Q & A Regarding our 2 yr Student Program
Dear Chris....thank you for your letter....Firstly, we work 6 days/wk....Saturdays are sometimes short & Sundays is chores only...we take the day off. I believe you have probably already looked at our webpage... www.twisterheller.com from there you will find lots of information re; the 30 day program etc. the following information is regarding folks who would like to think about a 2 yr program...
Generally this is the procedure on this.
1.You sign up and pay fee for 30 day program
2. 2nd month we will consider 1/2 price (this is possible from Twister's prorogative & evaluation of all parties involved.) Then at that point there is an additional 30 day probational period which is fair to both parties involved.
3. In the 3rd month forward we ask for a payment to cover groceries,utilities/laundry facilities etc. (this is variable depending on your arrival and what our utility company is charging us & groceries are continuing to go up)....but, we will be fair on this. (we will not charge you rent for your room). At the moment we charge $300/mo. At the end of probation if you become an employee we will work out the details at that time to give you experience for 2 yrs, if we all agree.
We provide you a room, groceries, laundry facilities & lessons.
We do highly evaluate students abilities to continue on, also work ethics,attitude. We teach students at their own pace. You would be included in the barn chores with the rest of the crew. You will be considered part of our team (it is not a big deal to do this on our place....we all work together).
Responses from Our Clinics
BABBITT RANCHES CLINIC
APRIL 17-20, 2001
Victor Howell: Babbitt Ranch Manager
I’ve always been able to take my horses
up to a point and then I didn’t know what to do then.
I usually felt that they lacked something in their basics,
but , really didn’t understand the basics. I’m
almost 40 years old and have been searching for about 20 years
on how, where and when to cue a horse. Twister Heller has
helped me more than any person on the basic cues of horsemanship.
Now I have a foundation of what I’m looking for. Every
other clinic that I have participated in it seems like they
wanted to show me how handy they were with a horse and less
interested in really taking the time to work with me.
I feel I definitely improved my horsemanship
– had the best results I ever had in two rides on a
colt. I’m very pleased with what the clinic showed me.
I realized the purpose the training exercises will do for
I really enjoyed Twister’s clinic.
It improved my horsemanship. It showed me that there is a
lot more to cutting and starting a colt than I realized. He
also showed me easier ways to get a response faster. I also
learned the meaning of the training exercises – it was
an enjoyable learning experience.
It was a pleasure getting to know Twister
and seeing him do what he loves to do. Twister can read horses
and understand when a horse needs more pressure and when that
pressure needs to be released. I have learned more about feeling
my horse, focusing more about correct form rather than immediate
results. I have really enjoyed the past 4 days.
I really liked what I got out of the schooling.
There were so many things I did not know. This will help me
more in having better horses and more fun when I ride my horse.
If I didn’t really like the school
I would probably have a lot more to say: Twister’s horsemanship
is advanced to the point that an attentive student can learn
a tremendous amount from watching. Twister’s hands and
attention to the horse is my goal post for the future.
I have learned to work a horse in the round
corral – loose with a lounge line and saddled with a
lounge line. Learned to pull a bronc on the ground the first
time instead of checking him around solid. Also understand
to keep the feet moving when working any horse while you are
teaching him the suppleing exercises. With the pulling technique
I learned to work on the headset from the very first handling
and get a nice headset faster than I had ever. With that foundation,
the second and third ride we had flex , control and a nice
I learned to use the outside leg and spur instead of just
inside leg and spur. Also, on any horse to give the outside
rein more slack when turning, keeping the hands more over
the horses neck. I have learned more but it won’t come
to me until I’m working a horse, like the curl and counter
flex, and how to spin and work towards the spin.
----- Original Message -----
From: Stack, Debbie (AZ75) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2001 6:05 PM
Subject: Comments on training
Twister was recommended to me by a gentleman I met while looking
at stallions in Cave Creek. He spoke very highly of Twister
and his way of starting colts. Twister has started three horses
for us. All three of them were babies that we raised. The
first one was a filly that was orphaned at two weeks of age.
