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☛ How to make safe banking transactions online 7-26-16




By Rick Dennis
July 26, 2016


In my last article Keeping Your Finances Secure When Paying Horse Training Facilities, dated July 11, 2016, I discussed the steps necessary to practice secure and safe banking practices when issuing checks for services rendered. In this article, I will expand on safe-banking practices by providing a tutorial on conducting safe-banking business on the Internet.


As a Certified Protection Professional (CPP), my job is to provide my customers with an overview of their existing banking practices as well as providing necessary upgrades when deficiencies are found during a Risk Analysis. Internet banking is becoming a commonplace practice that provides enhanced banking opportunities for those living a busy lifestyle. If performed correctly, it’s a welcome addition to our busy lifestyles, but if performed incorrectly, it can be hazardous to your finances.


I, for one, am an avid user of Internet banking practices, which I find indispensable in running the daily financial needs of a busy company as well as the needs of a busy executive. Instead of having to go to the bank to deposit checks, I can deposit them anywhere in the U.S. with the aid of a cell phone. Instead of having to go to the bank to make account transfers, I can simply use my smart phone and my banks app to move money from account to account. A bank’s ATM’s make access for deposits and withdrawals. I can use my bank’s app to regularly check on my bank accounts or receive alerts from the bank signaling suspicious activity on either a bank account or my credit card.




Prior to using the Internet for banking practices, use common sense guidelines to steer you correctly such as:


1.         Check with your bank and ascertain whether or not the bank even offers internet banking practices.


2.         If your bank offers safe Internet banking practices, ask whether or not their system is encrypted. In cryptography, encryption is the process of encoding messages or information in such a way that only authorized parties can read it. Encryption does not in itself prevent interception but denies the message content to the interceptor. In an encryption scheme, the intended communication information or message, referred to as plain text, is encrypted using an encryption algorithm, generating ciphertext that can only be read if decrypted.


3.         Whether you’re using a home computer, laptop or smart phone, the first step is to download anti-virus protection for all devices. If you’re connecting to the Internet at home using wifi or cable networks, via a modem or on the road, using your smart phone via wifi hot spots download security programs for your computers or an app for your smart phone that will provide you with a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) experience.


4.         Once you’ve installed the necessary safety programs for your computers and app for your smart phone or tablet, go online and set up your Internet banking account using a user name and password. Safeguard this information at all times and never allow your computer to remember them to prevent unwanted access to your bank account. The same applies to your banks ATM access codes.


The final step is to download the bank’s app for your smart phone, android or Apple device.  If you’re using a tablet, you must perform the same safety precautions you’ve used for your smart phone.  After all, a tablet is considered a phone with its own telephone number.


5.         MODEMS




Another good recommendation is to use the features included in modern security suites that can run your browser in a safe box that’s isolated from the rest of the operating system and make it harder to intercept what you are doing. Some security products also encrypt the traffic that goes through that safe box, thus making it harder for others to intercept your web traffic.


Many people also use a mobile Internet modem to connect when they are on the road. Using this connection is much safer than using some free wifi you know nothing about. If you can choose between the two, always make financial transactions via the Internet modem.


6.         If your using your smart phone or tablet to conduct internet banking, NEVER initiate or perform these services using the built-in 4G/LTE phone browser.  Always use the bank’s designed app that comes fully encrypted. This provides a much safer banking experience. Pay attention to your phone’s browser alerts which notifies you of any unwanted intrusions or hacking attempts of your system.




One of the safest solutions to issuing checks to pay reoccurring bills is to allow the bank to do it for you. One of the best conveniences of Internet banking is to simply set up a check payment plan with the bank. By setting up this system, the bank writes and sends the checks and in turn sends you an alert that the check is in the mail. Normally this type of checking convenience is free of charge. Check with your bank for any costs you’ll be charged for using this secure banking practice.




Whether you’re using a wifi service, a modem at home for Internet connection using an Internet Service Provider (ISP), your smart phones LG/LTE service or a dish service, it’s imperative for you to maintain and install security updates for each system when required.


Normally your smart phone apps are automatically updated; however, some security suites for computers require you to either manually update or set your computer to automatic updates. Either way, your security system is only as good as the updates allow it to be, which is accomplished by supplying it with the latest spyware and malware security information. Hackers are designing new infiltration programs on a daily basis. Stay abreast of these attacks with a secure and up-to-date security system and enjoy safe internet banking practices.


“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between The Bridle!”


Richard E. “Rick” Dennis (CPP)

Managing Member

Wind River Company LLC

Office/Mobile – (985) 630-3500


Web Site:





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☛ Keeping your finances secure when paying horse training facilities 7-11-16






By Rick Dennis
July 11, 2016

Rick Dennis

Over the years, I’ve worked on a myriad of Risk Management cases involving either the theft or embezzlement of funds from a client’s bank account or credit cards.  However, the conclusion or “Root-Cause-Analysis” allowing this theft to occur is generally the same. Inadequate or non-existent banking security practices, inadequate accounting practices along with misguided trust, on behalf of the client, is usually the culprit. More and more we’re seeing these types of thefts occurring in the horse industry emanating from horse-training facilities.


For the record, these types of criminal infractions aren’t relegated to one particular part of the horse industry but seemingly encompasses the industry “across-the-board.” Training facilities should be aware of the fact that if the proper security is not in place and maintained for a protection of client assets and a theft generates from an individual working at the facility acquiring the bank account and routing number off of a client-issued check for training or other purposes, or a credit card number, it’s quite possible the training facility can have culpable liability issues in the matter.


