Wild Side Ranch

8675 Taft Road • Bloomfield, NY 14469

Tel: (585) 624-4603

Web: www.WildSideRanchLLC.com

email: horses@WildSideRanchLLC.com

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Dave Minteer

2010 GVEC Horse Educator of the Year

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Valley Equine

Ann Dwyer, DVM

Our 2010 Educator of the year is a person well known to many of you. He is a man who could be called Western New York’s HORSE WHISPERER, for he has devoted his life to the education of both horses and riders in our community.

Our educator got started with horses at the age of 12 in his native town of New Castle, Pennsylvania.  His first horse was one that was free but really no bargain—it was unbroken.  Undaunted, the boy and the horse learned together, fast—soon  our nominee was riding all over Pennsylvania, whenever and wherever he could.  Attracted to the excitement of the rodeo arena, he spent several years as a bronc rider.  At the age of 18 he ventured up to the Attica rodeo.  There a pretty young lady named Laney caught his eye. He never looked back--before long they were hitched.  The two of them then rodeoed together, winning pickup events all over Pennsylvania and western NY.


The young couple moved to our area in the early 1960s.  Soon there were two children to raise, Jack and Loretta.  Our nominee knew he was destined for a career with horses, so he enrolled in farrier school at Cornell in 1967.  This launched his first career—he trimmed and shod horses for the next 22 years. He was a skilled and respected farrier who had a particular knack for working with difficult horses. Soon he started training horses on the side.  To broaden his skills he started attending clinics with the noted John Lyons.  John’s methods of Natural Horsemanship were a perfect fit with our nominee’s thoughtful, quiet manner.  He was a devoted student, and he used what he learned as the foundation of his training business.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Our educator’s success with difficult horses is legendary, but his manner is modest.  As his friend and student Andrea Scott said, “He won’t ever blow his own horn so somebody has to do it!”   His nomination was supported by letters from horse people of all stripes:  trail riders, show folks, dressage people, eventers, western riders and people who drive horses. These letters are compiled here and published by White Barn Press. In each letter there are similar adjectives to describe our nominee: words such as “wise”, “humble”, “unassuming”, “quiet”, “calm”, “gentle”, and “composed.” In the following pages, Dave’s fans describe how these qualities combine with the innate “horse sense” and incredible patience of a true natural horseman and communicator to make him a such a good trainer.  Over and over they tell tales of how he has had success where others have failed, particularly with horses who had a fear of trailers, or a dangerous habit like bucking or balking.


One common theme that runs through the letters of support is the care that Dave has taken all his life with educating BOTH horse and rider.  As Connie and Steve Lembaris note, “He doesn’t just train the horse, he teaches their owners with every move he makes.”  Reading through the  pages of this book will give you a sense of how this year’s GVEC Equine Educator of the year has changed the lives of many area horse people. All of the veterinarians at GVEC are glad to honor him.



Always the most giving

John and Jody Lyons


I  met Dave in the early nineties when he came to the first Symposiums and later rode in clinics I was giving in the Northeast.  He was always the first one there in the morning and the last one to leave at night, and was always the hardest worker and most giving to others in the clinic.

His concern for both horses and his gentle way with people were always his outstanding qualities.  I have known him only to give 100 percent to both horses and people over the years.

I believe he has the same attributes that I have found in every great horse trainer.  First, he always wants to learn more and strives to constantly learn from the horses he works with. Second, he keeps an open mind and always is willing to learn what others are willing to share.

Dave sees the positive in others and offers kind words and little criticism of others, and applies those same qualities to the horses as well.  He never puts horses as more important than people, nor people more important than his wife, Laney, who has stood by him and supported him for so many years.  She believes in Dave and thinks he probably created the horse. That is a good thing because we all need a person like that in our lives.

Dave has always been modest, never boastful, but has always been hard working and cares about people and horses.  He has helped so many horse owners throughout the years, and I have been very fortunate to have him as a friend.

