Training… Training You Can Believe In
|Ron Griffith doesn’t remember how
old he was when he first started riding horses, just that his great
Grandfather put him up on the back of one of his Belgium plow horses
where he would ride while the team plowed the fields.
“ I believe it was at that point in time, that I became hooked on
horses for life,” said Griffith.
“As a young boy,” said Griffith, “horses were my freedom, my escape, my
very best friends, my partners, my teachers and my total joy.”
Griffith started working horses when he was 12-years-old. He had
his own horse and they were really connected…a true partnership.
That horse was what he lived for…his entire world.
“At 12-years-old and without much help, you make a lot of mistakes,”
said Griffith. “The good thing is that you learn not to make the
same mistakes a second time. My horse was very forgiving and
taught me an awful lot.”
Griffith has been around horses all of his life. Through his duty
in the U.S. Marines, obtaining his Associates degree in Theology,
counseling at Christian K.I.D.S. (kids in divorce situations) and his
construction career; horses have always been his passion, joy,
therapy…his connection to being who he has been, who he is today and
who he will be in the future.
“My mainstay has been construction of every type,” said Griffith. “It’s
funny how it ties into horses because both of them rely heavily upon a
strong foundation. If you build horses or buildings on a weak
foundation, eventually it will come back to haunt you.”
Griffith believes a reliable, steady horse must have a strong
foundation. It doesn’t matter if he’s working an unbroke, green
broke, or retraining a horse; he believes fear should be replaced with
confidence, shyness replaced with courage, timidity replaced with
boldness and total reacting replaced with control.
“The horse is trusting you not to put him in any situation where he
will get hurt,” said Griffith. “You as the leader should never put the
horse in any situation that will hurt you or your horse…that’s
One of Griffith’s clients bought an Arabian mare to the Cross-G-Ranch
in Pipe Creek from California. The mare had been terribly abused
by some teenagers who ended up running her through a barbed wire fence;
she had to be sedated before being cut out of the fence. She had
a number of stitches and the horrible accident not only left her in a
traumatic state, but her spirit was damaged and she did not like men.
“My client was totally in love with this horse,” said Griffith.
“Why I don’t know. She asked if I would be willing to work the
mare because when she tried to ride her she would always run and buck
her off. My client was not an experienced rider and I believed
the mare was not the ride fit for his client. Trust me when I say
there was no connection between the two. It would have been much safer
if my client would have gotten another horse that was trail worthy, but
she wanted this horse and no other.”
When Griffith went to pick up the horse, it took about two hours to get
her to load into the trailer. He got her in the front slant, shut
the gate and when Griffith exited the trailer her nose was in his back
pushing him out the door. After another 45-minutes he was finally
on his way to the Cross-G.
When Griffith backed her out of the trailer she exited on her belly –
the horse was a mental mess. It took three whole days to get her
to load by herself and to stand quite.
When Griffith tried to worm her, she thought the worming tube was a
syringe and nearly flipped over backwards. She wouldn’t take a bit and
wouldn’t stand for the farrier.
“She was as nervous as a chicken in a den of rattlesnakes,” said
Griffith. “Every time the wind blew she went crazy…this is not an
It took the better part of a year to get the mare to where she could
trust again. Now she and her owner are inseparable, but a
trusting connection was built. Griffith’s client loved and
believed in the mare enough not to give up hope.
“There is hope for all horses, but most of the time people, as I
experience it,” said Griffith, “want the horse to do all of the
changing and that doesn’t fall under the title of horse-man-ship.
Whatever you do on the ground or on the back of a horse, you do
together as one. Horse + man = partnership.”
When people bring their horses to the Cross G Ranch, both the horse and
the owner leave different than when they arrived.
“I’ve worked with a lot of people who have had a fear of horses because
someone put them on the back of an untrained horse and they got hurt,”
said Griffith. “Helping someone like that to be able to ride again is
one of the highlights of working with horses. Horses some how get
the bad rap in those types of situation and I hate it when that
happens. When you are able to over come any fear it will change
your whole life. You look for victory over the next fear and
before you know it you’re the head and not the tail.”
Just because he’s a trainer, it doesn’t mean Griffith hasn’t had his
share of the unexpected. Griffith was riding his gelding Scout in
a Bandera parade, right behind them was a team of horses pulling a
wagon. Every time the parade stopped Scout would turn around and
face the wagon. Each time the team would start up again they
would slip and slide getting the wagon moving again, and they made a
“My brave mount Scout got the idea that he was going to go the entire
parade route backwards,” laughed Griffith. “I could not get him
turned around…all through the parade we backed up. I’m sure the
people in the crowd thought we were doing it on purpose, but I know
With the exception of the Bandera parade, Scout always accepted
Griffith as the leader and never tried to dominate.
“My most memorable horse was Scout,” said Griffith. At
15-years-old, Scout died last month from colic, and he is truly
missed. He was the ruler of the Cross-G-Ranch and he kept all the
other 7 horses in check. He was never a pet, but he was a true partner
and he always displayed his love for me. No matter where we went
or what was asked of him, he always brought me back safely and he
wanted to be near me no matter what I was doing outdoors.”
Griffith’s greatest influence is Dennis Reis from Penngrove,
California. Reis is also Griffith’s mentor, and has the greatest
respect for him and his wife Debora.
“He’s the one I talk to with any unanswered questions I may have,” said
Griffith. “ Dennis’ first priority is the safety of people and then the
horse, and he knows horses inside and out.”
For the past 37 years Griffith’s first and foremost goal has been to
continue to use the abilities God has bestowed upon him to start
babies, breaking, training and teaching, and he’s still enrolled in the
school of life and believes learning is never ending.
“Next to my wife Nancy, who I love very much, horses and people are my
passion,” said Griffith. I never forget who my God is and know
that He’s the one who put that passion in me. I am very blessed
with the gift to train horses and people and I thank God for it.”
Griffith and his wife Nancy live at Cross-G-Ranch, in Pipe Creek, Texas
and own seven horses of their own. Should you wish to contact
him, call 830-535-4822 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.