The two methods used to facilitate the thefts are:


1.         The clients bank account, and


2.         The clients credit card.




Using No. 1 as an example, I just completed analyzing a case involving the theft of over $500,000 during a four-year period, using the client’s bank account and routing numbers as the extraction vehicle. The thefts emanated from a horse-training facility. While I’m not at liberty to discuss the specifics of the case due to an on-going criminal investigation, my “Root-Cause-Analysis” identified over-trust on the client’s behalf as well as non-secure banking practices, inadequate record keeping, i.e, usual and customary personal accounting practices, and the absence of an established and integrated Risk Management Program as the culprit.


However, by designing, implementing and integrating an active Risk Management Program, the clients are able to prevent future thefts of this type along with a possible recovery of assets. Upon discovery of the theft, the client filed criminal charges, the alleged perpetrator was arrested, criminally indicted afterwards and is awaiting trial.


Dakotah Lindsey Harrell (Defendant) is identified as a former assistant trainer at Merritt Wilson Cutting Horses. The thefts occurred while Harrell was employed at this location according to clients.  For additional information please click on the following link:


Click for Dakotah Harrell’s arrest warrant>>

Click for Dakotah Harrell’s booking>>

Click for Dakotah Harrell’s Facebook page>>

Click for Dakotah Harrell’s Indictment article>>



Using No. 2 as an example, an ever-increasing and growing problem inundating the horse industry is the unauthorized use of, or misappropriation of, client’s assets using the clients credit card as the extraction vehicle. Generally, thefts of this type occur when an unsuspecting client provides a training facility with his or her credit card number for an incidental purchase of some type. Thereafter, the client discovers ongoing unauthorized purchases by the perpetrator, but the damage is already done and possibly significant. Afterwards, an arrest and prosecution usually follows. Again, as a Risk Analyst/Threat Assessment Manager, I can hypothetically surmise the “root-cause-analysis” as:


1.         Over trusting the recipient of this information on the client’s behalf,


2.         Inadequate accounting and monitoring practices on the clients behalf, and

3.         the absence of an active and integrated secure Risk Management Program within the confines of the client’s financial practices.


The following is an article published in regarding a Brock, Texas, trainer stealing money from a client’s credit card. She had previously been indicted in Alabama for the same offense.


Click for article>> 



 Generally speaking, it’s very difficult to recover one’s assets after a theft. In the case of cyber-security breaches or thefts “over-the-internet,” the chances of recovery are almost nil simply due to the fact that the perpetrator is located in another country. In the case of domestic thefts, the probable chances of asset recovery is low simply due to the fact the accused has already spent your money and it’s gone and legal litigation for an attempted recover is an expensive proposition with no guarantees of success.


The two most used methods for a recovery of assets is by judicial restitution after the arrest and conviction of the violator, or filing a complaint with the IC3 Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the event of credit card theft. For the record, credit card thefts are usually performed by the Secret Service. My best advice to prevent the theft or unauthorized use of a credit card is to prevent it before it occurs by instituting sound financial practices in your life style.



 When I’m providing a general security consulting service, designing and implementing a Risk Management Program after a review, or compiling and formulating a Risk Management report after a review, I always advise the client to use common-sense banking practices to safe guard his or her valuable assets. (e.g.)


1.         Never blindly trust an individual with your personal banking information,


2.         ALWAYS safeguard your financial institution information whether this information is your internet banking passwords, bank account routing and account numbers for checking accounts or credit card type and numbers,


3.         NEVER blindly provide this information to anyone,


4.         NEVER allow your computer to save your login information, (e.g.) user name and password, When using the internet to pay your bills, always make sure you’re on a secure network,


5.         When disposing of financial information, always use a shredder or completely burn this information,


6.         ALWAYS set up an auxiliary bank account with a limited amount of funds for use in conjunction with a trust or holding account. Never pay bills directly from a trust or holding account. In the event of a breach of security, the thief will only have a limited amount of assets to steal – not your entire bank account,


7.         ALWAYS monitor your bank account activity multiple times a week, if not on a daily basis, to apprise yourself of any suspicious activity on your bank account. In today’s high-tech banking industry, an app can be downloaded on your smart phone enabling this secure process and


8.         INVEST in a credit-monitoring service to alert you of any changes in your credit report or suspicious activity.


There are plenty of resources available to seek advice from to protect your assets and provide additional information on the subject matter. Knowledge and common sense are the keys to success and prevention.  Be proactive, not reactive!


“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!


Richard E. “Rick” Dennis (CPP)


Web Site:


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☛ Could Feds take over equine drug policies? 5-5-16






By Glory Ann Kurtz
May 5, 2016
The thought of the federal government being in charge of the drug policies in the horse industry is pretty scary. However, that may happen sooner than we think.


During a Congressional Hearing on Thursday, April 16, it was reported by the Baltimore Sun that former Maryland Jockey Club chief executive Joseph A. De Francis told members that “the public’s dwindling confidence in American horse racing’s medication policies has reached a critical state, bordering on an industry crisis.” He said the industry has failed “to address on a national level,” the issue of abuse and misuse of racehorse medications.

