The birth of Cowboy Dressage has been a lifetime journey. Starting as a dream of a young Shepard boy, tending a flock of sheep and goats in the hills of Jerusalem to the famed and accomplished U.S horseman he is today has been an adventure to say the least. The life of this celebrated horseman reads like a real-life adventure series.
If any thing Eitan’s life has taught him is that he wished to find a better way to train horses. With all the success and failures along the way he found one thing to be the most important, kindness. Kindness combined with patience, respect and understanding was the key to good horsemanship. With-out these key ingredients horse training is just a vocation, not an art and Eitan Beth-Halachmy if anything is an artist.
From these years of thought and experience Cowboy Dressage was born. At first it defined Eitan’s style and the look of his saddle horses. Now it is one of the fastest growing western equestrian disciplines the US and abroad. It is this new and very popular discipline that Eitan gives and leaves the best of himself for others to learn and grow from. He hopes that Cowboy Dressage will create better horseman and happier horses for the future.
A Little Bit of History……
“Lightness” represents the highest achievement between horse and rider. There are no short cuts on the road to its success. It is a pure partnership built on trust and reward. Lightness is accomplished when full use of the riders correct aids have maintained the horse in balance, cadence and carriage. When a horse is taught to “balance himself” and not rely on the rider’s hands to hold him in frame, lightness occurs. For me, lightness represents my own journey in horsemanship. It is what I wish to accomplish with each horse I train. For me, the principles of dressage are the foundation to “Light Hands Horsemanship”. This is true for every breed and every discipline. I am a western horseman by trade but my light hands were built from the school of dressage. Lightness begin with the lead rope. From there to the advanced horse, it is a long, exciting and rewarding journey. The feel of “lightness” is like no other. It, in itself is the reward.” Eitan Beth-Halachmy
Eitan has had a long and rewarding career in the show ring. He has won many world and national titles in the Morgan Show Horse industry. With many western pleasure world wins with his open horses and even more with his junior western pleasure and futurity horses Eitan set a standard in the Western Division for Morgan Horses. His horses are easily recognizable with a very round Baroque look to them. They were beautifully bridled and soft in the hands with self carriage and balanced movement. His horses became his trademark and his “art.”
Although the show ring was Eitan’s launching pad it was not until after he retired from competition that he really began to learn better horsemanship. Instead of focusing on the “win” he now focuses on the “partnership”. With age comes wisdom and experience, there is no substitute and for a horseman like Eitan he had to take that next step, he had to live what he believed to be right.
Eitan has retired from the show ring and public training. He now devotes his time to teaching. He runs a clinic program at his Wolf Creek Ranch during the winter and spring month. When not at home you can find him on the road nation wide and internationally teaching his “Cowboy Dressage.” In the past Eitan and Debbie are key figures in the production and participation at Light Hands Horsemanship held in Santa Ynez each year. Eitan was honored by being asked to bring his “Cowboy Dressage” to the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany by opening the closing ceremony and again in 2010 in Lexington, KY as highlight performances during the opening ceremonies.
Many more career highlights provided upon request.
Eitan Beth-Halachmy (known to his friends simply as “8”) followed his heart and the seeming intervention of mystical destiny not only to multiple world championships, but also to a spiritual cross-species bond with an equine companion appropriately called “Compadre.” Eitan was born in Israel, where a Hungarian Cavalry Officer was to instill in him as a young boy a regard for horses and horsemanship that is still the foundation of this training methods and philosophy.
After attending the University of Vienna in pre-veterinary medicine he came to the United State to peruse his studies at the University of California at Davis. While in Vienna much time was spent observing at the Spanish Riding School. There he watched, listened and absorbed… Once at the University of Davis he had to face the fact that what he really wanted to do was train horses. He began to work toward that goal, and at the same time that he was making in-roads into the American horse industry, he became a successful sculptor. Here he explored the artistic balance between form and function, a balance the philosophical horseman still finds relevant to bringing out the best in a horse. His western horses are easily recognizable because of their self-carriage and elegant style, which he attributes to the use of dressage in his training program. He is still an artist at heart creating harmony, beauty and balance in his horses.
Eitan has won many World and National Titles in the Show Horse Industry. He and his Morgan Stallion, Holiday Compadre have been the World Champion Western Pleasure Horse both in 1993 and 1996. In 2002, 2003 and 2005 Santa Fe Renegade and Eitan were named World Champion Western Pleasure Horse of the year. (Santa Fe is now following in the footsteps of Holiday Compadre and is being trained for Cowboy Dressage.) In addition to his own wins he has trained and instructed many amateurs, jr. exhibitors and numerous clients’ horses to many additional World and National Titles.
