2021 Bruce Sandifer Workshop with Jeff Derby

"Hackamore Fundamentals"

November 6 - 7, 202
Bruce Sandifer and Jeff Derby

Additional Clinician and Special Guest!

Bruce's friend and fellow clinician Jeff Derby will be joining the workshop as a fellow clinician. Click here to visit Jeff's website

Special guest is Brad Tarp - An expert hackamore braider.  - Click here to visit Brad's website


Meet and Greet with Bruce Sandifer, Jeff Derby and Brad Tarp ~ November 5th in the Stallion Barn

With origins from the early California vaqueros, the signal-balance style of horsemanship works from the horse’s perspective to achieve maximum softness.  Join us for a two day workshop focusing on the hackamore, the first phase of building a soft, supple, and responsive bridle horse.  You will learn the art of signal and balance using exercises from both the ground and in the saddle. 

It is not required that you already have ridden in the hackamore.  Come as you are and start your journey.


Event photos:


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$450.00 for riding participant

$200.00 Horse rental for event (3 horses available)

$45.00 per day for auditors

Travel trailers, campers and tents are acceptable for dry camping. Portable corrals are allowed. Participants must provide their own sleeping quarters, unless accomodations are booked separately.  No meals are provided.

Horses must be current on shots and worming.
Contact Anne Kienberger: 626-823-6623 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Workshop Schedule:

Click here to download in pdf format

12:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Arrival at Varian Arabians

5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Meet and Greet with Bruce Sandifer, Jeff Derby and Brad Tarp

 – meet in Stallion Barn

Saturday, November 6th, 2021

8:00 am to 9:00 am

Meet in Stallion Barn for Review of Gear and Signal and Balance 



9:00 am to 9:30 am

Saddle Up



9:30 am to 10:00am

Meet in Main Arena and begin warming up.



10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Developing a Hackamore horse basics:

  • From the Ground Hackamore Exercises
  • Mounted: Hand placement and use of hackamore.
  • Woah and Go Exercise


12:00 am to 1:30 pm

Lunch on your own, Sheila Varian Museum will be open

1:30 pm to 3:30 pm


Meet on horse in Main Arena

Developing a Hackamore horse basics continued:

  • Shape and Send Exercise
  • Back up

3:30pm to 4:00pm




4:00pm to 5:30pm

Questions / Review what we have learned



5:30pm to 6:00pm

Return horses to their accommodations, Day 1 complete.

On your own for Dinner




Sunday, November 7th, 2021

08:00am – 12:00pm

Meet saddled in Main Arena:

**Don’t forget the time change!**

Continue Development of a Hackamore Horse Basics

  • Review yesterday’s exercises
  • Moving the Shoulders and Moving the Hindquarters
  • Side-pass
  • Roll back


12:00pm – 1:30pm

Lunch on your own, Sheila Varian Museum will be open



1:30pm – 5:00pm

Meet saddled in Main Arena:

Development of a Hackamore Horse Review

  • Review of what we have learned
  • Questions
  • Next Steps



Varian Arabians Closes






Thank you for joining us!!










Bruce SandiferAbout Bruce:

From the time I was 13 years old and read Ed Connell's "Reinsman of the West" I fell in love with the California method of horsemanship. After getting out of school I started pursuing my cowboy dreams by getting hired on any big outfit that would take me on, never caring what the pay or job entailed.

I was fortunate and got to work with some really good hands. I tried to learn from whoever I was around and try as many methods as I could to find out what worked best for me.

I found over time I could get by most horses pretty fair and was willing so I ended up riding a lot of colts and horses that other people couldn't get along with. By doing this I spent a lot of time over my head, but it was sink or swim and I survived it.

After 20 years of being a full time buckaroo//cowboy I became disenchanted with the way things were going on the ranches, it seemed as the pride was lost and a lot of the new guys didn't have the passion for anymore, it was just another job to them.

Through circumstances in my own life I got out of being tied to the ranch and tried to follow my own path. I had always thought that with my experience with horses, if I could get a little place to work out of I could make it.

It was harder than I thought it would be and I ended up doing many things to make ends meet, I dealt cards and dice in a casino, built trusses, sold horse trailers, was an outrider on the track and did about any job I could to keep my horse habit alive.

I did end up making it as a colt starter and was able to start a lot of colts of every type you can imagine and they were very good teachers.

I also ended up getting to show a few horses and that started me down another path.

I was starting to think I was going to finally get to be a real California style bridleman, but soon learned that what it takes to win in the show pen is not exactly what I wanted from my life either, it wasn't consistent to the old ways and it made me feel bad about myself, no matter how well I did it made me feel bad about how I got there.

Through chance and good fortune (meeting my wife) I ended up in Santa Barbara CA where I shod horses and ended up giving riding lessons.

Through all of this I had always been trying to improve my bridle horse skills and really understand the old Californio method, and now here I was in what was once the bridlehorse Mecca and very few in my area where riding western and those that were did not ride in the Californio style.

I had a few students that were committed to riding so I decided to bring the true old Californio methods back to Santa Barbara and teach only that method.

My new role as teacher forced me to become a better student. I had to have an answer for any question, this in turn made me realize that there were a lot of inconsistencies in the way that I had learned the California system the way that it is most commonly practiced now. I call it the reined cowhorse method.

I decided if I was going to teach the Californio method, I better figure out just how everything worked and how it fit together in the end goal of a bridlehorse.

That is what I have been doing: studying the equipment and riding of the early Californios and trying it out on my horses to see if it is still relevant today.

I can tell you from my own experiences and those of my students that it truly is. These early Californio vaqueros of mostly Indian blood have developed one of the most brilliant and sophisticated systems of handling horses that I have ever seen or read about.

The real proof is in how all horses react to this type of working, without fail they are happier and perform better.

From a person that had become discouraged with my horsemanship to a person that can't wait to get on my horse and ride again, because they are happy and willing, that's what this kind of riding has done for me.

It all comes down to one thing, working from a balance point from there all things can be balanced.

~ Bruce Sandifer