She was rather spoiled and even considered dangerous by some.
I visited her monthly while she was in training. I knew what
a stinker she could be and when the time came for me to climb
onboard for a test ride, I was apprehensive. Twister told
me that she was real quiet but I didn't believe it until I
got on and rode off on her. When I got her home to the barn,
nobody could believe the change in attitude and how well she
behaved under saddle. As a three year old, she was a better
ride than many of the older, more seasoned horses at the barn.
I chalked it all up to Twister Heller and his horse ability.
When the time came for our next horse to be broke, we again
called upon Twister to do the job and a durn good one he did.
Shortly after completing ninety days under saddle, we hauled
that geldings and the mare that Twister broke the year before
to California to ride in a parade. They were both angels and
we got many compliments on the behavior of our young equines.
We actually won the group competition and had our pictures
on the front page of the newspaper the next morning. Twister
broke another filly for us last year. Right after her ninety
days at the Heller Ranch, I started team penning on her and
folks were in awe when they found out how young and supposedly
"green" she was. This filly wound up having to pull
more than her weight when my gelding popped a quarter crack
just before a rodeo. Because of the great training foundation
she received, I was able to get her to run a barrel and pole
bending pattern on short notice. Once again, people asked
"who trained that young horse?" and once again,
my hat went off to Twister. We have a foal due this spring
and another next spring. We are really excited about the arrival
of our new babies and much of that excitement is based on
the fact that we will soon have more young horses to bring
to Twister. My husband and I are hooked on durn good horses
and with Twister on our team, we can continue to enjoy our
P.S. We also love Sandy's (Mrs. Heller) ranch style cooking
and hospitality. I brought a friend up one weekend and she
wound up staying for a whole week! Some of us hate to go home
when we visit the Hellers'.
-- Debbie and Scott Stack
Received phone call from Ed Ashurst
(IV Bar Ranch, Douglas, AZ)
These are his comments from the Douglas, Arizona ranch clinic:
"I am a 50 year old cowboy, rode horses all my life.
I have known Twister 30 years. Even at 50 years old, I learned
more in two days than I had in the past 20 years.
I would definitely attend another clinic".
This is another great comment from
Douglas clinic -
----- Original Message -----
From: jeff jones <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2001 9:35 PM
Subject: Re: follow up horse training clinic
thanks for the e-mail; i know you phoned some time back -
i apologize for not getting back sooner. i really enjoyed
the clinic; it helped me out in more ways than one. i have
been interested in reining techniques for some time, but had
never been exposed to a pro who could explain the hows and
whys. i was already familiar with a couple of the exercises,
so it wasn't all completely new to me, but i sorely lacked
how all the pieces fit together into the big picture. two
things that really opened my eyes were the need for a horse
to be "free and relaxed" in the front end, and that
you "push" him through the turn. believe me, I've
sure "pulled" my share . . . the things i learned
have made a remarkable difference with both the horses i'm
riding in just a couple weeks of steady work since the weather
eased off. if i could give one reason for someone to sign
up: it's just plain CRITICAL to know what you're trying to
do before you go do it, and seeing it in person with live
feedback is a hundred (maybe a thousand) times better than
reading it or watching a video. besides the technical help,
just listening to and and talking with Twister gave me a lot
of confidence. up to then, i hadn't realy had any way to measure
my abilities and thought processes; i was more or less in
a vacuum, just plugging along on my own, kind of trying to
re-invent the wheel! just ask that sorrel horse i rode on
Saturday; the poor guy has been my guinea pig for the last
two years! i just wish i had stumbled onto you sooner. Another
thing that i appreciated was Twister's common-sense approach
to everything; no magic and mystery and psycho-babble designed
to impress the natives! i was pretty disappointed that the
weather cut us short the second day; i would have kept him
there a week picking his brain if i had my way. well, i didn't
mean to write a book, but now that you got me going, i might
as well finish. the only thing i could recommend that might
help your customers out is if they had a little clearer picture
up front of what the clinic is about, that may help them decide
what kind of horse to bring, or what bits to use, etc. i really
didn't know if it was a reining clinic, or cutting, or colt
clinic, or how you ran it, but Ashurst told me you were a
friend of his and a top hand with a horse, and that was enough
for me. anyway, i hope to see you again in the future, be
it in this part of the country or maybe at your place sometime;
every time i ride i think of ten new questions, and i desperately
need help with lead changes! my best to you both
From: Katy Hathaway
(Katy spent 2 weeks with us the summer of 2000 on a student
scholarship apprenticeship program.)