Click for Baltiimore Sun article>>


This speech came only days after Jess C. Meche, a 21-year-old exercise rider at Delta Downs Racetrack in Vinton, La., died in a training accident on April 11. Meche, Church Point, La., was killed when a Quarter Horse, Czech Revolution, fractured both front legs, throwing the rider to the ground, landing on the jockey’s head and upper body. Sound like a terrible accident? And what did the death of a Quarter Horse exercise rider have to do to with a Congressional hearing on drugs in the Thoroughbred racing business?


Plenty. According to the Paulick Report, a top racing website, “Czech Revolution was trained by M. Heath Taylor, who in September 2012 was suspended five years and fined $10,000 by the Louisiana State Racing Commission for a Dermorphin positive at Delta Downs last May 25. Dermorphin, also known as frog juice because it originally came from a secretion from South American free frogs, is a powerful pain killer classified as a Class 1 drug by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI). Class 1 drugs are considered performance-enhancing substances and the most dangerous by the RCI and serve no therapeutic use in horses.”


Pain killers obviously make horses run faster, even with legs and knees that aren’t sound, causing joints to give away when they are running either maiming or killing the horse and/or the rider.



Another article in the Paulick Report reported that trainer Dale Romans, who has won major races around the globe, from the Group 1 Dubai World Cup with Roses in May, the G1 Preakness Stakes with Shackleford, to numerous Breeders’ Cup races, has become disenchanted with the state of racing in the U.S. (due to the use of drugs) and appears to be eager to make a major change as he nears his 50th birthday.  He indicated that he would love to join the training ranks in Hong Kong, should a license become available.


Romans said he was “sick of what’s happened to the sport in the U. S. I’m done with it. I’m a horseman and I think races should be won by the better horseman, not something else. I was very impressed with what I saw in Hong Kong when I was there and I know that, because the vet side of racing is so tightly controlled there. It’s the superior horseman who will succeed. They’ve never had an American trainer but if they want me, I’d love to train there.”

Click for Romans article>>



Taylor, a leading trainer in the Quarter Horse business, obtained a stay of his Louisiana suspension, as did Alvin Smith Jr. (suspended 10 years); John Darrel Soileau (10 years); Alonzo Loya (five years); Kyi Lormand (3 years); Anthony Agilar (six years) and Gonzalo Gonzales (3 years. Only Keith Charles, among the eight trainers suspended in Louisiana for having a horse in their care test positive for Dermorphin, accepted the penalty without filing an appeal.


How are they getting away with this? According to the Paulick Report article, Quarter Horse racetracks in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and California have used their private property rights to exclude trainers with recent Class 1 violations, including the Louisiana trainers with Dermorphin suspensions. The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) also announced sanctions against the trainers with Class 1 violations, suspending their AQHA memberships and disqualifying their horses from Racing Championships or year-end honors. (See below as the AQHA recently suspended this program.)

Click for Paulick Report on exercise rider’s death>>>


However, Louisiana racetracks have not followed suit. Boyd Gaming, a publicly traded company, who owns 22 casino entertainment properties in Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, owns Delta Downs and another Louisiana track, Evangeline Downs. Horses that suffer fatalities in Louisiana do not undergo post-mortem examination or toxicology tests!


In the meantime, Quarter Horse training accidents are killing horses jockeys and exercise riders at an alarming rate across the country.  In his speech during Congressional hearing, De Francis said, “The erosion of public confidence has reached a critical state and I truly believe that we are just one catastrophic breakdown in a Triple Crown race away from destroying public confidence to the point where it would be decades before the sport could recover – if it ever would.” He continued, saying , “There’s no doubt that the horse racing industry is currently in a state of crisis.”


The hearing at the U.S. Capitol examined legislation requiring that a uniform anti-doping program be developed and enforced by an independent authority. Advocates of the bill say the sport, which is overseen by several dozen state commissions with varying rules, needs more uniformity to curb equine medication abuses. Opponents argue that such an approach would usurp states’ rights ad create an unneeded new layer of bureaucracy.



In addition, on March 7, 2016, the AQHA announced their new Multiple Medication Violation System (MMVS) was being suspended to more thoroughly evaluate the MMVS program.  According to AQHA President Dr. Glenn Blodgett, “AQHA continually evaluates the cost and benefit of the program to ensure that AQHA resources are devoted in the most effective way for achieving the goals of the program.


“The creation by AQHA of a comprehensive database of drug violations across all racing jurisdictions has required tremendous resources and one that going forward would require AQHA to triple the number of staff assigned to the program These additional staff members would be needed to properly document violations, enter such violations in the database, and to provide notices of violations to both the racing jurisdictions and the violators themselves.


“The AQHA Executive Committee has determined that the time is right to conduct a thorough evaluation of the MMVS prior to allocating additional resources to the program,” said Dr. Blodgett. “In order to conduct the necessary evaluation, it makes sense to temporarily suspend the MMVS program so that the current resources and staff assigned to processing MMVS files can instead turn their attention and efforts to the evaluation process.”

Click for full MMVS article published by AQHA>>


My question is, “Is this costly endeavor being discontinued because the AQHA feels that the federal government will soon be controlling it and they can save their money, do they feel that state laws could override their penalties or is the fact they are involved in Quarter Horse Racing and each year a member of their Executive Committee is deeply involved?





Frank Merrill wrote an interesting article in the April 15 issue of Quarter Horse News regarding the federal take-over of the drug problem in horses, saying , “A federal mandate governing equine medication and punishment for violations could very well be the answer to our welfare concerns. But it’s imperative that the feds are presented with our own set of rules and guidelines (by horsemen, for horsemen). If left to their own discretion, the feds will structure policies that none of us can live with and, as a result, our industry will suffer greatly.”  I think he has hit the nail on the head!

