
be influences. Vedlick was a Hungarian gold medallist.
Scott’s favorite horse book is The Noble Horse. He only owns one horse
himself, which was a 16th birthday present for his daughter, Taylor.
“George” has a home with the Willetts for the rest of his life.
Some of the notable clients that have come through his barn are folks like
Amy Scott who won a full scholarship to Oklahoma State University via her
horsemanship. Leigh Newton Slaughter was eleven when she started with
Willett and still rides with him as a twenty-five year old. Tonya Soans
won the scholarship at the San Antonio Stock Show Quarter Horse Show while
under his tutelage. Summer Morgan also rode with him and won a scholarship
at the San Antonio Stock Show Quarter Horse Show. Patricia Stone is
one of his select riders who shows Vail Two Eyed Dude. Betsy Barton
is a notable contender as is Faith Newton, Leigh’s mother, who shows It’s
Czech Out Time. Needless to say, client Kristi Albin was thrilled to
have Willett take her $650 Appaloosa Noble Silver Star and transform it into
a $20,000 sale horse that won two reserve national championships and world
championships and is now being campaigned in Florida. “That was a special
horse,” Willett noted.
While I visited Double Spear Stables, I got to see Willett ride
a mare that was new to the barn for some women who wanted to photograph her
under saddle. Willett’s seat was so quiet, balanced and light that
it was totally understandable why a horse would perform its best under him.
There was absolutely no tension and it seemed that his body was merely an
extension of the horse’s own, as if his pelvis fit the horse’s back like
a glove. I’ve seen the French great Phillipe Karl ride like that and
Texas’ own, Francine Dismukes, an Arab trainer out of Luling. Or Daniel
Bedoya of Austin who’d won seven Bolivian national titles when I watched
him one morning as he rode a large school horse over a triple. Willett had
the same fine finesse of balance. It did not matter what gait the mare
performed. Willett remained with her, soft but not floppy. There
were no blunders in his balance. His innate and much experienced sense
kept him so aligned that he did not err even a fraction of an inch with any
segment of his body. This allowed the mare to concentrate on her work.
Naturally I was jealous. Naturally I wanted to have a body transplant.
But then again, I’m not the one riding six days a week, more than fulltime,
having paid my dues and following my dream.
Scott Willett can be reached at (830) 708-3367.
Randy Nunez, owner of Double Spear Stables along with his wife, Carol, described
the physical pluses of the facility that Scott Willett uses as a home base
these days. The barn has been up and running for over three years now.
Its New Braunfels location is ideal as it is just 20 minutes from San Antonio
and approximately 40 minutes from Austin. Board is $400/month for full
stall care and $325/month for paddock/outdoor care. Twice-a-day
feedings of hay as well as grain are included. Shoeing and worming services
are also available, if the owner so desires. Originally, Nunez pursued
the barn operation dream because his son, Ryan, rides and trains roping horses.
Now the business has taken off and Ryan, a former University of Texas football
player, manages the boarding end.
Double Spear Stables is located on a quiet 70 acres and
sports a 2,000 foot paved airstrip long enough to land a Cessna plus a 4,000
square foot airplane hanger. The huge, airy barn has 40 stalls, high
ceilings, fans, automatic watering and fly spray system and an indoor arena
for bad weather days. There are two additional outdoor arenas.
One, 180 x 330 foot large, is designed for full-scale commercial events; it
will be fully operational within a few months. Ryan has done much of
the work on it for over the past two years. The other arena is a 100
x 200 foot lighted working arena that Scott and the Double Spear boarders
use for general purposes and jumping. Nunez explained that the Stables
uses the services of Drs. Martin and Ball of the Retama Vet Clinic. Additionally,
they feed a great commercial grain mix called Barry’s Mix. So far, despite
the fact they normally have 40-50 head on the property at any one time, they’ve
had only one case of colic in three years. And in that case it was a very
older horse we had, Nunez observed.
Double Spear Stables is open for additional boarders
and is currently shopping for an additional trainer who might need up to
a twenty-stall facility.
Double Spear Stables can be reached at (830)
708-3482; 3220 Rolling Oaks Drive, New Braunfels, TX 78132. The website