“Until you admit to yourself that the way you’ve been doing things could be improved upon, it’s hard to get much better.”
So, Buster McLaury, Paducah, Texas, cowboy will share his thoughts on improving horsemanship at the EquiFest of Kansas.
He’s a clinician coming to the Saline County Livestock Expo Center and Tony’s Pizza Events Center at Salina, March 16-19.
From a ranching background, Buster at an early age experienced the dust, heat, and long days in the saddle.
“When I was a kid, I noticed early on that cowboys ridin’ good horses got called first to work roundups,” Buster said. “That’s what I wanted to do, so I kept my ears pointed whenever one of those good hands started talking.”
That youthful attentiveness has made Buster one of the busiest, most likeable, and sought after horse clinicians in the world. A product of the big ranch country in West Texas, Buster McLaury brings a unique perspective into his presentations.
Making his living cowboying on big outfits, Buster has worked thousands of horses and hundreds of thousands of cattle. More than 40 years handling livestock provides Buster with a wealth of information, experience, and stories he readily shares with others.
“I never rode any show horses, and I never had any time to teach one any tricks,” Buster said. “My horses and I always had a job to do. I’ve spent my life trying to learn the easiest way for me and my horses to get that job done.”
To that end, Buster insisted he’s learned little things that can benefit all riders trying to get their horses handier.
“Basically, we all need our horses to do the same things: stand still, go, stop, turn, and back,” Buster said. “I believe that is the foundation for any discipline.
“Until that foundation is understood by both the horse and human, the potential and probability for conflict exists,” Buster declared. “Once the foundation is there, we can refine it in any direction for whatever discipline is desired.”
Horses have helped Buster make a living for his family for more than 100 years. “Now it seems, the Lord has given me the opportunity to give something back to the horse,” Buster said. “I consider that quite a responsibility.”
Buster’s mentors in horsemanship include his father Royce, his grandfather Seth Woods, Keith Slover, Buster Welch, and Ray Hunt.
“Before I met Ray Hunt about 25 years ago, I thought I was a pretty good hand with a horse,” Buster claimed. “I guess I was getting along all right. But Ray could get horses to do things I didn’t even know horses could do.”
A philosophizer in his own sense, Buster said, “Be more aware of your presence around horses. Begin with the end in mind, and always offer your horse a feel that means something.
“There are lots of real good times to give a horse a good leavin’ alone,” he declared.
Buster met his wife Sheryl at a dance in Paducah. He was working for the 6666 Ranch, and she lived on the nearby Heatley Ranch, where her stepfather was the foreman.
Both coming from ranching and horse backgrounds, they hit it off immediately and have been married more than 40 years. They have two daughters.
Tiffany lives in Paducah and shows horses for the public. Living in Midland, Texas, Misty and her husband Michael have four children.
“I drug Sheryl and these girls to some pretty remote cow outfits with some less than desirable housing,” Buster admitted. “Sheryl’s made a home out of every one of them. She’s good help at a cow workin,’ calvin’ heifers, startin’ a colt, or feedin’ a crew of hungry cowpunchers.”
Sheryl often travels with Buster nationwide and abroad conducting the colt starting, horsemanship, ranch roping, and cow working clinics.
“My goal in the clinics is to help people better understand the horse,” Buster said. “They must know how to work with their horse in a manner that is fitting to it. That creates an environment of trust, understanding, and enjoyment for both horse and rider.”
The clinician pointed out: “When a horse gets in trouble, you need to listen. He’s saying, ‘I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, and besides that, I was scared.’”
As a testament to Buster’s communications skills, he has written numerous articles over the last decades for national magazines. Buster has done most of the photography personally for the stories. He also partnered with David Stoecklein in coffee table books The Western Horse and The Texas Cowboys.
Buster McLaury’s schedule and other details about EquiFest of Kansas in Salina, March 16-19, are available at www.equifestofks.com.
“There are lots of real good times to give a horse a good leavin’ alone,” declared Buster McLaury, who’ll be at the EquiFest of Kansas, March 16-19, in Salina.
At the EquiFest of Kansas, March 16-19, in Salina, Buster McLaury will work to help people better understand their horses.
“Be more aware of your presence around horses” advised Buster McLaury, who’ll be at the EquiFest of Kansas, March 16-19, in Salina.