How a Little Boy with Dreams Became a Professional Horseman

By Michaela Gannett  •   4 minute read

How a Little Boy with Dreams Became a Professional Horseman

From a little boy with dreams, professional horseman Ken McNabb, has established himself into a well known trainer, clinician, host of the award-winning RFD-TV show – Discovering the Horseman Within and partner in the top quality annual Diamond-McNabb Ranch Horse Sale.

We went behind the scenes with Ken to try and get to know him better. In a recent interview, we learned that as a young boy growing up in the mountains of Wyoming he would often find himself gazing at the Pryor Mountain wild horses. From then on, he knew that he wanted to build his life with horses in it.

So let’s take a look at more of his life!

Lives In: Lovell, Wyoming

Family: Wife, DeeDee and Children, Kurt and Trent

Business: Ken McNabb Horsemanship

Areas of Expertise: General Training, Natural Horsemanship | Ranch and Trail Horses

Industry Organization Membership: American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) – Professional Horseman

What is Your Go-To Piece of Advice When You Are Training, Conducting Clinics or Speaking to a Group? Look for the smallest reason, the smallest try, to release your horse.

What was the Name of Your First Horse? His name was Jack and he was actually a mule.

Where is Your Favorite Place to Ride? My favorite place to ride is over the next hill.

Who/What Has Influenced You? There are a long list of cowboys and horseman, many of whose names you have never heard of that inspired me in horse world as a young boy, but three men have have truly impacted my life. My own dad, who I truly admire to this day! I also admire John Lyons personally as well as for his abilities as a horseman, whom I studied with extensively from ages 16 to 20. I look up to both of these men for their walks with God, how they treat others, their commitment to family, and dedication to their country. As adults, we forget to look for mentors. In the last 10 years, I have looked to Diemer True, my business partner, and I have learned so much! Education is a personal choice and you should continue to learn and be coachable everyday.

Favorite Weaver Leather Products: Working Tack Collection- There is something about the quality hardware and well-oiled, great-feeling leather that can’t be replaced by anything else. On top of that, it’s handcrafted in the USA!

Fun Facts About You: I love dogs every bit as much as I love horses. My all-time favorite equine pastime is wrangling horses in big country.

Favorite Horse You’ve Ever Owned or Trained and Why? They say you only get one great horse in your lifetime and I’ve proved that wrong. I’ve had several truly great horses. To pick one over another is very difficult. My current horse, Stormy, has taught me mountains of information and is an amazing horse. He meets the criteria of everything I would ask for in a horse. I had an old horse, Rooster, for 24 years. Rooster took me through many, many wars and different wrecks with livestock. He was the first horse I hauled on the road to clinics. I guess if I have to pick, I would say Rooster. I started him as a two year old and kept him until he had a heart attack at 25. He was an exceptional ranch horse, the best I’ve ever ridden. He could read livestock and his emotions did not raise or lower according to what was going on around him. He was steadfast and rode to the level of rider incredibly well and had a ton of cow sense.

Name the Three Most Important Things in Your Life: My God, My Family and My Country

Biggest Pet Peeve: Oh, I have two! I absolutely can’t stand a horse that runs through its shoulders or when someone hangs my bridle up crooked or wrong. I can’t take it!

What Do You Look For in a Horse? Four legs, two eyes and a nose. (Chuckles) The most important traits in any horse are disposition, disposition, disposition. If you have that you can live with a lot of other things. A very good friend of mine once said that he’d rather have a horse that had 70% potential that gave him all of it, than a horse with 100% potential, but only gave 70%. Getting a horse to give you all its potential comes through disposition. After disposition, I look for traits like trainability, teachability and bloodlines.

What Activities Do You Enjoy Outside of Horses? I really enjoy snow skiing.

If You Could Choose Any Horse to Ride, Post or Present, Who Would You Choose and Why? I would go back in time and ride Poco Bueno. I think it’s safe to say he revolutionized the cow horse industry. He was absolutely an unbelievable athlete in a time when horses were still used every day and he passed those traits on, changing the working horse industry in both Quarter and Paint Horses in my opinion.

To learn more about Ken McNabb visit This interview was brought to you by Weaver Leather,


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