By REGINA ELLING
Winning the 2011 Extreme Cowboy Race in Pomona may have gotten him worldwide recognition, but Greg Robinson says it’s not his biggest victory.
A much smaller win in Descanso is “the award that would hurt me the most if it were ever taken away,” he says. “Part of the reason the event means so much to me is because that’s who I really am—just a cowboy, horseman and father.”
He explains, “The 2009 Vaquero Days in Descanso was the first time I competed with my sons. I didn’t win the overall event, but we won the 3-man doctoring challenge.” The competition involved three people working cattle.
Between his long list of professional accomplishments, his numerous clinics and his ranching skills, Robinson is a bit different from many horse trainers and cowboys. That’s because he’s the single father of three teenagers: Stillman, 17; Cheyenne, 16; and Stalon, better known as Bucky, 15.
He homeschools the kids, teaches horse riding and training clinics, works cattle, and much more, all from his home base in Ramona—and all with his children by his side.
If winning a competition with his sons is a measure of success, Robinson has many more victories in his future. He has a large, supportive fan base, and a number of fans are students. His “family” continues to grow, as his fiancé, Julie Senftleben, can usually be found working alongside him. His right-hand man, Jason Kent, also serves as technical assistant, and Mya Haynes from Iowa recently joined the family as an intern learning horsemanship.
Of course, their horses are also considered family members and more, particularly Smart Spooks Playboy, the 5-year old AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) stallion owned by Don Stearns that Robinson has ridden to most of his wins.
“In my mind, Playboy is the ultimate Quarter Horse. He has it all: ability, bloodline, conformation and disposition. He’s a natural. I show him off to maximize his God-given abilities, and he does the same for me,” said Robinson. “I’ve done things on that horse that I’ve never done on another horse and he always gives me his best. I think it, he does it. He is my friend.”
It was on Playboy that he took the Pomona win, which he believes was a much-appreciated professional validation of his horse training techniques and beliefs. He later finished fifth in the Extreme Cowboy Race World Championships, earning him a place in the national spotlight.
“Our goal at Robinson Horsemanship is to train the ultimate versatility horse. You can jump, shoot, spin and slide, rope and trail ride all on the same horse,” he said. “It’s the ultimate for me as a horseman—to excel at anything and everything I can do in a western saddle.”
Further, he believes in training with no restraints. There are no tie-downs or fancy equipment on any of his equines.
“I don’t want to ‘make’ the horse do anything,” he said. “Our brand of horsemanship is unique and works on all of them. I just try to get out of their way as much as possible so they can do what I ask them to do.”
Although he thrives on competition, Robinson said, “I get my most enjoyment out of teaching others. Our motto is real horsemanship for real horse people.”
And to prove it, he will soon be taking Robinson Horsemanship on the road.
“We will be working with Peggy Baker, president and founder of Operation First Response, an organization that does fundraisers and gives financial aid to soldiers wounded in action and their families,” he said. “Our mission is to donate half of everything we make at the clinics back to Operation First Response.”
The family is so committed to the cause that they plan on traveling for the next two years.
“We want to go nationwide for the veterans, and to share our training and riding techniques with the world,” he said.
Even with a heavy traveling schedule in their plans, the Robinson clan openly admit, “We love Ramona and want to make it our home base.”
When they return, they hope to resume their training, clinics and competitions.
“I don’t take days off from horses,” Robinson said.
Greg Robinson Horsemanship is based out of Creek Hollow Ranch in Ramona. For more information, visit robinsontraining.homestead.com or call 619-438-4069.