Big Plans for LOPE: Check Out Our Coming of Age Fundraising Campaign →

Blog Tales from the LOPE Ranch

A Week at Tom Curtin’s Winter Camp


A few weeks ago, I went to Tom Curtin’s horsemanship camp in Florida. And so did Lightening Ball and Sally, two LOPE horses here (thanks to Equine Express, one of LOPE’s sponsors)

I had three other camp mates: Ginny, Kriestin and Linda. We shared a comfortable bunkhouse (just like “real” camp) and spent a lot of time laughing (and eating).

It was a great adventure! Each day, we’d be up at dawn to feed the horses and get ranch chores done. By 8:30 am, we’d be in the saddle and out on a ride with Tom.

I never was sure what each day would bring. One morning, we herded cattle. Sally was pretty excited about that, but settled down quickly. Within a couple of hours, she and I were even cutting a few cows from the herd (though very slowly). Our next challenge was opening gates from horseback. I was the one that got excited about that (but Sally helped me get over it).

Another afternoon, we rode for hours out in the pastures and woods, crossing many different farms. Lightening Ball got worried during the ride, but, thanks to Tom’s coaching, I eventually learned how to help Lightening Ball relax. By the end of the week, he was an old pro at trail riding — I was so proud of him. And Lightening Ball even moved cows too (he’d stalk up to the herd, towering over the cattle at 16.1H and glare at them till they sidled away).

I’ve been to local clinics with Tom in Texas — but I was amazed at how much more effective the camp setting was. It was like the difference between taking a Chinese class vs. traveling in China — the immersion of living at Tom’s ranch, surrounded by master horsemanship, taught me so much more than I expected.

I can’t wait to practice what I learned on the other LOPE horses here.

Especially Wooden Phone.


  1. JD says:

    you know Lynn- at Waterson Ranch they do the team sortings all the time- for the practice days you pay 20 bucks and can go often as you ar up to – lotta fun

  2. Randy Rouse says:

    Wouldn’t it be fun to practice what you learned about herding cattle on our ranch someday?

Austin Equine Hospital Schleese
Paddock Foundation American Association of Equine Technicians and Assistants Sam Houston Race Park
Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance The Ranch Broker Moose Pants Studio
Thoroughbred Charities of America Scissortail Hill Equestrian Secretariat Foundation
Treaty Oak Equine Express