I do not know anyone who is more deserving of this award.  Congratulations to you for picking him, and congratulations to Dave on receiving this award.

Dave won't ever blow his own horn,

so somebody has to do it!

Andrea Scott


I can think of no one more deserving than Dave Minteer for the Equine Educator award. I have known Dave for about 10 years. My first foxtrotter, purchased from Ilene Benedict, had only one month of training, but it was by Dave. I brought him directly to Whispering Pines where Dave was training at the time. He spent about three months with him and became a great horse with a solid foundation. We would go back yearly for our Dave "fix." About 3 years ago we started tossing around the idea of my building an arena and Dave training. Minteer Training at Wild Side Ranch was created.

My respect and appreciation of Dave as a trainer and a person has no bounds. Since he has been at Wild Side I have had the opportunity to watch him with many different horses and people. He is a natural horseman. His calm, steady manner with horses is amazing to experience. A scared to death wild eyed animal will soon be following him like a puppy. Rude, disrespectful horses soon stand politely. Dave is a modest man of few words, but when asked is more than happy to spend time with owners helping them sort out their horse problems. His patience with both horses and their owners is legendary. On a personal level I have gotten to know Dave and his wife Laney well and I cherish their friendship. They are truly good honest people with a lifelong passionate love for horses. 


It always amazes me when I meet another horse person and I mention that Dave trains at my place, they have not only heard of him but have a "Dave story" to tell. Please consider Dave for your award. He may shoot me for putting all this attention on him, but I know he will really appreciate it. Dave won't ever blow his own horn, so somebody has to do it!


Dave Minteer  -  the consummate horseman

Kay Baier

This is more a story of my horse's experiences with Dave than mine. I bought Kirby, a seven year old quarter horse gelding, after I had been out of horses for several years.  I was getting no where with him despite all the well meaning advice from friends.  I finally realized I am not a horse trainer, I am a Spanish teacher.  So, off we went to Dave.  Six weeks later, I now owned a perfect gentleman of a horse who respected me.  As I was the problem, not the horse, I came home with methods for dealing with Kirby that worked.

Fast forward three years. My grandson, then 11, had taken riding lessons for one year.  It was time to transition to his own horse.  Kirby and Charlie went to Dave together for two months.  When Dave was done with them, they had formed a perfect partnership.  My grandson's love of horses continues to this day.  He is an excellent rider and continues to participate in the sport at age 20.

Both Charlie and I stopped riding.  Kirby loved to be ridden so I sold him to a woman in her 50s who was buying her first horse.  They bonded, but Kirby backslid into the no respect stage.  In other words, he got away with murder.  His new owner took him to Dave for two months and now has a lovely horse that she can truly enjoy.  She also took advantage of all the wisdom that Dave has to offer.

Dave Minteer is a consummate horseman who tackles and overcomes all obstacles.  I highly recommend our very own "horse whisperer" for this award.


Dave doesn’t just train the horse,

he teaches their owners

Connie & Steve Lembaris

There is not a person more deserving of the Equine Educator of the Year Award than Dave Minteer. 

I first met Dave Minteer about six years ago. My then two year old Arabian gelding was terrified of getting on my trailer because I didn’t understand a thing about teaching horses! Dave stood in the cold autumn rain for four hours one day and three the next, patiently waiting for my horse to learn that once on the scary trailer, he could get off!  He now trailers like a dream. He is not fearful and therefore much safer to load and unload. 

On and off over the next four years, Dave worked with my husband and me and our young horse. Because we don’t have an indoor arena, every spring was a new learning curve. Come each spring, we would call Dave and ask for a ‘tune up.’ He would smile and say sure, always eager to help. 

Dave can ‘read’ horses and people extremely well. His never ending patience and quiet sense of humor helped us through many scary and frustrating moments. Dave doesn’t just train the horse, he teaches their owners with every move he makes. Everything he does is for the benefit of both horse and rider.  This quiet, unassuming man is a master trainer of both horses and people. He has changed our lives for the better in so many ways.

