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Dwayne offers several types of training and various clinics scheduled throughout the year that will help both you and your horse have a better understanding.
Call Dwayne at 214-923-8934 to begin a new relationship with your horse.
August 2012 issue of The Lone Star Horse Report - East Texas Sketchbook - "Dwayne Rhea" Article - excerpts:
“All I ever wanted to do was put on a pair of spurs and never take ‘em off.” That was Dwayne Rhea’s ambition as a teenager, and now he wears those spurs 12 hours most days. The East Texas horseman grew up in Rockwall, when it was still a rural town, and began competing in rodeos in a three-state area when he was 18. I started working with horses to improve my balance for bull riding,” he says. He was a quick study and became interested in their behavioral responses. Soon horse owners were calling him when they had one they couldn’t ride. “Every one that came through my gate was full of it,” he says. “Working with some of those mature problem horses out in the middle of a pasture with just barbed wire fences got pretty Western,” he laughs. His day job was carpentry in high-rise construction, but in 1986 he joined the Plano Fire Department. The schedule of 24 hours on, 48 hours off was ideal for his horse-training sideline.
One day his vet came to castrate two of his yearling colts. Dwayne whistled them up from the pasture, and they followed him into the pen and stood still with only a lead rope for the sedation shots. Impressed with their manners, the vet sent Dwayne three horses by the end of the week. “I’d better move up another notch if they’re going to pay me to do this,” he thought. He began to study the successful natural horsemanship trainers.
“I wanted to be known as one of the best colt starters in the country,” he remembers. He had 52 days of riding on one two-year-old when he trailered him over to Jack Brainard's one day for a critique. His mentor said nothing as Dwayne reined the colt easily through a show of turning, spinning, stopping and backing. “If you gave him a pen and paper, he could write his name,” Jack commented. It was a high compliment from one of the most respected horseman in the country. Dwayne picked up more pointers about pressure and release methods from Ray Hunt clinics.
“You don’t have to be brutal to get something out of a horse,” he says. “They want to be comfortable. They want to trust you. They look for that release, and they become better and softer pretty quick.” One day he delivered a colt he had started for a client to NRHA Hall of Famer Clint Haverty. Impressed, he invited Dwayne to work with a dozen of the Haverty Ranch yearlings. “Later he told me that put him 120 days ahead in his training,” says Dwayne. For four years, he started all the Haverty yearlings.
He had carefully saved up 4,200 hours of vacation and holiday time with the fire department. For the last three years of his 22-year public safety career, Dwayne was able to ride horses five days a week and fight fires one day. He leased a barn at Royse City for his training business. In 2007, he retired and moved to Sulphur Springs, where land was less expensive. He purchased nine acres just four miles south of Interstate 30 and over 16 months built a horse operation. Thanks to his earlier construction experience, he did nearly all the work by himself - the 6’ 6” pipe fencing and an arena, stalls and alley designed within a 60’ circle to save steps. He runs the place with only a minimum of help and is especially particular that no one else handles a client’s horse for the critical first 30 days.
“Catching a horse in the stall starts the day. I don’t want to form any bad habits of resistance.” Dwayne’s successful blend of discipline and psychology met a real challenge in May when he picked up a five year-old wild horse named Vaquero to train for the Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover in September. Contestants are given 100 days to teach the basics to these untouched animals, gathered from the federal rangelands of the West.
“He was rawhide-tough,” says Dwayne. “He woke up every morning lookin’ for a fight.”
He had saddled the bay gelding only six times before, but on June 4 when he stepped aboard for his seventh ride, the mustang “blew up like an NFR bronc. I pulled his nose clear around to my knee, but he was loping for that pipe fence,” says Dwayne. “He slammed me against the east side of the pen, but when I woke up I was lying under the south side with a broken collar bone and four broken ribs. I’d been dragged and stepped on.” It will be around the first of August before Dwayne can mount up again. And he’s not sure that just 30 days with Vaquero will be enough to prevent a “rodeo” at the Makeover.
“He cost me $207,” says Dwayne, “but probably $10,000 in lost business.” In time, though, that business will return. Before his accident, he had seven client horses in the barn and five on the waiting list. Yearlings, two-year-olds, problem horses of all stripes - he patiently builds the same foundation to make each one quiet, soft, and responsive to cues.
For yearlings, he offers a five-day basic foundation program or a two week saddling program. He offers a 90-day package for two-year-olds. “After 90 days, I at least want to be able to two-track across the arena at a trot.” He also holds a public “Problem- Solving Saturday” on the first Saturday of each month. His graduates go on to various careers, from safe trail horses to high- level competitors. One year, he started 67 two-year-olds and was proud to learn that of that class one won the Snaffle Bit Futurity, one placed seventh in reining at the APHA World, one became a dressage lesson horse, and the best of the bunch (“I should’ve bought that one!”) made an excellent ranch horse.
Dwayne’s reputation is growing. Last year, he was one of four clinicians invited to work with the Navy SEALS and their horses to prepare for overseas operations under extreme circumstances.
Closer to home, he can’t wait to get back in the saddle. “I live for that,” he says.
Talbot, D. (2012, August, Vol.30 Number 8). East Texas Sketchbook Article. Lone Star Horse Report.