I had a great time learning how to read my horse,
and to have it respond better with me. To have the horse react
to my movement in ease and having a great deal of more control
over the animal....!
Having the one on one instruction was fantastic, it let me
have more focus on knowing if I was doing something wrong,
he'd let me know right away.
I learned new things on training and maneuvering the horse,
and to have them respond to me in the orderly fashion that
I asked for....
From: fran kenny <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2000 2:17 PM
I want you to know that if it weren't for you and your training
techniques, that I'd have never been able to get a "lid
on" the Dash for Cash horse that I have. He was a discipline
problem, and you sure did get him straightened out for me.
Also, the things that I have learned from you in order to
"take him on" have been invaluable. The cowboy martingale
is priceless. Thanks for everything!!!
----- Original Message -----
From: Mary Finch
Sent: Sunday, December 26, 1999 2:12 AM
Subject: your ads
I have always gotten a kick out of your ads in the west Coast
Horseman for years. I liked the article on you a couple of
years ago (in Western horseman or Horse & Rider) I cannot
remember which. Anyhow, seen your web address in Az Horse
Connection. I am in Northern California (Orland to be exact
30 Minutes south of Red Bluff). I wish there were more trainers
up here that offer your philosophy & an honest & reasonable
deal. Just wanted to let you know.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 03, 2000 10:01 PM
Subject: Hi Twister & Sandy !!
Happy New Year 2000!! Just wanted to let you know how Peppy
my 2 yr old Paint colt is doing since we brought him home
the first part of December 1999. He had not been ridden since
we brought him home due to time constraints -- WE HAD NO TIME
!! We finally made time this weekend to just work him a little
on some brush-up work, to see how he'd do in his own environment.
He's naturally sweet and now really has a nice handle on him
thanks to you. Bill rode him for a while in some big circles
and while Peppy is definitely "a lefty" he is picking
up both leads very well, and stays on the correct lead with
little pressure to maintain speed. After Peppy is carrying
us around like we had been riding him forever. My younger
son (13yrs) also rode him and liked the way that Peppy would
just trot right out smoothly with no head tossing, tail-cranking
or any snottiness. Remember, Peppy hadn't been ridden since
coming home from your place a month ago, and since we get
flood irrigation, had only been turned out for about 10 days
the entire month of December. I was very impressed with the
way that Peppy kept calm even with our dogs yapping wanting
to chase him, and the fact that his stable buddy was whinnying
and carrying on cause HE wasn't out with us. It had been very
cold and dark all day Sunday, but Peppy didn't try to act
up and "warm up" at all. We rode him for about an
hour (not long but it started getting dark) and he was just
as calm when he went back to his stall as when we took him
out. I have a 24 year old QH mare that hasn't been out in
a while, and while she's good in the yard, when I take her
out when she hasn't been ridden in a while, it's bronc-snorting
city. Sometimes she scares me with her acting up (mostly when
we're alone) but Peppy never got an idea to act up at all.
Thank you for doing such a nice job with Peppy. I have recommended
you to several people, so feel free to use us for future references.
Again, Thanks and happy new year!!
Susan and Bill Butler