 Thank you Dave.


It’s always an education

Suzanne Suor

While many of us love horses, not all of us have that deep instinctive knowledge of what makes them tick. Whether we need help starting a young horse, correcting problems, or keeping horse and rider tuned up for competition, many of us turn to equine educators.


Several years ago, I bought Billy, an experienced trail horse and overall good guy. When Billy arrived at our farm he was tentative about what was new to him. He adjusted well to everything, except a trailer ramp. We did pretty well with the transition from step up to a ramp, until one rainy day when he slipped and went down to his knees backing out. Suddenly, Billy's fear of slipping, associated with descending the horse eating trailer ramp, became a major issue. We'd arrive at our destination and it would take as long as an hour to get him out of the trailer. Without exception, every friend said,"Call Dave Minteer."


After a month of trying to correct the problem myself, I took my friends’ good advice, and called Dave for help. He agreed to come to the farm. After a brief introduction to Billy and a few minutes of Dave’s special round pen training (a long red lead rope.) It was time to get serious. Within an hour Dave helped Billy regain his confidence, and he helped me tune into my horse.


Last year I needed no urging from friends to bring my new young horse Toby to Dave for training. Dave’s ability to work with all kinds of horses and riders and to diagnose problems and patiently work through them makes him an outstanding educational resource for all of us. Watching and listening to Dave work with horses, whether your own or someone else’s, is always an education and a reminder to be patient, stay focused and appreciate the steps it takes to gain a horse’s confidence over time.


I have never seen a horse Dave couldn’t work with

Jen Lyle


My farrier first recommended Dave's training about two years ago.  I have a little mare who has had some tough experiences in her life.  She was fearful, strong willed, poorly broken at best, and had unfortunately learned along the way that rearing could get her out of what she didn't want to or know how to do.  Things had reached the point where I was afraid to ride her, and could not in good conscience sell her.  Facing some difficult decisions on her future, I sent her to Dave to see if he could help.


Dave is the best horseman I have ever had the privilege to meet.  Over the last two years, I have had the opportunity to watch him work with many types of horses.  In the two years that I have known him, I have never seen a horse that Dave could not work with.  Whether lazy or hot, timid or belligerent, confident or spooky, Dave’s quiet firmness and consistency eventually reaches them all.  He patiently worked with my mare, building her confidence while insisting on correct behavior.  More importantly, Dave helped me to gain the confidence and skills to ride her and work with her sometimes difficult personality.  Some days, I cannot believe that the little mare who was regularly dumping me is now such a willing and fun partner.  Dave is always free with advice when I ask, reminding me not to fight with her, to ask more of her, or suggesting that she is putting one over on me when she is trying to convince me that she cannot do something! Dave doesn’t just train the horse, he trains the horseman.  He knows that it is not enough that he can get results with a particular horse.  He takes great pleasure and pride in seeing a horse and rider be successful together.


Aside from my personal experiences, it is clear that Dave has had a far reaching impact on the equine community.  It is common to mention his name to a fellow horse person and hear stories of how Dave has had an impact on them or someone  they know.  Whether he was their farrier, worked with them in 4-H, started their colt, or taught them how to get their reluctant horse on a trailer, every person who has had the privilege of working with Dave Minteer is better for it. 



Dave  has an incredible degree of kindness and patience

Karen Giroux

I have known Dave over the past 20 years and have found him to be a fabulous trainer who always put the horse first.  Dave has an incredible degree of kindness and patience not only with the horse but the owner as well.  

Over and over, Dave has taken the "problem horse" and the "scared owner" and created a trusting relationship between the two, time and time again.  I have watched Dave work tirelessly on a 10 degree night and never complain or rush his session with the horse.  

He has sacrificed  health and wealth for his love of horses and his desire to make the most out of each and every horse he encounters.  Dave makes the horse safe for the owner.  That appears to be one of his primary goals.  He educates the owner as to how the horse thinks and reacts.  He truly is an educator to be proud of.  Please consider him.




