California Riding Magazine • January, 2008

Solid Foundations and
Good Horsemanship
Stacey Spangler doesn’t just
start colts, she teaches people
how to prevent problems.

Many people know Stacey Spangler’s name from her years riding on the Women’s Professional Rodeo or from her multiple money winners. What most people don’t realize is that her name is stamped on hundreds of other champion working cow horses, barrel horses, reiners, jumpers, race horses and her favorite, the “all-around” horse, including all-around world and national champion “Cupid’s King.”
Oh, you won’t find her brand on most of those horses or even her name on all of their papers. Stacey’s mark is a little harder to find. The fact is Stacey started several of today’s tops champions, including Freckle Face Smoke, and her stamp is in their foundation.

She’s the first to tell people it takes years to make a “finished” horse. “As the first person on their back, I have to lay a solid foundation of quiet understanding,” says Stacey, who works out of her farm, SNS Ranch in Tehama County’s Red Bluff. “You’re laying down a foundation that needs to bring willingness (for the horse) to continue in training, whether I finish them, or they go on to another trainer. Even though their careers may vary, the foundation is the same for every style of horse, whether it is snaffle bit futurity horses, three day eventers or jumpers. A horse is only capable of thinking and reasoning like a horse.”

“Good horsemanship is just good horsemanship,” explains Stacey, an outspoken cowgirl who still lives the ranch lifestyle in which she was raised. When she was talking to the people at Equine Experience, they asked her if she got along with natural horsemanship trainer, Clint Anderson. Stacey’s response was, “I don’t even know the man.”

When Equine Experience approached Stacey they told her they thought she was very similar to Clint Anderson. But they wanted clinicians that had the same approach, but also their own “unique flair” or distinctive style. For about six months, Stacey pondered how trainers could be distinct and take the same approach. After taking some time to read articles by other clinicians, Stacey found her answer. “The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my unique flare is that I help horse owners understand their horse’s personality and character. Most owners don’t have a clear understanding of their horse’s personality, so they are already upside-down on the horse/owner relationship. The horse has the upper hand and has already set the precedence of the relationship from the first day.”

From Cow Horses to Racehorses…and Everything In Between

Over the years Stacey’s experience with horses has taken her in many different directions in the industry - from galloping race horses under Gil Matos, to starting colts for Smokey Pritchett, to working at Benedict Livestock Company. It was at the Benedict Livestock Company where she met Candy Mercer, owner of War-Bon Leo.
“Candy Mercer was way ahead of her time in terms of genetics and breeding,” says Stacey. The opportunity to ride great horses and the influence of Skip Brown, Smokey Pritchett and Julius Spangler (her Dad), helped Stacey grow into the horseman she is today. It also taught Stacey the importance of great bloodlines. This knowledge is the foundation of her breeding program today.

Stacey says, “I found early on that I had a way with problem horses. But after dealing with a lot of people and a lot of horses, I found that most of the time it wasn’t the horse that was at fault, but the person at the end of the lead rope. I’ve seen hundreds of nice horses get burnt out and go by the way side, simply because they were in the wrong hands; they were misjudged in personality or too immature to take the pressure. One hundred years ago people became doctors because they believed in helping people. Horse trainers should still become trainers because they believe in helping horses.”

Stacey’s shining accomplishment in helping horses is Bingo’s Wisp. When she took him on many people thought she was crazy. Stacey says he was so burnt out, blown up, highly misunderstood and poorly handled, that she couldn’t even approach him in his corral for a couple of years. The woman who originally purchased Bingo’s Wisp from Sis Gillman in June of 1997 for $10,000, came to Stacey with an interest in Stacey’s futurity horse King Boo-Boo. Stacey recognized similar characteristics in the two horses. She saw potential in Bingo’s Wisp and was determined that she could work with the horse. Stacey took $10,000 off the price of her futurity horse, King Boo-Boo, and took Bingo’s Wisp for the difference.

“I told the woman, you’re going to run into the same problem with this horse if you don’t go learn to ride him.” Stacey sent her to Paul Barns. “Paul Barns is a cow horse man who I knew would understand these types of horses. I knew that Paul Barns would be the best person to help her learn to ride King Boo-Boo.”

After having him for a couple of months, Paul said in front of 30 people that the hardest darn stopping horse he has ever seen is Stacey Spangler’s horse, King Boo-Boo. Stacey was particularly proud as Paul is known for his dislike of Paint horses. King Boo-Boo went on to Cheyenne Wall, and a few years ago sold for $89,000 as a combination barrel and rope horse.

Today, people who thought Stacey was crazy for swapping King Boo-Boo for Bingo’s Wisp can’t believe Bingo is the same horse.
Paul went on to tell Stacey that, “I don’t care how many money makers you have or how many world champions, Bingo’s Wisp is one of your biggest accomplishments. You brought a horse back that everyone thought was a lot cause. We lost all and any respect for your judgment when you took that horse, because no one wanted to touch him.”

“At 16 years, Bingo’s full-up in the bridle and he’s my right-hand man,” says Stacey. “I can rope off him in a pen, I can rope off him out the box. Bingo’s Wisp is now one of the fastest horses to the first barrel in the Northwest.” But she still isn’t done finishing him.

More Than Just a Problem Solver

Stacey is hoping to give even more clinics in 2008. Though she has proven over and over again her abilities working with and “fixing” problem horses, and she still wants to help people with problem horses. What Stacey really wants to do is teach people how to prevent problems.

“Not everyone can start a horse, and I don’t want to simply teach people how to overcome problems. I want to teach them how to prevent problems. I have a way with words and explaining things in a manner people can understand how to do things, and understand the importance of the foundation and start.”

For more information on SNS Ranch and Stacey Spangler call 530-366-1664.