Travis Stewart looks at two year olds like an artist looks at a blank canvas.They have limited experience with people so he can mold them into what he thinks they need to be to succeed in their performance careers. While Stewart has been focused on two year olds, he does get to show on occasion to complete the picture. He truly enjoys the day to day process of training at home.
He attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, in California where he earned his Animal Science degree. It was there he discovered the performance horse world, which soon replaced his plans for vet school. Stewart is also a talented painter and sculptor in his free time.
“It’s a great outlet for me to do other things and keep my mind fresh,” Stewart said.
“There are so many challenges in training a horse. It held my attention…It turned into a passion. I just kept wanting more.”
Stewart started out in the reined cow horse world. An opportunity came along for him to go work at Black Rock Ranch in Idaho. The ranch was involved in multiple western performance sports. Grant Setnicka was also at the ranch at the same time. Setnicka introduced Stewart to cutting and has continued to be a mentor/supporter. Stewart has established a solid foundation for himself by working for Todd Bergen, Don Murphy, Ron Ralls, Beau Galyean and many others.
Stewart still uses concepts he learned from Bergen when training two year old cutting horses.
“I try to train to get the most out of each horse. I treat them all as individuals. And I evaluate what their strong suits are. To me, the best way to get the most out of these horses is to make use of their own nature…I let them gain confidence by being able to do something [well]. I try to make it to where they can do it… [It is most] important to me how they are thinking and if their intentions are good. I try to teach them their job first and then make them better as we go along,” he said.
Stewart’s motivation comes from a love of the process. His goal for his colts is that whoever gets the horses from him feels like they can do anything with the colt.
“I got into [horses] purely because I wanted to be a better horseman and I wanted to learn. And it ended up becoming a career. That is still the basis of why I do this…All of the changes I’ve made in my career were to advance my knowledge…”
“With every horse, I try to do a better job than I did the day before.”
Stewart hopes to one day top the NCHA Futurity sale. One of his favorite memories was at last year’s sale in December when he sold a horse for $150,000. A friend from college wanted to partner on a horse so Stewart spent some time to make sure he found the right one. He said not only did he enjoy training the horse, but was thrilled to share the experience with his friend.