I love being part of the Minteer “family”

Lisa Sykes

I love being part of the Minteer “family” It is continually a learning experience.

Being around Dave at the barn I have had the chance to watch him train all the different horses. He has some really interesting horses come  in and most of the time it is to fix a problem they are having or break a horse. I really enjoy watching Dave go through the process of working with these horses. He is so considerate and thoughtful to the owners and the horses. Imagine, getting a new horse in, riding it and training it and putting it away. Well, with Dave, it seems that each horse is an experience instead of an obligation. He takes the time to groom each horse and not just where the saddle sits. He is slow with them in the beginning so they learn to trust him. He is always talking to them as well. His hands are like butter in their mouth. Dave loves it when the owners are involved, because if you don’t work with the owners all his hard work will go right out the window.

Last winter, a bunch of us women got together and took a group lesson from Dave -- every Friday afternoon. We had a blast. Keeping us working and not chatting was a tough chore for any instructor, but Dave did a great job. He had us playing games, learning roll backs, lead changes, stopping, backing and patterns. Too much fun at the same time we were all learning.

Please consider Dave as a nominee for the Equestrian Educator of the year. He is a fine choice and has touched so many lives in the equine industry.

A legacy of gentled equines

Joann Long

I've known Dave for 15 years and have taken reining lessons with him long before reining was even 'in'.  His patience with both the horse and rider is impressive.  Dave has a quiet, easy-going demeanor that lends itself to a
skillful teacher.  His extensive equine knowledge is easily shared to the betterment of everyone he meets.  This humble, honest, patient, equine loving man goes out of his way to help others with their horses.  He takes problem horses and transforms them to their owners delight.  He volunteers to help at the local 4H camps and shows his horsemanship expertise across the state at reining and cow horse association events.  His lifelong passion training horses has left a legacy of gentled equines for generations to enjoy.

The horses that Dave works with are lucky indeed

Annabelle Francia-Kiss


Dave has impressed me most with his limitless patience when working with horses.  I have seen many professionals during my career with horses, and I can honestly say I have never met one who would spend as much time getting a horse to load on a trailer as Dave.  He never raises his voice or gets angry, but just patiently waits for the horse to accept the fact that he is going to get on the trailer.  He is a true “Horse Whisperer,” always talking softly and reassuring the horses as he works with them.  There is never a hint of punishment involved in his technique, and that is a rare quality among trainers that I have observed, for the most part.
The horses that Dave works with are lucky indeed to have such a compassionate person up on their backs!

Less is more

Linda Carter


In these challenging times we seem to hear the phrase “Less is More” a lot lately. Never has this been more true than when it applies to Dave Minteer. When you go to his stable you will never see a bunch of training gimmicks hanging on his walls, because he doesn’t need them. You will never see a wall of ribbons and trophies, although he could certainly have them all. You will never hear him brag about his accomplishments, although he has more reason to than most.

What you will see when you watch him work is how very effective Dave is with a horse because he truly listens to the horse’s needs. This allows him to establish a relationship with each horse based on trust instead of fear. Once he has established that trust, he also has the talent to develop a horse to its fullest potential.

Because of his extraordinary ability to communicate with horses, people from all riding disciplines bring their problem horses to Dave to “fix,” as well as their youngsters to be started, knowing that the foundation Dave will give them will allow these young horses to go on to be successful in whatever form of riding their owners choose.

I had the privilege of taking lessons from Dave this past year. He instills the same sense of quiet confidence in his students as he does with horses. He is able to give instruction and then give the rider the opportunity to feel it and figure it out for themselves. It is truly an honor to work with  such a talented horseman.

Congratulations Dave – you so deserve this award!

Chrissy Hachten


Dave has helped countless horses and people of every discipline, myself included. Through his almost magical way with the horses, Dave enhances the partnership between horse and rider.  On more than one occasion, I have gone to Dave with a  problem  and he was always able to help me understand why the horse was reacting the way he was, and how to work through and correct the issue. 

