Ron Griffith and Scout
Replacement Training…  Training You Can Believe In
By Marilyn Short
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 partnership!”
 
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 exaggeration.”

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 terrible commotion.

“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 better!”

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 crossgranch@att.net.  
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