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Horse Development


Our goal is to use the principles of natural horsemanship to develop confident versatile equine partners. This starts, well….., at the beginning! As Jack Brainard says, ‘ a good start is half the finish’. Whether we raise the foal or it comes to us later in life we go to work laying a foundation that will stand strong.

Our Philosophy: We use the analogy of ‘brick laying’ when we talk about foundations. Every experience a horse has either ads or takes away bricks, where a brick is positioned also makes a difference. For example, when we are developing a horse from the ground, out in a playground with obstacles, trail riding, arena work, crossing rivers and bridges, handling cattle, roping calves, precision riding for dressage, jumping logs, etc. we are laying bricks side by side. If a horse is developed only in the arena, bricks are laid one on top of another. Which foundation would you want to have?

The process we focus on is less about what ‘buttons’ they have learned, and more about how they are set up to learn in the future. Confidence trumps pretty much everything else. When a horse has confidence he becomes a ‘Super Learner.’

Our number one goal is to prepare our horses to be ‘SAFE’ partners (by the way, there is no such thing as ‘bomb proof’!) After safety, a close second is FUN! These things are accomplished because we give our horses what they need in terms of the relationship. We stack up the experiences for the horse so they are set up to be outstanding ‘PARTNERS, not projects’.

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Buddy, Devanee, and Diquita Cardinal as well as our top students. Most are Parelli Level 4 Graduates, with added experiences in horse development. Buddy also leads the ‘Colt Starting’ Process. (To be clear, although Cardinal Ranch does specialize in developing horses, the Parelli Program licenses ‘Horse Development Specialists’ and none of us have this ‘Specialist’ rating from Parelli Natural Horsemanship.



Our different tastes in horses makes for an eclectic herd at Cardinal Ranch. Quarter horses, Lusitano crosses, Thoroughbred or Arab crosses, and everything in between. Buddy and Devanee can agree on the ranch-bred Quarter Horses that make up much of the Cardinal Ranch herds. We are especially fond of these horses. Devanee’s Grandfather brought his own horses North on the train from California over 50 years ago. These same bloodlines are in our herd today. What all our horses have in common is that they are well bred, good minded, versatile horses that have developed a wonderful partnership with humans.


The best thing we do for our horses is finding them outstanding humans, that’s where YOU come in! We are doing more than just selling horses. We are match making. There is no joy in selling a horse to the wrong person. (It is not good for business either) So we do everything we can to set it up for success.

As someone who is horse shopping, sifting through the many horses out there for sale is no easy task. Generally, the horses are on the market are not wanted for some reason. Can you take people at their word? Is the horse represented honestly? Does this horse have issues that, even the seller doesn’t know about?

We recognize that our clients are looking for their next partner for life, not a project. Fun and safety are more important than bells and whistles. We understand this and don’t take the task lightly.

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