One young horse in particular was extremely lazy and had a poor work ethic, in between bucking fits.  After two weeks with Dave, he was effortlessly doing everything that was asked of him and ready and willing to learn more.  He needed the consistent, steady program with endless patience that Dave provides for each horse that he works with.  Another part of Dave’s winning ways with horses is the time he takes explaining everything to the person or people who  own the horse so that they can have a fun, productive and safe relationship with their horse. 


Not only is Dave incredibly knowledgeable about training and helping the horse and rider understand each other, but he is SO willing to do it, and always in a very unassuming and positive way.


A true friend and leader

Cordy Sullivan and Tenabo


Dave Minteer is a gentle man who has an amazing relationship with horses. He never gets impatient or frustrated, but is always calm and composed.  The horses truly respond to his quiet manner.


Dave has trained one of my young mustangs and helped with another. He has also tried to train me - which has been less successful!


Dave's lessons are invaluable.  I wish he would make a series of tapes so I could have a "pocket Dave."


Probably the best compliment to Dave is the way horses he has trained respond when they see him again.  They all want to go right up to him and just hang out. They know a true friend and leader.


With my deepest respect

Rosalie Guarino

I would like to see Dave be recognized for his work with horses. I have sent many people to him for help with their problem horses. Problems other trainers could not handle or resolve. 

 I could give many examples of what I have witnessed through the years; the one that stands out is when I tried to move my horse to another barn closer to my house. It was a big beautiful barn with very experienced riders and a full time trainer. After a few months, my horse became so unruly that I was afraid of her. She wouldn’t even let me put her on the cross ties, and she gave everyone a hard time whenever they handled her.  I was told that she needed chains on her nose, and she was out of control. I called Dave, out of sheer frustration. He came to the barn and told me to try to get her. He wanted to watch what was happening. I got her out of the stall and tried to tie her to the cross ties. She was acting very nervous, hyper, jumpy, nothing I did helped. Dave said “Ok. That’s enough, lets take her home for a few days.” He walked toward us; he had been observing from the far end of the barn. When he got to us, he reached over to me and I gladly handed him the lead rope. I was amazed at what I witnessed next–my  horse looked like someone gave her a sedative—she  dropped her head, totally relaxed, as if to say—Thank  God. She followed him to the trailer and walked right on. We got to Dave's farm and within an hour my horse was following me around like a puppy dog.  In my heart, Dave is a true horse whisperer; even the horses know when they are with him they are in good hands. 


I think every horse that comes to Dave is treated with respect, and the training is something wonderful to watch as the horses respond and learn.  He seems to handle horses with mind connection as much as training techniques. With Dave there is never anything harsh; watching makes you want to see more. He is amazing! Anyone can call himself or herself a horse trainer, but it takes more than skill and knowledge, it takes a true connection, I believe Dave has it all!


I truly love horses, and I believe I have given my horse the best with Dave.



If horses could vote . . .

Dee Lucitte

 When my first horse’s daughter, Favor, was five I started to ride her. I could get on her and have her follow another horse but I wasn’t making a lot of progress teaching her the basics all by myself. Everyone whose

opinion I respected recommended Dave Minteer. One of my friends, who was a professional trainer, said Dave was the person the trainers asked for help when they weren’t having any success.

I called Dave and spoke to Laney. Any nervousness I felt about Favor leaving home for a while quickly went away. Laney said she couldn’t describe it, but it was as if Dave WAS a horse. I couldn't really picture anything like that.

Six days after dropping Favor off at Dave’s, my husband Rick and I returned to visit “our baby.” While watching Dave brush and tack Favor up in her stall I understood what Laney meant. I don’t think I can explain it either, but Favor seemed to be communicating with Dave the way she communicated with her mother and the other horses at our farm.

Her body language suggested that she was with “one of her own.” She clearly adored him and didn’t seem to miss me at all! And the best part, she could walk, trot and canter correctly on both leads. We could not believe all of that progress in just 6 days.

