I’m Tyler Klees and I have dedicated my life to the continual study of leadership and horsemanship, otherwise phrased as Leadership through Horses. Leadership has been a passion of mine ever since high school and the actual pursuit of horsemanship started at the end of my high school years. I had grown up around horses and was comfortable on them, but lacked the knowledge to positively influence the horse.
My love for horsemanship was developed through the mentoring and teaching from Leif Forrester during my first summer spent out at the C Lazy U Ranch. Leif had just returned to the ranch as the horse foremen after spending the previous 4 years touring as an assistant to Buck Brannaman. Any good horsemanship I have to this day is due to Leif dedicating his time and effort to helping others learn good skills and values through the horse.
The next four years I dedicated to learning and becoming the best horseman I could become. Leading a team to wrangle the 200 horses of C Lazy U every morning at 4:30 covering up to 10 miles before 6:00 a.m. I was fortunate to lead many horsemanship classes offered at the ranch as well as cow clinics we put on for the guests. A typical day was spent wrangling, taking out educational trail rides, leading horsemanship classes and cow clinics, and topping the day off with another wrangle in which I would lead a team to get the horses back out to one of the many pastures we grazed at the ranch. I was fortunate to ride 4 – 10 horses a day, allowing my skills to advance little by little over time.
During the off season the team and I would spend a majority of time riding through the herd to do check ups as well as any problem solving that may have come up. Every year or two we would get in a shipment of 10 – 15 horses we would have to restart and camp on to bring through the basics of groundwork and riding in preparation to become a guest horse. The team and I also started a few colts that were born and raised on ranch, which was a very rewarding process for all who took part. With all the horses the team and I would spend time getting them respectful and responsively relaxed to flags, tarps, ropes, dragging logs, roping feet for shoeing, hobbling, cracking a whip off their back, wrangling, trail ride, and any other situations we could present to them to help them through to progress to the guest string. Because of a great team we were able to get through all of the horses to progress all of them a little bit further year by year, making a better horse for the guest each following year.
Each year I spent as much time as possible to go to watch or ride with Buck to help further progress myself past the current struggles I was having. Through one of the clinics I was offered once in a lifetime opportunity to go work at a working cattle ranch that ran anywhere from 1,400 to 800 cattle. I took the opportunity in which I was able to spend 3 months with great people who taught me a lot about horsemanship, roping, and gratitude. I was allowed to take part in a couple brandings and rope cows everyday. With out this experience I would have never been able to move on.
Now I’m riding horses for the public in Granby, Colorado at the Strawberry Creek Ranch. I feel fortunate to be able to learn from horses every day as well as progress my leadership skills along the way. Dedicating specific time to both horsemanship and leadership every day has allowed me to progress significantly with both horses and people. What I have come to truly believe in is leadership through horses. I hope someday I can be influential enough to teach horsemanship and leadership skills together, to help others reach their full potential in their life in hopes they do the same for others.