Trainer’s Corner – Dustin Gonnet – Cayley, Alberta, Canada

October 5th, 2020 by Sophia Skeith

Photo By Hudyma Photography

Total Earnings: $1,672,203

Dustin Gonnet bought a horse from a sale that a cutting horse trainer had put some time on and he ended up getting a job with that trainer, Doug Reinhardt, to start colts and later he worked for Scott Amos. He never turned back! Gonnet grew up cowboying and riding colts his whole life in Saskatchewan, Canada. Gonnet was a true student of the sport, spending many hours watching other trainers in the practice pen at shows and applying what he thought would work for him and building on that.

What is your training philosophy?

“Horsemanship comes first. I understand we do have to put the pressure on them to have them perform and be ready to perform. At the end of the day I still want to be a horseman and not a horse trainer. Bill Riddle said it best, ‘a horse trainer knows how to do something, but a horseman knows why you do something.’ I spent a fair bit of time around Brian Nuebert and his kids Kate, Luke and Brian Nuebert, so again the horsemanship side of it has always been more important than the win. You do have to push these horses, but it’s understanding how to do it… and still having a solid-minded animal when you’re done.”

Do you have any preferences when you’re picking cattle?

“…I try to understand the area I’m cutting in, so if I’m in Vegas cutting Mexican cattle I want to listen to the guys that are more used to cutting those types of cattle and understand what they’re looking for. It’s no different when those guys come up into my country and cutting the cows I’m used to cutting, they look towards me to understand what kind of cow is best to cut in this country. I wouldn’t say I cut a particular cow all the time, other than I try to make sure I become knowledgeable about the cows in that area.”

What is the difference between the cows in Canada and the cows in the States?

“The cows up here [in Canada] will be a little bit heavier, maybe a little bit pushier on an average. So our cattle don’t give us as much room to work as they do down south, but I do see that changing down south. We have a lot more British influence in our cattle up here and as I see the British influence happening down south, I see their cattle become more similar to ours. Just a little bit heavier, a little bit pushier and not as much feel. It just boils down to when you’re trying to raise cattle to gain weight you forfeit a little bit of the feel.”

How would you describe feel?

“When you’re doing something to a horse or cow and you notice a change in that animal’s mind, as far as getting the response you’re looking for, and you release that pressure, whether it’s a horse or cow, and you see the change in that animal, that’s feel.”

Watch Dustin’s videos on CHTO by clicking here!


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