Eitan, Holiday Compadre, Galahad’s Golden Warrior, Santa Fe Renegade, and now Cheyenne Gold are now famous for their own brand of horsemanship dubbed “Cowboy Dressage” in which Eitan applies his years of childhood training in classical dressage to western horsemanship. He and Compadre and Santa Fe are best known for their awe-inspiring performances to music. Compadre was retired in June of 2002 and now lives the “good life” in Parker, CO where he has his own band of mares and green pastures. Even a heated stall for the winter months! Eitan continued on with his Cowboy Dressage with his new equine companion Galahad’s Golden Warrior. A stunning and very talented Saddlebred Stallion. Eitan and his current partner, Santa Fe Renegade followed in Compadre’s and Galahad’s hoof prints teaching and performing, delighting crowds across the country. Both are now retired to the good life.
Eitan and his wife Debbie own and operate Wolf Creek Ranch in the beautiful Sierra Foothills in Grass Valley, CA. USA. Now retired from public training they continue to do clinics and education on a limited bases. Here they also produce horsemanship videos that can be purchased through their website.
Eitan does a limited amount of clinics each year at home and throughout the country. He is best known for his humor and sincere love of what he does. He is a wealth of information and knowledge and is known for “telling it like it is.” He is a “horseman’s, horseman…A man who is living his dream.
In July of 2002 Holiday Compadre was officially retired. In Jan of 2003 Eitan was awarded the Barbara Worth Oakford Memorial Trophy by USEF for outstanding Western Horseman of 2002.
In September of 2006 Eitan and Santa Fe Renegade had the great honor of being asked to represent the US in the closing ceremony of the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany. (youtube video link needed)
Eitan and Santa Fe Renegade have been honored once again to represent the US at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY in 2010. Eitan and his beautiful Morgan Stallion will be featured in the spectacular opening ceremonies and the pair will be doing clinics and entertaining at the Equine Village for the duration WEG.
In May of 2007-2012 Eitan was privileged to be one of the select clinicians to participate in the Light Hands Horsemanship Clinic in Santa Ynez, CA. This is a ground-breaking event highlighting a new type of clinic format and presentations for the equine public. It was a huge success. Eitan also has 3 video’s on the market: Cowboy Dressage, Building the Foundation and Cowboy Dressage, Dances With Cows and Cowboy Dressage, Poetry in Motion. His videos have been featured on Horsetv and RFD-TV.
Eitan released a new training manual, Cowboy Dressage, Understanding Horsemanship from the Inside Out
In the fall of 2017 Eitan released his first book, Cowboy Dressage, Riding, Training, and Competing with Kindness as the Goal and Guiding Principle. Co-authored by Jessica Black. Because of the success of his first book a second is to follow In the Spring of 2018. Dressage the Cowboy Way. Co-authored by Jenni Grimmett DVM. Both books published by Trafalgar Square Publishing.
Feature articles on Eitan and Training Articles by Eitan have been published in American Cowboy, Horse and Rider, Western Times, Equus, Ride, Equestrian Connection, Hastfynd, The Morgan Horse, The Morgan Connection, The Pacific Saddlebred, Saddlebred Journal, Trail Rider and the Waddie and USA Equestrian, Cowboys and Indians Magazine, Western Horseman, Yankee Pedler, Dressage Today to name just a few.
In 2007 Eitan had the honor of being featured in Dr. Robert Miller’s new book, Natural Horsemanship Explained, From Heart to Hands.
Visit the Cowboy Dressage Youtube channel for videos and follow along with the visual and musical highlights as Cowboy Dressage is born. The best video is “Then and Now, it tells the whole story in an abbreviated version. CLICK HERE
Debbie has been Eitan’s manager and promoter throughout his career and their marriage. Eitan and Debbie met while showing horses. It was Debbie’s beloved Morgan stallion, Holiday Compadre that when matched with Eitan that set off a ripple effect that is called Cowboy Dressage. She calls herself Eitan’s biggest fan and his toughest critic. The two of them are attached at the hip and have a deep devotion to each other and the horsemanship that they practice, believe in and teach.
Debbie Beth-Halachmy DRESSAGE COWGIRL The woman behind both cowboy dressage and the dressage cowboy. It is said that behind every great man there’s a great woman. Such is the case for horseman Eitan Beth-Halachmy, for behind him stands a woman of equal conviction and dedication to the Morgan horse.
Debbie Beth-Halachmy first met Eitan through a mutual friend at a horse show. It was then she began a journey that is continued today as a determined promoter, marketer and passionate supporter of both her husband and the Morgan breed.
Side by side with her husband, Debbie has worked tirelessly to develop and create “Cowboy Dressage” a division that is becoming increasingly popular at horse shows across the country.
Debbie has been instrumental in the development of Cowboy Dressage, an organization formed to combine and promote the Cowboy and western traditions with classical dressage. Debbie has spearheaded the creation of Light Hands Horsemanship, a collaboration of several nationally ranked clinicians with attendees from all across the United States as well as several other countries.
A breeder, owner, and all-round horse devotee, Debbie Beth- Halachamy has channeled her passion of the Morgan horse with a zest and vigor that cannot be denied. Congratulations on her induction into the AMHA Woman’s Honor Roll.
~ Daryl Hopson
Contact Eitan at : firstname.lastname@example.org 530-346-2715