KO PERFORMANCE HORSES
Trainer: Kevin R. Otterness
Experience: 22 years riding - 9 years training
Disciplines that KO Performance Horses offers:
Client and Horse Accomplishment?
The KO Process
As a trainer, Kevin has come in contact with his fair share of different horse breeds from AQHA, APHA, POA and Appaloosa. Kevin is confident in training but before taking on any client, he likes to meet with them first and try and understand what they are wanting to accomplish by using Kevin as a trainer. Where do they think they need some help; whether it be the horses behaviors or techniques the rider is trying to change. After that, Kevin just likes to observe the horse and rider combination without any input to see how the team is working as a pair. Seeing if the rider tips on how to better their seat, hands, horses collection, ect. Then he gets into it; into the areas that need working and problem solving together. The great thing about Kevin is that he likes to know if the rider can tell the differences in a correct moving horse and not so correct. It’s about building confidence in the rider and developing a relationship with both the horse, the family and the rider.
Listen to what Kevin has to say about his experiences.
“Horses are in my blood. It was imbedded in me before I could ever say I didn’t want to be involved; am I glad it was. Horses have been in my family for generations so it was only natural that I continued on with it. I was on my first horse before I could walk and at my first horse show, I was showing lead line with a massive grey mare named Gray Lady. She wasn’t probably the safest thing for a 5 yr old to be on, but I wanted to show and she was the one that my aunt was showing at the time. In the line up she got spooked by a garbage can and went straight up in the air. My grandpa did everything he could to try and calm her and get me off, but I was NOT letting go of that horn. Once she settled, the judge came up to me and gave me dollar and my very first set of spurs and said, “now that’s hanging on kid.” I had the imprint of the saddle horn on my hand. From there on out I very rarely missed at show.
We started quarter horse and converted to POA’s. I showed everything from open to 4-h to the POA Circuit. Growing up in Wisconsin the horse show world was dominated by women, which meant that they were competitive and were out for the win; so I needed to be able to compete against them. I worked closely with Riata Ranch in Wisconsin to be on the competitive level I needed to be on along with riding at summer camps and lessons at shows, anything that it took to make me get to the top. I went on to win numerous local shows, state, regionals, classics, and internationals. People then started to notice the young guy amongst all the girls.
Later on I was asked to host mini camps for the 4-h kids and give lessons to the local crowd. While in college I was given the opportunity to train unbroken reining horses with John Horrom of Wisconsin. It was an amazing chance that lead to more. Thats when my training career really started to take off. People then started asking me for more lessons and to work on their horses. It then grew to where that was what I was doing full time and I couldn’t have been happier. After moving around a little and finally deciding to settle in Colorado I brought along a paint gelding, who is now sold, but was one of the best horses I’ve ever worked with. He got English High point for the winter buckle series out here. I am excited to see where he and his new owner are going! I have been working with clients in many disciplines out here ranging from, English and western pleasure, gymkhana, and colt starting. I look forward to seeing what is next for me in this crazy horse world.”
Turning them out
“When looking for horses for myself; I don’t necessarily look for the best bloodlines or the horse with the best confirmation (those things are important, don’t get me wrong), but I look for heart, and the willingness to learn. I also look really closely at movement. If a horse has a flat knee and a deep hock, I’m interested.”