If horses could vote, Dave would be Horseman of the Year every year.


Thank you for the support, encouragement and wonderful example . . .

The Minute Family

 Dave Minteer IS the true horse whisperer. I have no doubt about this, and knew it the first time he began working with my daughter’s new horse Sunny nine years ago. We were totally inexperienced with horses and knew we needed a trainer after Sunny ran away with my daughter a few times and she became afraid of him. We followed through with the many recommendations to “Call Dave.”

Dave’s gentleness and the way he connected with the horse was impressive and touching. I loved watching him work with Sunny and witnessing the way Sunny responded. The progress he made with what we thought was a stubborn horse, was just amazing to us. Each week we saw Sunny relate better and better to Dave’s expectations. As Dave put it, Sunny went from kindergarten to high school. He also helped my daughter with her confidence and taught her how to approach and communicate with her horse. We all learned about patience, communication, persistence and – most of all – “thinking like a horse.”

We were so amazed with Dave’s skills with the horses that we asked if we could board Sunny at his farm when the training was over. We were thrilled when an opening came up. Since then, our youngest daughter has also taken up riding and we have added two more horses to our family. Dave is now working with our youngest horse, Adora, and we know he will help this very stubborn headstrong young mare become a prize horse. We wouldn’t trust her to anyone else!

Not only is Dave the true horse whisperer – he is one of the greatest people we know. We feel truly blessed to know both Dave and Laney, and are incredibly grateful that they have been involved with our girls’ lives and their horses.

Thank you for the support, the encouragement, and the wonderful example you have provided to all of us!!!


“I guess I’ll start with this one first”

Joyce Gavigan

I met Dave Minteer three years ago. My four year old mare Sierra was a handful, and when I heard Dave was putting on a clinic for “problem horses,” I decided we needed help. As Sierra and I stood in the line up waiting our turn, she reared up and towered over me. Dave looked over and said, “I guess I’ll start with this one first.” By the time he was done demonstrating with her she was following him around like a lamb.

Two years later Sierra was six and I was sixty. She bucked me off and I was laid up for a few months. In that time she became increasingly arrogant and an even bigger handful. I got back on but dreaded riding her; I had lost my confidence and trust! I had ridden many different horses over the years, but this bold and testy mare intimidated me and she knew it. My friends and family urged me to sell her. They were fearful I would be hurt again, or worse. But my conscience would not allow me to sell her the way she was behaving. Owning or being with this horse was not fun anymore.

I thought of Dave Minteer and the bond Sierra had with him. I called him to see if I could bring her in for training. I wanted a trainer I could trust, who understood horses and who was fair but firm. I told Dave the situation and made him promise to tell me if she was too much horse for me. If that turned out to be the case, I would sell her. Sierra went for training with Dave in February of 2009. She was there for two months, and in that time Dave not only trained my horse but he trained me too. He changed both our lives. After having horses for almost 30 years there was so much about them I never realized. My horse was spoiled and I was letting her be that way. Dave showed me how to get respect on the ground and in the saddle. It wasn’t about man handling her, it was about being the leader. It’s been almost a year since my horse and I trained with Dave. We still take group lessons with him once a month to stay on track. I don’t dread being with my horse anymore and our relationship grows more respectful and stronger every day. Thank you Dave, for your sincere passion to help every horse and every rider you meet!


Experience, knowledge, and a lot of heart

Elaine Polle

I find it hard to write “just a little-bit” about Dave Minteer. Dave is a very kind and PATIENT man, trusting and consistent  with the horses he trains and his students as well. Experience, knowledge, and a lot of heart go into the work that Dave does, along with the concept that we should never stop learning, laughing, and enjoying our horses.

Tenabo and I are proud to be “Minteer Trained,” and have discovered that it’s a good idea to keep an apple pie handy, the gas tank full and an overnight bag by the door, because the dust never has a chance to settle when you’re in the good company of Dave and Laney Minteer.