Click for Frank Merrill article>>



Rick Dennis’s Certificate from the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, dating as far back as 1973.

Rick Dennis, Wind River Company LLC, is a frequent writer for this website and has written several articles on drugs in horses, including one from Aug. 6, 2014 published on, called “The Mechanical Horse – A Horse Under the Influence of Drugs.”

Click for “The Mechanical Horse”>>


Rick’s been there and done that. He has a Certificate from the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, dating as far back as 1973, and his Drug and Alcohol interdiction Programs have been an industry leader in the private sector since Jan. 28, 1984. His modified drug-interdiction program, i.e. augmented drug law enforcement programs adaptable for private industry use, revolutionized private-sector drug and alcohol-interdiction programs. He is celebrating his 29th year as a Third Party Administrator (TPA) administering DOT employee drug and alcohol testing programs in the private sector.


More importantly, he’s been involved inn Congressional Hearings on drugs! He was the first security professional to provide consultation services to a U.S. Senate Subcommittee, U.S. Navy and Department of Defense referencing private sector drug interdiction programs for adoption and interphase with the U.S. Military; the first security professional to establish an employee drug-testing laboratory in Louisiana: Certified Lab Inc., in 1987 and the first security professional to author, implement and maintain a drug- and alcohol-testing program designed specifically for contractor application for Exxon Company, USA Mobile Bay Construction Project, Mobile Bay, Ala

Click for Rick Dennis experience and achievements>> 


I asked Rick if these congressional hearings have any correlation with what he experienced in the problem of drugs within the military and for company employees. Following was his response:


“The recent Federal hearings on drug testing in the equine industry are reminiscent of how the federalism of drug and alcohol testing in the private sector began. Initially, the hearings were billed as, “looking for solutions to the drug and alcohol abuse in the private sector to reduce accident rates and provide a safer working environment for employees.”  Opponents to drug and alcohol testing alluded to the fact the federal program would never come to fruition. However, after a series of congressional hearings in 1986 and 1987 the reality of federal drug and alcohol testing of employees became a reality in the private sector in 1988 and continues today.


“During the initial or embryo stages of the federal drug and alcohol mandate hearings, I was summoned to Washington D.C. and testified before a Senate subcommittee and was quizzed about the types of drugs my private company was seizing in the private sector as well as the job environment the employees were working in. In fact, my private sector Company specialized in designing, implementing and maintaining drug and alcohol prevention policies to prevent drug abuse among the workforce. The drug prevention program included employee and supervisor training as well as  searches of employees, their personal effects, vehicles and company-provided housing (where applicable).


“The initial federal drug-testing mandate was designed by Mr. Rip Rippert in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). The federal drug and alcohol testing requirements were included in the federal register under 49, CFR, Part 40 drug and alcohol testing rules and regulations.  The program has a broad scope, as it does today and includes: The FAA, oil and gas pipelines, Federal highway, marine industry, nuclear industry, etc. The federal guidelines included laboratory testing and certification standards, sample collection, transport and retainment protocols, records retention, privacy, reporting protocols, drugs tested for and Medical Review Officer standards.


“The federal program also included fines and punishment for certain employees in designated positions.  For example, ‘boat captains with U.S. Coast Guard licenses failing a drug or alcohol test are suspended after a confirmed positive, ordered to a disciplinary hearing before a Coast Guard tribunal and usually lose their licenses and their jobs.  Subsequent to same, the employee is required to attend mandatory drug and alcohol rehabilitation at his or her personal non-refundable expense. After successfully completing mandatory rehabilitation, the employee is allowed to reapply for his or her license.  However, there’s no guarantee the license will be reinstated. It’s essentially, a very expensive proposition for the violator.


“I see the same type of atmosphere brewing today in the horse industry. Overall, if the horse industry doesn’t want to experience the same federal takeover of their industry under a federally mandated drug-testing program, my advice would be to take care of their industry themselves. In essence, along with federal mandates comes a rapid vast expansion of government control and regulations as well as broad fines and penalties for the violator and non-compliant company or individual … or in the case of the horse industry, the non-compliant association and/or members.”



What does this possible federal intervention mean? If you are a horse owner and do something with your horse, other than feed it and look at it, you will be affected financially … even if you have no intention of using drugs. Whether you are a cutter or a reiner, or involved with the reined cow horse, mounted shooting, barrel racing, Western or English pleasure, halter, racing or even just trail riding, you will be affected. Your association, whether it be large or only 25-30 members will be affected. Your veterinarian will be affected. The sale companies will be affected. And the money will come from you.


The federal government has already gotten involved in horse abuse cases – and they will include horse-abuse cases with across-the-board penalties that will be very costly, not only to events, associations and horse farms but to individuals. It will no longer be a state’s decision, as it is today with the horse abuse laws. (Today, animal abuse is a felony, only if the state allows it to be.)


Instead of trying to figure out a way to get out of the penalties of using drugs, or ways to keep them from being detected, those in the industry – both individuals and associations or events – need to try to figure out a way to unite and keep drugs out of their horses and events. I just hope it’s not too late.








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Thanks Rick and Glory Ann for all you do!


Thanks Rick and Glory Ann for all you do!

