About Charley/References

To me the horse is one of the hallmarks of the Lord’s charley profile piccreative genius. I love to see a person and their horse get in step so to speak. When that takes place, it releases something in the person and the horse that is very wholesome and satisfying to both. Ultimately, it leads to a better connection with life and people.

Horses have been a passion my entire life. My earliest childhood memories revolved around them. Growing up in Eastern Montana, until my teens, I mostly herded sheep for my dad. A horse becomes one of your most loyal friends and confidante, the dog being the other.

I have been very privileged and fortunate to have spent my life using horses. Mostly on ranches and cattle work, a season of starting colts for the public and retraining sour horses on the race track. From the Bow River in Canada to Del Mar California I have received a blessing that I am very grateful for.

You could say I have acquired a lifetime of knowledge and wisdom, some of it the hard way. Had Ray Hunt not entered my life 30 years ago, I would venture a guess that what I know today would have all come the hard way if it came at all. Thank you, Ray, my dear friend for such a rich heritage.

– Charley Snell

Charley and Barby Snell

Charley Snell has devoted a lifetime to studying and perfecting the skills of the cowboy trade. From horse training and stock handling to saddle making and ranch roping, Charley is the real deal.
Montana rancher
Award-winning journalist and novelist

I’ve ridden horses since I was 5 years old, had many horses and some serious accidents.  I never had a lot of money, so the horses I purchased were craggy and sour. From a skittish mare that cracked my skull, to a young gelding that reared over on me breaking my pelvis, tail-bone and crushing my foot in the stirrup, then onto another horse that fractured my shoulder and gave me a head concussion. Believe me when I say the school of hard knocks is not the best schooling.  I don’t believe a person has to experience these hard knocks and near death experiences with an exceptional trainer around like Charley Snell.

When my husband Gary and I had Charley come and work with our Kiger Mustang I was truly impressed. I’ve seen some incredible horse trainers indeed, but what we saw in Charley we never saw in any horseman prior. We had our young gelding with a horse trainer for four months.  When we got him back he was only green broke. Needless to say we were very disappointed, and heart sick. With Charley he had our gelding standing still and giving his full attention to him within 8 minutes. He did more with this gelding in four hours than the former trainer did in four months.

Charley has the ability to view into the eyes and heart of a person and their horse. He has acquired knowledge and wisdom that comes through experience.  He has the keys to true horsemanship. He teaches the horse owner how to see, interact, and discern themselves and their horse. Some people have a deep turmoil within themselves that will transmit to the horse, when that is taken care of the horse will not only respond and work with you, but will come to love you as you love the horse. Charley brings this connection.

Gary and Traci Carson                                                                                                                                                                                              Clackamas, Oregon


This was my first horse clinic ever. I was nervous and at first didn’t think I belonged. Charley and his son Ben made me feel at ease and brought a greater understanding to me of the horse. At this time I don’t have a horse. I borrowed one of the gal’s horses at the clinic, but I know when I am finally able to buy a horse of my own, I will be prepared and able to handle my horse with confidence and safety.  Thank you Charley!

Paige Livengood                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Portland, Oregon


Charley communicates purpose,  gives purpose,  and teaches purpose.  He is informative,  patient,  prophetic,  and has the ability to communicate and impart information to horse and rider.  The changes made in my horse in 2 days with Charley was greater than 6 months of training with previous trainers.  He gave tools and concepts that “WORK”.

Donna Woodring                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Estacada, Oregon


I was lucky enough to be at Charley’s clinic on June 18th 2011 and I am here to tell you, I was very impressed.

I’ve been to several good clinics with some of the best horsemen out there who follow Ray Hunt’s way, and from them I have gotten plenty of dots to work with. Charley didn’t just give me more dots, he finally connected some dots for me in a way that makes a whole lot of sense, and at last I feel I can really make some progress on some issues I’ve been struggling with for years. Charley makes horses feel good about being with their people. He also makes people feel great about being with him. Good about themselves, good about what they do, and great about trying (really trying) to learn more.

Charley understands people are already trying to do the right thing or they wouldn’t be out there working with him, and he really honors that. He’s just plain fun to work with, and I can’t wait for my next opportunity to ride with him.

Charley treats people the same way he treats horses… with gentle respect, and a nice dose of humor.

Toni Powers                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Sauvie Island, Oregon


  1. Marta Clark on September 3, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I also was at the clinic for Gary and Traci Carson. Charley explained everything in terms I could understand. I’m a fairly new rider and use all I can remember that he taught that day with the gelding I currently work with. Thank you, Charley, everyone learned important lessons that day.

  2. Chris Kuka on October 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Thank you for spending some extra time with me at the Redmond Buck Brannaman clinic this year. Your words still resonate today as I continue to work with my horse. Although I am only beginning to learn about horses, I have learned enough to know the horse industry is rich with frauds and fakes teaching people to extinguish the horse’s life and lightness by chasing them with sorting sticks. It is too bad horses can’t choose the trainer, clinician or horseman they need. If horses could choose, your phone would be ringing all of the time. Thank you for looking out for my horse, and telling me what I need to hear. I look forward to the next time our paths cross again.

    Chris Kuka
    Bend Ore

  3. Alison Weston on December 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I’ve been riding horses since before I could walk. Most of my life has been spent on the back of a horse, either in the show ring or out on the trail. I grew up seeing folks doing alot of what didn’t make much sense to me, and I knew didn’t make too much sense to the horse. Reflecting back on those days, I realize that their goal was to win, and not so much to establish a good relationship based on feel with their horses. Longer shanked or more severe bits, draw reins, spurring and jerking, tying heads around, martingales, you name it, were always present in the warm up arenas. I have always wanted to do better by the horse, but have never come across someone that I felt really embodied a better way, and truly believed in it. Some 25+ years after my start with horses, I met Charley. I think I was doing an ok job:), but meeting up with Charley did humble me. There was so much more to learn! The improvement in the horses I have worked with since meeting Charley is something that brings a smile to my face. Someone observing that may not have been introduced to this type of relationship with horses probably would think that not much is going on….heck- she’s just walking that horse, not too exciting. Oh, but so much IS going on. Even if it’s just a brief moment of that horse really being with you, it gives you a taste of what you have coming if you keep working at it. It’s pretty addictive, especially when you see/feel the result. I now find myself somewhat excited, perhaps, when I get a new horse in that’s troubled in some way. What’s this one going to teach me? I am truly grateful to have met Charley and have him here as such a resource to me and others. I know the horses appreciate being offered such a “good deal”. Thank you.

  4. Brian and Peggy Brown on July 28, 2013 at 8:53 pm


    I just wanted to say,”Thank You” for taking the time to work with me on proper coiling, speedier coiling and throwing a rope at the Corvallis “Buck” clinic over the 4th of July weekend. You took the time late one evening to help me and it has helped immensely. Also, you helped my wife Peggy with her older 1/2 Arabian mare, “Sassy” and properly had her lead her horse and “walk the line” against the arena fence. You took the time for both of us that evening and we greatly appreciate you volunteering to help us, and we have made the changes already and our horses are that much better because of it. Charley you are a real friend, you have a natural way with horses and people and bring them together so they are both in harmony. We enjoyed talking to you each day of the clinic and learning from your experience and wisdom. We hope to see you again soon and ride in your clinics too. God Bless you.

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