We have put together a brief snapshot of regular contributor Al Dunning, an incredible horseman with a strong belief in the power of coaching.
What has been your best ride?
I have been fortunate to have some great rides. One was at the 1981 All-American Congress Open Reining on Expensive Hobby. I scored a 234 which was the highest in the NRHA at the time. We won!
How did you get started in western?
My family moved to Arizona in 1958. I wanted to be a cowboy after growing up watching Westerns on TV. So I got a hat and spurs, and the story began!
Who has inspired you?
I was around some great horsemen. Jim Paul, John Hoyt, and Don Dodge are Hall of Fame trainers that mentored me.
What is typical day for you at your ranch?
Work, ride a lot, lessons, office work, exercise, answer phone, critique videos for Team AD, go to bed and start over. We rein, cut cows, and rope.
What is your horse training philosophy in a nutshell?
No stone unturned. Make a horse anyone can ride that is truly broke and light.
In your experience, what makes a great rider?
Great riders are natural, then they learn constantly to be better and they find a great mentor.
Explain why you believe coaching is so important in today’s western riding
If you continue to practice the same mistakes you will get frustrated. By having a quality coach watching, you will progress and have fun.
Describe the power of coaching
All great riders have a coach. They take constructive feedback and put it to use. The coach will encourage the rider to excel!
What bit of your knowledge do you wish all your students would apply?
Patience and the willingness to listen and learn.
How do you relax?
I like to golf and fly fish. I also steer rope. I love being with my family and granddaughter, Gracie.
If you weren’t training horses what would you like to do?
I like fixing and building things. I also like consulting. Maybe fish, golf, and work part-time at a hardware store.
What are your goals for the future?
Ride, teach, win, and love life!