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☛ NRCHA growing by leaps and bounds 4-9-16






By Rick Dennis
April 9, 2016


Rick Dennis showing Dual Train, NRCHA Johnny Quick Maturity Champions in herd work and earned an NRCHA Superior. The 2005 daughter of Dual Peppy is out of Nics Train by Reminic.

While the history of the reined cow horse can be traced back to the late 1800’s and attributed to the Vaquero (Spanish) training methods for working cattle on ranches, today it has become a popular event in the horse industry which, unlike most Western horse disciplines, is drawn to by spectators. As a result, the reined cow horse industry’s association, the NRCHA, is growing by leaps and bounds.


While it originated in the United States on the West Coast, today reined cow horse training facilities are located on the West Coast, in the Heartland of the Mid-West and in the Southern States with each day beginning the same.


The cool morning air is filled with the sounds of feeding buckets being filled, horses excitedly whinnying while awaiting feeding and the hustle and bustle of the riders gathering their saddles and tack for another round of training and fine displays of true horsemanship.


This morning ritual signifies a reined cow horse training facility’s daily journey to achieving one more rung up on the ladder of success in the show pen and possibly, in the end, a reined cow horse World Championship title.


The nostalgia surrounding the reined cow horse is renewed each year during the association’s annual shows, including the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity, NRCHA Stallion Stakes, NRCHA Derby, NRCHA bridle and two-rein classes as well as the NRCHA Hackamore Classic. The NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman event further defines and illustrates the versatility of the reined cow horse with horses and competitors successfully vying for a championship title after negotiating four individual disciplines: herd work, rein work, fence work and steer stopping.”


Each fall a new era of reined cow horse pedigrees are ushered in, measured and defined during the world famous NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity with the participation of long 3-year-old colts and fillies. The horses and rider are subjected to a very demanding display of horsemanship capabilities while negotiating the three legs of the NRCHA required disciplines: herd work, rein Work and fence work. Today, the NRCHA, under the guidance of its Executive Director Mr. Jay Winborn, is holding its own in a down-turn economy and, according to their recent stats, in some cases is growing in both show participation and membership – unlike most equine associations.


Winborn, with his innovative ideas and expert guidance, is definitely the right man for the job. The NRCHA has added new classes, which make the association even more appealing to new members and participants. According to the NRCHA web site all first-time members are entitled to a one-year free membership. However, this only applies to individuals who have never been a member of the NRCHA.


Also, riders can show any breed of horse in any class; even horses that are not registered.



According to Winborn, “In 2013 the NRCHA launched its “Free Ride” campaign offering a free membership to first time members of the association. The response was overwhelming resulting in an all-time high point of membership for the association.


“If nothing else, it brings awareness to the sport of reined cow horse and the NRCHA, which is something we have not had in almost two decades. Our membership and participation has grown substantially in the past three years. Our shows continue to set new yearly attendance records and with our newly formed relationship with the National High School Rodeo Association, it has grown our youth association by more than double.


“In 2014, we had a total of about 3,000 entries in the youth classes at our premier and affiliate events. In 2015, that number jumped to over 8,000. Our philosophy on attracting new members is to appeal to people who are already involved with horses; those that know the ins and outs of ownership and competition, and expose them to our sport. We have added classes that can appeal to almost any level, but we also realize that this is not necessarily a sport you pull people off the street to jump in and get involved with. However, we have had a lot of success of people coming over to the reined cow horse and with our initiatives to grow the youth and amateur base that we feel will insure our success in the future.”





John Ward riding Nic Chex, the 2000 NRCHA Stallion Stakes Reserve Champions Fence Work. The 1996 bay stallion (Reminic x Bueno Chex Kaweah), is an NRCHA Superior Cow Horse and was owned by Rick Dennis.

The following analogy is an excerpt from my latest book CROSS TRAINING 101 – Reining, Cutting, Cow Horse delineating a history of the reined cow horse: “The original “stock horse” name is a historic phrase as is cow horse or cow pony and is still used colloquially today, referring to a particularly small agile cattle-herding horse, a term that dates to 1874. These horses are characterized by their agility, quickness and their powerful hindquarters. They are usually noted for intelligence and “cow sense,” having an instinctive understanding of how to respond to the movement of cattle so as to move livestock in a desired manner with minimal or no guidance from their riders. These horses are used both as working animals on livestock ranches or stations and also in competition where horses and riders are evaluated on their ability to work cattle and perform rein work.


The long-standing history of the reined cow horse or stock horse has been traced and directly attributed to the Old Style or Vaquero (Spanish) training methods of the California and Southwest regions of the United States. The California (Spanish) Vaquero’s are credited with the development of these specific horse-training styles and equipment which brought a horse along at a slow pace and ultimately produced a superior animal for use on the ranch to perform daily chores or working cattle.


It was this early lifestyle of the Spanish Vaquero’s (cowboys), their horses and specialized horse-training methods that eventually developed into competition on the Western ranches among Vaquero’s and their coveted horses. This centuries-old training method provided the Vaquero with his most prized possession and working partner: a stock horse that was light and collected, controlled with a whisper and yet exhibited the raw-bone strength, speed, athleticism, heart and stamina to perform daily ranch duties such as cattle herding, roping, calf separation, branding, fence building, range riding and other general ranch duties.


The Gold Rush in California, modern livestock management and the Great Depression are the three major contributing factors in the decline of the stock horse in the early nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which eliminated vast cattle herds and ranches. This realignment of economics caused the stock horse to become more of a luxury than a necessity and continued through World War II. There was little time to worry about the tradition of the stock horse during these historical times and to prevent its legacy from slipping into obsolescence in our nation’s history.


