Secrets to Success: Bert Thompson’s Training Philosophies

With a Congress title, multiple top ten finishes and more than a handful of IBRA and NBHA titles, Bert Thompson has to have some secrets to producing top horses, year after year. She said Wednesday she was raised by her parents’ “work-your-way-to-the-top theory”, and in our final day with Bert we’ll learn what exactly that means. 

How early do you like a horse to be started?

I like to get colts broke as 2 year olds. I don’t want a lot of pressure on them; I just want them to have a strong foundation. I generally will begin working a pattern on them around January or February of their 3-year-old year and begin hauling them and exhibitioning them around March or April.

What are some of your favorite training exercises for young horses?

On young horses I tend to do a lot of flexing and counter arcs. I like to work poles to get the colts responding to my hands and feet. It helps to teach them to lift their shoulders and move forward. I also love trail riding young horses or galloping them. It gives them a break and helps with their minds.

What is your favorite bit?

My favorite bit is an o-ring. Depending on the horse I will switch mouthpieces. I also like to ride in a Loomis.

What is your favorite training tool (round pen, martingale, draw reins, etc.)?

My favorite training tool is a German Martingale. It helps you to position and fix things without a stressful fight. It aids in helping the horse learn how his body should be positioned and makes it a natural reaction when you take it off.

What is your favorite saddle?

My favorite saddle is an Ammerman. I also ride in Circle Y’s, and Billy Cooks. It depends on which one fits a particular horse.

What do you feed your horses?

We feed a 14% mixed feed and alfalfa hay.

What vetting do you rely on regularly?

I use Adequan once a month. I like Surpass for joints, DMSO, and E.A.F Gel for legs and muscles.

I want to thank Jim Zeliff of Alleghany Equine, Aaron Stingle of Woodland Run, Karl Yurko of K.E.Y Animal Hospital, Scott Heckert, Farriers Don Beckner and Jeff Sigman. If any physical issues with the horses they aid in getting them back on track!

What supplements do you most believe in?

I feed extra Soy Bean meal for fat content and Healthy Coat.

Do you ever run rodeos? If not, why?

No, I haven’t run rodeos. I’m not opposed to them, I just haven’t tried them yet. I have always preferred open shows and futurities.

What are your riding ethics – where is the line between winning and pushing a horse too far?

Horses are all different.  If they are not ready, I will not push them. They will come together when the time is right. Some of my best horses were late bloomers. As much as I hate it, not all horses want to be barrel horses either, but that doesn’t mean that they will not excel at another discipline.

If you could get training or riding advice from one professional, dead or alive, who would it be?

I would have to say Dena Kirkpatrick. I like her views and philosophies, plus she is a nice lady.

What are your ultimate training/riding goals?

My goal is to be the best rider and trainer that I can be, always keep pushing myself to a higher level. I would love to win the OKC World Futurity someday and to be able to keep doing what I love!!!



4 thoughts on “Secrets to Success: Bert Thompson’s Training Philosophies

  1. Pingback: Junior Horse to Watch Update: Spooky Doo Wins Again | The Barrel Racing Blog

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