TSB had a chance to catch up with the ever-fun-and-fascinating Rick Lamb on his way back from Equifest of Kansas and before he heads for Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the 2011 Road to the Horse “Legends” colt-starting competition. For the eighth time (that’s right–he’s seen ’em ALL!) Rick is the emcee, host, and commentator of the event, which this year features the legendary horse training talents of fellow TSB author Clinton Anderson, as well as Chris Cox, and Pat Parelli.
Rick he is truly the “best man for the job” when it comes to providing running commentary for the horse training action ahead. If you haven’t caught his television or radio show, you’re missing out on some of the most informative, well produced horse-related programs available (click on The Horse Show link in our Highly Recommended Links panel for show times).
Rick knows horses, he knows the Natural Horsemanship movement, and he lives and works amongst some of the horse industry’s most learned and influential people. To top it off, the man, frankly, has a way with words. So watch out world, because half the fun February 25, 26, and 27 will be hearin’ what Rick has to say.
Hey, if you’re traveling to Murfreesboro and looking for something to read in the airport or hotel, grab a copy of Rick’s awesome book HUMAN TO HORSEMAN–it’s 40% off through the end of the month at the TSB bookstore! If you want an honest-to-goodness insider’s look at America’s greatest horsemen and the story of five years of the Road to the Horse competition, this book’s your ticket to being “in the know.”
TSB: You’re about to host the “Road to the Horse” colt-starting competition for the eighth time. This year’s lineup includes Natural Horsemanship heavyweights Clinton Anderson, Chris Cox, and Pat Parelli. What do you think of this year’s competition and what spectators will be able to take away from it?
RL: This will be a master class in colt starting. I recommend that we all pay special attention to how each trainer gains his horse’s trust and gets control of his horse’s feet. What happens early on can have a big effect on the outcome.
TSB: You talk a lot about your experience with “Road to the Horse” in your book Human to Horseman. What are a couple of the most important lessons you’ve learned and been able to apply to your own horses?
RL: 1. Go slowly and don’t scare the horse. 2. Pay special attention to what the horse is saying with his body language and be ready to back off instantly. 3. Don’t worry about anything anyone else is doing.
TSB: What’s new for The Horse Show with Rick Lamb in 2011 and beyond?
RL: We’ll be shooting in Iceland this year so that’s pretty exciting. Looks like you’ll also see me learn to rope on camera, which is something I’ve always wanted to try with my mare, Candy. I’m also putting a little extra into my radio programs with special guests and topics we’ve never discussed before. I’m blogging like crazy, too, and people seem to enjoy that. With a little help, I’ve managed to get a strong Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube presence going so we’ll continue all of that, as well.
TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse and a book, what breed of horse would it be and which book would you choose?
RL: Tough question! I’m a Quarter Horse guy but I also love a good gaited horse. Maybe a Quarter/Rocky Mountain cross? As for the book, it would have to be the complete and unabridged Sherlock Holmes. It’s the book equivalent of comfort food for me!
TSB: What’s in your refrigerator at all times?
RL: Beer. Nothing but beer. Just kidding. Actually, diet coke, frozen veggies, filet mignon, Ezekiel bread, eggs, apples, cheese … and beer.
TSB: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
RL: I define happiness as enjoying the passing of time. I’m sad for people who are always waiting for the future or stewing about the past. That’s not a happy way to live! Happiness is also a choice. I know it sounds clichéd but it’s true. Specific activities that make being happy easier for me are outings with my wife, Diana, playing music, writing, reading, learning, and of course being around horses.
TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember sitting on a horse.
RL: My parents used to take me to Kiddieland, an amusement park in Wichita, Kansas. There was a kid-sized roller coaster, ferris wheel, train, merry-go-round, etc., but my favorite thing was riding the ponies. They went through a little maze without anyone leading them. I felt like I was really riding! I was probably five or six at the time. This was in the late ’50s when Westerns dominated on TV.
TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember falling off a horse.
RL: Actually the first time I fell off was the time I wrote about in Human to Horseman. Thunder was giving me a rough canter and I spanked him to speed him up and smooth out the gait. He kicked out, I lost my seat and tumbled off, getting stepped on and hurting my back in the process. It took a while to come back from that but I’ve since raced along the beach, jumped through fire, jousted and done mounted shooting. I doubt I’ll ever be a really great rider, but damn, I have fun! The fear of falling off is still there but I’ve thought it through enough now that I think I would handle it better if, God forbid, it did happen again.
TSB: What is the quality you most like in a friend?
RL: I suppose the thing I value most in any relationship is feeling I can totally be myself with the person. I don’t always have to be smart or funny or even talkative. It takes tremendous pressure off of me to feel I’m accepted as I am.
TSB: What is the quality you most like in a horse?
RL: Willingness to move when I ask for movement and be still when I ask for stillness.
TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?
RL: Dressage. One day, you’ll probably see me trying that on TV, too!
TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?
RL: Filet mignon. Steamed asparagus. Small salad. Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Blueberry pie a la mode. Coffee.
TSB: What is your idea of the perfect vacation?
RL: A cruise with Diana to just about anywhere.
TSB: If you could have a conversation with one famous person, alive or dead, who would it be?
RL: Ludwig von Beethoven. As brilliant as he was, he was plagued with self-doubt. He was never completely happy with anything he did. I would like to tell him it’s okay. That’s just how the creative process goes for lots of people. I’d also like to talk to the great horse tamer, John Rarey. He was also a tragic figure in that he died at the height of his fame, at just 38 years of age. His motto was patience, kindness, and firmness, a pretty good prescription for the modern horseman.
TSB: What is your motto?
RL: What a difference a day makes. This is a little reminder I use when things are not going so well. Literally overnight everything can change for the better.
You can catch Rick’s latest episode of The Horse Show, featuring a terrific interview with George and Joann Becker of Valley Spring Foxtrotters in Black, Missouri, on The Horse Show website (and if you’re into Foxtrotters, check out our new book by renowned gaited horse trainer Brenda Imus THE GAITED HORSE BIBLE).