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Our philosophy . . . ‘Principles, Purpose, and Time’ are the tools of teaching.

Principles. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Parelli Principles are the heartbeat of Cardinal Ranch. It’s not only the backbone of operations, but literally what keeps us alive and kicking as we work with horses in working situations every day. It’s everything from how we draw in the herd in the morning to prepping a young horse for his first cattle drive. Principles are first on the list for a reason.

Purpose. It’s true that Cardinal Ranch is a little off the beaten track, and we like it that way. Turns out ranching in the Canadian Rockies offers great opportunities for one of our favorite ‘P words’…..Purpose.. On the ranch we talk a lot about important differences between dominance and leadership. One of them is that a great leader has purpose, and who doesn’t want to be a great leader for their horse!

Buddy is always reminding us that ‘the opposite of pointless is purpose’. Take opening gates as an example. You can work on the ingredients separately, or use the opportunities that present themselves by just going from point A to point B on the ranch. By the end of your ride, you might have done 6 gates! It doesn’t take long for your horse to plug into your plan and offer you a level of effort and cooperation that you might not get in the arena. And here’s some really good news….did you know that opening gates has the same ingredients as lead changes!

Another word for purpose could be ‘cows’. Stockmanship, aka playing with cows, is a natural way for us to apply a psychology based approach to working with cattle. It fits right on top of our Parelli Principles. ‘Slow and right beats fast and wrong’, so everyone can get started at the same level and progress from there. Add roping prep……roping dummies…….roping our long horns…….to roping calves on branding day!


We’re all familiar with purpose in the form of obstacles. We are blessed on the ranch with what we call a lot of opportunities for, ‘change in context’. This just means that you can play on a log in the arena today and maybe on the side of a mountain tomorrow. You can play with your horse in the pond today and maybe cross the river in white water tomorrow.

This is how Principles and Purpose set us up for success on the ranch. Our Horse Development Team said it well in part of their mission statement. ‘That the fun will be safe, and the safe will be fun’. That’s a great example of Principles and Purpose working together giving us the tools to be both safe and progressive in our horsemanship.

Time. Take the time it takes…. Once you have the Principles and Purpose working together, it’s time to add time! In Canada, we have schools that are called ‘French Immersion’, it’s not just French class, they only speak French, for everything. Cardinal Ranch is a bit like that. We use the Parelli Program constantly for everything we do. We are not practicing Parelli here and there; we are using it all the time. There is a ‘fluency’ that comes from Immersion.

Principles, Purpose, and Time are the tools for teaching. We see it in both horses and humans and it’s an amazing thing to see this at work in the Student Programs at Cardinal Ranch.


Horse Development Team

This is for students who already have skills equivalent to a Level 4 Foundation in the Parelli Program. These students usually have professional goals and want to learn from developing many different horses at different stages.

The mission statement of the Horse Development Team is ‘To develop horses efficiently as a team. For the fun to be safe and the safe to be fun.’

If you look closely at the horses we produce for our clients you’ll pretty much know what your job description is…’to develop Partners, not Projects’

Opportunities include:

Participation in clinic with Buddy & Devanee Cardinal, as well as Guest Instructors such as Martin Black

Colt Starting and First 10 Rides

Progressing horses to have solid foundations in groundwork, liberty, loose rein riding, and riding with contact.

Confidence building on trails, and ranch riding, both in a group and alone. Introducing horses to playing with cows, and ropes.

Marketing & Promotion

Herd Management, Health Care & Hoof Care

Minimum stay is 8 weeks. We’re happy to answer questions or put you in touch with previous students. Contact us for Schedule, Application Forms, and Fee Information.

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