At the end of World War II, a group of California horse trainers came together to form the California Reined Cow Horse Association in 1949 to preserve the legacy of the “Vaquero or Old Style” training methods and the California stock horse.  This association eventually developed into the association we recognize today – The National Reined Cow Horse Association that was established in 1988 and “continues and carries on the tradition and legacy” of the remarkable Vaquero (Spanish) training traditions, the reined cow horse and the Old West.”


Reined Cow Horse Exhibition:  The three events of a reined cow horse competition make it the most thrilling and demanding of all performance horse classes and tests the ability of both horse and rider. Horses are shown in classes by age and generally consist of a Futurity, a Derby, a Hackamore or Bosal class, a Two-Rein or Double Bridle Class and a Bridle class for finished reined cow horses.  Each class is designated by the age of the horse.


Until lately, each class consisted of herd work (similar to cutting), rein work (similar to reining) and cow work (controlling a cow down the fence.)





Reined cow horse trainers are a special breed themselves. They’re as special as the horses they train. It’s really hard for a trainer to completely master one specific discipline, much less master three or four, like you have to do if you wish to compete in the NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman which includes roping.  During my professional career I’ve been very fortunate to have personally known some of the best of the best and true legends in their own right who have dedicated a life’s work to the reined cow horse industry: Greg Ward, John Ward, Ted Robinson, Smokey Pritchett, and Todd Crawford to name a few.


A reined cow horse legend is born:


Greg Ward, dubbed “The Master” by his friends and admirers is an early afficionado in the reined cow horse industry. Greg, a California native, a reined cow horse trainer, breeder and an NRCHA Hall of Fame inductee has a long list of accomplishments in his reined cow horse resume. Greg is known in the industry as an “Icon” due in part to his horsemanship and training ability, his showmanship ability in the show pen and his expert cow-horse breeding knowledge.


Greg’s mastery of this equine sport, along with his enumerable contributions to the cow-horse industry definitely spurred interest in the reined cow horse and furthered the NRCHA. The Ward Ranch (GW) brand is world renowned. Over the years, the Ward Ranch has produced some of the finest breeding and working stock horses in the industry and their genetics are still carried on today by their descendants.


During my professional reined cow-horse training career I’ve owned, ridden, trained or shown colts and fillies produced by Greg’s famous breeding stock: Hall of Fame inductees “Filinic,” and “Master Remedy” as well as Reminic, Dual Pep, Dual Peppy, Mister Dual Pep, Just Plain Colonel, and Smart Little Pepinic.


Greg, a four-time Snaffle Bit Futurity Winner, a leading breeder of futurity winners, a perennial supporter of the reined cow horse industry died December 6, 1998 of cancer. He was 63. Today the Ward Ranch legacy is carried on by Greg’s son John Ward. John is a legend in his own right both in the cow horse and cutting pens having earned two NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity World Championships and a million-dollar rider status. For more information on the Greg Ward dynasty click on the following link:


Click for H&R Greg Ward article: Farewell to the Master>>



The winningest rider of the reined cow horse industry:


Ted Robinson (also known as Teddy) is the winningest rider in the history of the reined cow horse, with seven NRCHA Open Snaffle Bit Futurity World Championships and two World’s Greatest Horseman titles to his name. Robinson has broken every record in the NRCHA. He trained and showed the “legend of the NRCHA,” the great Nu Cash. Together they won the NRCHA’s Open Snaffle Bit Futurity in 1987 – Ted’s first Snaffle Bit Futurity win of his unprecedented seven championships. After a continued successful show career, Nu Cash went on to sire more than five Snaffle bit Futurity Champions – also an unprecedented NRCHA record


Robinson continues the Nu Cash legacy by training and showing his get and grandget in the same level of success. In 2005, Ted won his seventh Open World Championship SnaffleBit Futurity championship on Nu Circle of Light, the son of Nu Circle N Cash by Nu Cash. In 2006, he was a finalist at the World Champion Snaffle Bit Futurity on Nu Circle of Life, a daughter of Nu Circle N Cash by Nu Cash. Ted is also a former president of the NRCHA.


Click for Teddy Robinson’s website>>





The California stock horse or reined cow horse has been designated the “King Of The Cow Horses” and deservedly so. These horses are genetically engineered with the heart, stamina, athletic ability and a superior “cow sense,” enabling them to perform the required three legs of NRCHA required show disciplines: herd work, rein work and fence work.


I often tell my clients, “If you want a do-anything-anytime horse,” buy yourself a reined cow horse. If you want to go reining – go reining.  If you want to go cutting – go cutting. If you want to show in other disciplines, you have the horse capable of doing it. To illustrate the versatility of the reined cow horse, I’ve had horses compete in events totally unrelated to cow horse, including ranch riding, Western pleasure, dressage and even barrel racing. The reined cow horse has a phenomenal ability to adapt and win at other equestrian disciplines.  All you have to do is set them up for the task at hand and turn ‘em loose.






Cross Training 101 by Rick Dennis.

