For David and Becky Hanson of Hanson Performance Horses, horses is in their blood. Dave grew up riding horses as his father was a cutting horse trainer, and both his brother and sister also became horse trainers. Training horses was always more than an occupation for them: it is a way of life.
David also made it the focus of his education, attending California Polytechnic University and earning a degree in Animal Science. The couple then spent five years training reining horses in Italy for Arcese Quarter Horses and showing throughout Europe. They earned a number of prestigious titles while showing there, including the Italian Futurity, Derby, and Maturity championships.
David and Becky returned to the United States in 2000 and started Hanson Performance Horses in Clements, California. During that time, they have built a program based on training reining horses and coaching non-professionals. Since his return to the United States, David has placed in the Open Finals of the NRHA Futurity, the NRHA Derby, the NRCHA Futurity and the NRBC. Becky has also made the Intermediate Open Finals of the NRHA Derby and both David and Becky hold NRHA North American Affiliate Titles as well as numerous West Coast Open Titles. For David, that means bringing home the Intermediate Open North American Affiliate Championship Title in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
The Hansons have carved out a niche for themselves and are enjoying a lot of success in the program they created. “We train and show open and aged event horses, but the bulk of our business revolves around buying and selling solid non pro and amateur reining horses and cultivating new NRHA and West Coast Members,” Becky explains. “We not only train, maintain, buy and sell, but we gives lessons and guidance to industry newcomers as they work to improve their skills as horsemen and showmen. Generally speaking, we keep around 20 horses in training as we prefer to do the majority of the training ourselves.”
The non-professional riders under the Hansons’ tutelage have proven to be strong competitors in their own right, thanks to their participation in a program where fundamentals of horsemanship and show sense are paramount. Riders and horses of all types have a place at Hanson Performance Horses, whether they desire the perfect futurity prospect, the finished show horse, or just lessons that will enhance their overall ability to ride and show. The Hansons offer a program that is based around basics and simplicity, plus one more special ingredient. “We believe that success is not a result of one person’s efforts, but of the efforts of the entire team,” Becky explains. “Whether it is teamwork and cooperation between horse and rider or trainer and owner.”
Students of Hanson Performance Horses do more than learn how to ride: they become horsemen. “Our lessons are geared towards educating riders about the fundamentals of reining,” Becky says. “It is important to us that our riders understand not only what they are doing, but why they are doing it as well. It is our goal to both teach and guide not only industry newcomers, but also those with advance skills.”
Of course, the horse is the reason David and Becky are in business in the first place, and that’s what their life is dedicated to. “It is our goal to treat our horses and our riders with fairness and respect,” Becky comments. “We provide a steady and consistent program for both horses and riders and aspire to create solid foundations from which everyone can best showcase their talents, continually evolving as horsemen and showmen. We pride ourselves in providing strong basics for young horses that withstand the test of both time and pressure and maintain aged show horses. We strive to create horses of quality and longevity. We usually go to shows once a month throughout the show season, concentrating primarily on qualifying riders for the NRHA Affiliate Finals in OKC each fall.”
In addition to running a busy training facility, both David and Becky are also very involved in the reining community at both the local and national levels. David has served on the Board of Directors of the West Coast Reining Horse Association, serving as President for several years, as well as the NRHA Professionals Committee. Becky has also served on NRHA’s Board of Directors and as one of the Northwest’s Regional Directors, plus she was active on the NRHA Affiliate Committee and Finance Committee. “We feel that it is important to be involved and to give back to an industry and a community that has provided us with so much more than a profession. It’s an entire lifestyle,” Becky says.
Hanson Performance Horses is located in San Joaquin County in Northern California, just two miles east of the quaint and historic town of Clements. The ranch is nestled among oak-studded hills and surrounded by prime vine-yards and lush cattle ground. Visitors enjoy a tranquil location with a beautiful view of the Sierra Nevada mountains from anywhere on the ranch. The 40-acre facilities include a 25-stall show barn, six-stall mare barn, 100 x 200 foot indoor riding arena, 200 x 300 foot slide track, and a 150 foot round pen.