Dean Briggs

Dean Briggs

Dean Briggs

Performance Training

Creating the Well-Broke Horse

for All Riders, All Events

During his career of more than 40 years, Dean has started and developed horses of all breeds and all temperaments. He’s particularly skilled at training the western performance horse for events such as cutting, barrel racing, roping, and reined cow horse. Briggs, however, does not focus on a particular event. He concentrates on developing coordination and proper form. When the basics are right, Briggs says the horses he trains are prepared for success in any discipline, and they are what every horseman wants--the well-broke horse. “The beginning is more than a start,” Briggs says. “It’s everything because the foundation is always where you return to fix problems. And to get it right, the process just can’t be rushed.

Halloween Horseback

Signing in for Halloween team sorting.

Signing in for Halloween team sorting.

More than 70 teams competed in our team sorting Halloween night at Briggs Arena.  Many rode in costume, like the white night at right.  Photos below give you a glimpse of what some of the riders thought was appropriate attire for tricking the cows into doing what they wanted.  We have had a number of riders ask for more sorting this year. Let us know if you are interested.  Call Wendy -- 406-565-2681.  We'll post here if and when another sorting is scheduled.

Appreciation 2014-9 Appreciation 2014-8 Appreciation 2014-10




Appreciation 2014-7

Thank You for 2014 

Sorry we missed you at our Customer Appreciation Day on Saturday Sept 27. This is one of the most important days of the year for us, it is our chance to talk with you and learn how we are doing. We want to know if we are helping you enjoy your horse. And, we would like to have your thoughts as we plan for 2015.
Our business depends on you, so please don’t hesitate to tell us how we can do more for you next year. E-mail – Dean – 406-490-3670. Wendy – 406-565-2681. Bus. – 406-287-3670.  Hope to see you and your horse soon.

Below is an overview of Appreciation Day at Jefferson Valley Equine Center.

dean demonstration

Dean, riding his 3-year-old stallion, demonstrates forequarter control.

Dean opened the day with a talk that ranged from dental care and bits and to ways to develop greater control over your horse’s body parts to gain increased performance for any horse activity. Some of his advice:

  • If your horse is having trouble doing a particular maneuver, the problem could his teeth. Equine dentistry is as important as hoof care, but is often overlooked. A dental problem, surprisingly, can affect his willingness to collect and stop.
  • If your horse is dropping his shoulder, lope squares not circles.
  • Think of the bit as a means of communication and understand that the curb bit allows us to pull less on a horse’s mouth, not more.
  • It’s been said many times by many horsemen—make the right thing easy and wrong thing difficult. They say it because it is an approach that works.
  • Approach your horse with the idea that you must be firm enough to get his respect, but not so firm that you scare the horse.
  • The answer to dealing with a horse that becomes high on adrenalin is to quit. Put him up for the day and try again tomorrow. This is smart training.

During our lunch break, Rex Davis of Whitehall sang and played guitar for us. Very pleasant to have his sound filling the barn.

After lunch, Gary Greene of Three Forks gave us a look at how horses can help people overcome devastating injuries. His son Wesley suffered a spinal injury in a skiing accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Wesley’s rehabilitation training includes riding a quarter horse mare trained by Dean.

Appreciation 2014-3

Wesley Greene uses horseback riding as part of a rehabilitation program after suffering spinal injury in a skiing accident. With him: brother Trevor leading horse, father Gary, right, and friend Lance Sieler.

Gary explained that a horse’s movement at a walk simulates the human’s walk and helps Wesley regain some use of his limbs. In the beginning, Wesley could not hold himself upright when the horse stopped. He now has regained some use of his arms and can sit upright, as you can see him doing in the attached photo.

Wesley’s brother Trevor showed us how he lays his four-year-old Appaloosa mare down for an easy mount. Dean showed Trevor the technique and Trevor has developed it almost to an art.

Appreciation 2014-2

Trevor Greene demonstrates the easy way to get on a horse.

