Trainer’s Corner – Shane Steffen – Powell Butte, OR
Total Earnings: $420,916
Shane Steffen got into cow horses the year he got married. He had never even heard of cow horses until then. His sister-in-law had attended the Snaffle Bit Futurity in years past and invited the Steffens to come along. He thought it looked like a neat sport that he could try.
He began working for some ranchers and then moved to Oregon to work for Rocky Marsh, a cow horse trainer that competed in the Snaffle Bit and other big shows. This allowed Steffen to get his feet wet and then he went on to work for Anne Reynolds where he said learned a lot. He ended up working for reiner Sean McBurney at Rhodes River Ranch which helped Steffen with his reining. Steffen has now been out on his own for 11 years in Powell Butte, Oregon.
“I’m blessed to have a wife and kids that support me and that work hard. That’s one thing I do love about this sport. We can have our family involved and be a part of it.”
What’s been your most memorable moment in the sport?
“Winning the World’s Greatest Horseman [in 2021].” Steffen has also won 2021 The World’s Richest Stock Horse and has made the Snaffle Bit Futurity finals multiple times.
What’s your training philosophy?
“To me, a horse that enjoys their job and trusts me is going to be willing. It’s something I want to try and produce versus a horse I have to make do everything or isn’t happy with what they’re doing.”
What inspires you?
“God’s blessed me with a desire to train horses and try to make them the best that I can. Just being able to take a horse and seeing how well I can develop their potential is what drives me everyday. Feeling the improvements and feeling what each horse has and seeing if I can bring it out in them and let them perform. When they start reaching that potential and trying whether it’s at the snaffle bit level or the bridle level they’re just amazing animals that God created. Just the athleticism and the mind and how in-tune they can get to us, is just unbelievable to me.”
What are your goals?
“Short term, my goal is to try to get one of my snaffle bitters into the Open finals again this year if not both. My long term goal is to produce another World’s Greatest Horseman horse.”
How do you define feel?
“Feel is as you’re riding your horse, feeling when your horse is understanding and going to the spot that you’re asking them to go to and just recognizing that. And being able to reward that horse at the proper time. As far as teaching feel, I think you can help people develop feel…”
What’s something you have learned or changed in your program in the past year?
“I think it’s just been reinforced this year but to make sure my horses are listening to my seat and my feet versus just trying to do everything with my hands. If you’re always trying to do everything with your hands you’re blocking your horse and getting in their way versus if you get them listening to your seat and feet then you’re able to stay out of their way more and allow them to do the maneuvers to their potential.”