If you’re looking for an introduction to the reined cow horse or a guide pertaining to this equestrian sport, there are a lot of books and videos on the market to help you out. My contribution to the reined cow horse industry is realized in my latest book: CROSS TRAINING 101 – Reining, Cutting, Cow Horse which has been endorsed by the NRCHA. The book provides a detailed training guide for training the reined cow horse from colt breaking and starting the horse to ride to the finished bridle horse. The book also contains NRCHA showing and equipment requirements as well as the types of classes offered for the participant.  This book can be purchased on-line or on my web site at:


If you’re looking for a new and exciting equestrian sport to participate in, you might want to try the NRCHA and participate in one of their great shows. You won’t be disappointed.


I was so impressed with my first NRCHA show, I traveled to the Ward Ranch in California, purchased a couple of stock horses and brought the reined cow horse industry back to Louisiana with me by establishing the first NRCHA affiliate in Louisiana: The Southeast Reined Cow Horse Association and the first reined cow horse training and breeding facility solely devoted to the reined cow horse: Wind River Stock Horses. You just may want to just do the same!


Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.


“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!”



Richard E. “Rick” Dennis

Managing Member

Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500

Web Site:

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☛ Over breeding, over population & horse slaughter 3-19-16






By Rick Dennis
March 20, 2016

 As a breeder of American Quarter Horses, the question I’m asked the most is: “Should I breed my mare this year?” In answering the question, I try to be as knowledgeable and persuasive as possible. First I ask, “Is the breeding an absolute must or can you find the bloodlines you want in horses already available for sale on the open market with other breeders?”


As a stallion owner, I’ve determined it’s my duty to try and contribute to reducing the number of unwanted horses in our industry by reducing my own breeding program. As we already know, our industry is inundated with an over population of unwanted horses and continuing to breed at our existing rates will simply contribute to this over population.



There seems to be a growing misconception among the populus that effective Jan. 1, 2016, all animal-abuse arrests will result in felony charges. Quite the contrary. Effective Jan. 1, 2016, the FBI will track animal abuse arrests in four distinct felony categories for reporting and tracking purposes. However, currently there are only 13 states that impose a felony status to animal-abuse violator arrests. Bear in mind that FBI felony-reporting classifications are different from state-to-state animal-abuse arrest classifications when criminal charges are imposed. Following is an article by VICE News designating the classifications:


The FBI Now Considers Animal Abuse a Class A Felony

By VICE News
Jan. 7, 2016 |

In a move seen as a big win for animal rights activists, the FBI has added animal cruelty to its list of Class A felonies, alongside homicide and arson.


Cases of animal cruelty fall into four categories: neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse such as cock and dog fighting and sexual abuse of animals. The agency is now monitoring them as it does other serious crimes. Starting Jan. 1, 2016, data is being entered into the National Incident-Based Reporting System or NIBRS, the public database the FBI uses to keep a record of national crimes.


The FBI’s decision will not only be a way to stop cases of animal abuse but also can help to identify people who might commit violent acts, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Psychological studies show that nearly 70 percent of violent criminals began by abusing animals and keeping statistics on such cases can help law enforcement track down high-risk demographics and areas.


“Regardless of whether people care about how animals are treated, people – like legislators and judges – care about humans and they can’t deny the data,” Natasha Dolezal, director of the animal law program in the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark College, in Portland, Oregon, told the Associated Press. For additional info click on the following link:

Click for article on animal abuse>>


However, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit law organization that aims to protect the rights and interests of animals through the legal system, all 50 states now have felony animal cruelty provisions.

Click for article on all 50 states>>



 One of the avenues of disposal of unwanted horses is the slaughter industry. This controversial subject has given rise to a debate on both sides of the aisle, i.e., those for slaughter and those opposing slaughter. The Safeguard American Food Exports Act (Safe) Act would, if passed, prohibit the slaughter of horses in the United States for human consumption, as well as the export of live horses for the same purpose. However, one aspect of this illogical practice is perfectly clear.


The kill-more, breed-more mentality is certainly not a viable option to the ever increasing problem associated with the over population of horses. As we can see from advocates on both sides of the aisle, horse slaughter has definitely become a divisive factor in the horse industry. Not only has it become a main staple employment opportunity among many but the ever-increasing number of horses being slaughtered for food consumption in Europe is alarming.



 One of the travesties of horse slaughter is visualized in the types of horses entering the horse slaughter market. More and more, this industry is filled with horses of all breed types and performance categories. The appalling aspect of our generation is that it seems horses have become a disposable item, especially when they are of no more value to the owner. As with the adage, “One Man’s Trash, Is Another Man’s Treasure,” the types of horses going to slaughter are contrary to the type we are lead to believe.


Slaughter-bound horses are not old, crippled, sick, or dying. Most are healthy, robust and usable horses. Case in point: Thoroughbreds with a long history of running on the track are showing up in kill pen sales simply due to the fact the owner has no more use for the horse. Another contributor to the horse-slaughter market is our economy. When necessity of a family surviving versus the care of the horse, it’s understandable the family takes precedent. Still another contributor to the horse-slaughter industry is horses crippled by unscrupulous training methods by trainers looking for the quick fix in training techniques. As a professional trainer, I can assure you there are no quick fixes in training a horse. Only a gentle steady hand, hard work and wet saddle blankets are the rules for the successful trainer.



 An avenue available to the general public for unwanted horses is a horse rescue.  Overall, these facilities are usually very generous in caring for unwanted horses.  However, there have been repeated reports of horse-rescue owners being criminally charged with horse abuse. It’s essential for the horse owner seeking to relinquish their horse to a group of this type to perform a due diligent investigation into the available groups’ reputation, including interviewed referrals. Some rescues rehabilitate the malnourished or abused horse and in-turn adopt the horse to a forever home for an adoption fee. Verification of this humane process can seen in the Dual Peppy case, where the well-known Quarter Horse stallion was taken away from his owner due to abuse and given to a very reputable horse rescue operation in Colorado, who found the stallion a “forever home.”



 One of the most controversial topics to raise its ugly head in modern times is the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) involvement in removing our wild mustangs and burros from federally regulated public land and sending these animals to slaughter under the ruse there’s an overpopulation of this species. Documented facts have proven over and over again this is simply not the case. It’s easy to create a ruse of overpopulation when the testifier doesn’t completely tell the truth, or in this case reveal the entire facts.


The Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 requires the protection, management and control of wild, free-roaming horses and burros on public lands. So how does the BLM sidetrack this law? In my opinion, this is done by restricting the available land to wild and free-roaming horses and burros while, at the same time, introducing more cattle to fill the void that was previously available to the endogenous species. Therefore, the BLM creates a mathematical shell game to justify its actions. After all, these ranchers only contribute approximately 2 percent to the overall beef production in the U.S.A.


ROOT-CAUSE ANALYSIS EXAMPLE: The real analysis in this equation can be realized when the BLM restricts an endogenous species like wild mustangs and burros to a specific area of land to appease cattle grazers who are using our federal lands for grazing their cattle. Therefore, BLM uses the reduced available land numbers to justify a reduction in the endogenous species by simply stating the current land allotment is unsustainable for the existing endogenous populations.


However, BLM uses the endogenous species removal as an opportune time to increase the cattle populations among ranchers. BLM leases public land to cattle grazers for a nominal fee. However, the adverse effects to the endogenous or natural species is devastating. What the BLM is really doing is playing a mathematical mind game at the public’s expense as well as the expense of the mustangs and burros being removed from their home range and sent to slaughter to make room for more cattle.



 The adverse effect to the economy of the U.S. can be derived in the simple fact that most public land grazers are receiving some type of government subsidy checks from the American taxpayer. These government subsidy checks are not simply limited to individually owned ranches but also include major corporations and millionaires and some from other countries, who have tapped into loopholes in the system with their own public land leases. Some of these ranchers have adopted the theory that this is their individual right to use this land as they see fit which is nothing more than a whimsical fairy tale. These federally protected lands were set aside for the public taxpayers of the United States. The Bureau of Land Management is the overseer, nothing more.



 Approximately $500 million annually.



 The BLM spends millions of dollars each year on predator control to safeguard cattle on public lands. One of the adverse effects of predator removal is the non-controlling of wild mustangs and burros populations occurring naturally if left untouched by human hands. Simply put, the BLM has been a significant contributing factor in the removal of mustangs and burros by tampering with the natural balance of nature by caving to the demands of cattle ranchers, the beef industry as well as lobbyists and special-interest groups.



 For the most part, a significant amount of revenue of an equine association is derived from the annual registration of new foals, stallion breeding reports as well as genetic-panel testing. An association also makes revenue on transfer reports derived from the sale and transfer of ownership of a horse and membership dues from those involved. A reduction in breeding would most definitely affect an association’s bottom line. However, the breed-more, kill-more theory is not a viable resolution of the overpopulation problem that our industry is faced with. Therefore, it’s vital that equine associations become more involved in devising program adjustments to help reduce horse overpopulation numbers.



 One of the areas contributing to an annual explosion of new horses is equine association futurities that are available for 2- and 3-year old horses of various performance categories. As a veteran participating in futurities, I’ve personally had two horses compete in the prestigious National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Reined Cow Horse Futurity in Reno, Nevada. Performance horse and breed specific associations realize a tremendous amount of money from futurities as does the general community in which the events are held. If these entities were eliminated, there would be a definite adverse affect on the horse industry and local communities.


However, futurities create the hurry-up trained horse whose joints, bones and minds can’t take the pressure. After the event, many become crippled and throw-away horses that end up as breeding animals only or slaughter-house candidates. If elimination is too costly for the associations, how about futurities raising the age of futurity horses from 2- and 3-year olds to 4 and 5 year olds when the horses can better handle the wear and tear to their bodies and minds?



 Individuals who have horses for non-intended performance purposes could do well by gelding all non-breeding stallions on their property. This will eliminate accidental or non-intended breeding of horses.



 In my opinion our industry is facing a crisis that will only escalate if we, as horse owners, don’t take action to try to control the already out-of-control horse population problem. It’s also my opinion that the slaughter industry is not the solution to the problem. Our country’s heritage is too closely aligned with the noble horse to seek this route as an advocacy of controlling horse populations in the United States.


As breeders, we can do our part by reducing our own breeding programs and become responsible breeders. Horse owners can do their part by limiting breeding of their mares and gelding non-breeding stallions. Trainers can do their part by adjusting their training methods to reduce the risk of crippling a horse during training. This will eliminate horses from becoming yard ornaments or prospects for the horse-slaughter pipeline. And associations can move up the age of futurity horses for those same reasons.


Mare owners can do their part by seeking a specific breeding line from stock already on the ground instead of breeding their own stock. Mare owners can also help reduce the overpopulation by eliminating multiple-embryo transfer from their breeding program and adopting an every-other-year breeding strategy. If members of the horse industry come together, we can reduce the population of unwanted horses and perhaps eliminate the slaughter industry all together.


“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!


Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
(985) 630-3500
Web Site:


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