We closed out the day with some friendly sorting competition in the indoor arena. We had planned to have an Extreme Cowboy race on our new obstacle course but we canceled that because of the rain. The course will be available to you throughout the year, and we invite you to use it and let us know how you like it.

Again thanks everyone for 2014. You are appreciated.

Cowboy Race Course Tests Horsemanship

Shawn rides course (7)

Our Extreme Cowboy Race Course is ready for you to test your horsemanship skills. If you would like to ride the course and get a feel for what it can do for your horsemanship, call: Dean 406-490-3670, Wendy 406-565-2681. Home phone is 406-287-3670. We’ll schedule a convenient time for a visit.

If you aren’t familiar with cowboy racing, it is important for you know that it is anything you want it to be. It isn’t wild and crazy as the name might indicate.

True, it can get western when the pros run the course as fast as they can, which is what Shawn Briggs is doing in the photo above at the water challenge. But that’s their choice. If your choice is a challenge that is slow and deliberate and comfortable, that’s also part of cowboy racing.

Shawn rides course (16)

Shawn at the four-log obstacle

At its core, Extreme Cowboy Racing is about horsemanship. In race competitions, riders are judged first on their horsemanship. The second element of a rider’s score is speed.

You must have good horsemanship skills to go fast, and this basic ingredient of good horsemanship and polish is the main reason Dean decided to offer cowboy racing at Jefferson Valley Equine Center. It fits with his
program of developing the well-broke horse that can be used for any horse activity…dressage to team roping, whatever suits your style.

You can ride the course at your leisure. You can ride in structured race events that are open to youngsters, beginners, seniors, and pros. You can ride at the highest level of competition in sanctioned events and earn points for participation in the annual Extreme Cowboy Race held every year by the Extreme Cowboy Race Association.

Shawn rides course (3)

Shawn eases through the cowboy curtain

We have scheduled a sanctioned race for the first Sunday of August  2015, which will follow a three-day horsemanship clinic by Craig Cameron. Cameron is the originator of Extreme Cowboy Racing. He gave a clinic our at arena on Aug. 1&2. We also plan to hold unsanctioned events throughout the year with prizes and payback money.

Dean will be available for coaching and problem solving tips to help you and your horse master the course.

Shawn rides course (10)

Shawn starting up the log steps

We built our course around a pond in a grove trees on the edge of our pasture. There are 16 basic obstacles. Probably the most challenging part of the course is a sequence that includes stepping down an embankment at the edge of the pond, climbing up an incline with three logs, circling the pond and riding through one edge of it, and then crossing two bridges.

Some of the other obstacles include, four log jumps, a pit, a rope curtain, a log pull, and an “L” shaped alley for a backing challenge. For competitions, we can add a pen for sorting cattle. We will change the obstacles from time to time to provide new and fresh challenges.


A Rare Find







To get the details of this wonderful horse, go to our "horses for sale" page.



What's It's Like Riding at Jefferson Valley Equine Center?

....If you haven't been to the Jefferson Valley Equine Center, you might like to know what others who have the horse gene have to say about the program Wendy and Dean Briggs have developed.

“Regardless of your riding discipline, you’ll be impressed with Jefferson Valley Equine Center. About a year ago when I bought my dressage horse I started riding regularly JVEC. I wasn't sure what to expect riding dressage in a primarily roping/cutting arena. Dean informed me he uses dressage in his training and that if riders used basic dressage, there wouldn't  be so many problem horses. I knew I had found a comfort zone.”

Gina Ossello

“One day while riding with Dean my mare kicked out when I asked for a right lead and sent me over her left shoulder. Dean pointed out my back was stiff, rigid as a board, which made it impossible to absorb the mare’s jarring movement. In a blink, Dean fixed a problem I don’t even know I had. Riding suddenly became easier and more comfortable. Pretty good feeling.”

Allan Byrd

“Our family has used the Briggs Equine Center for seven years. We have had colt starting & training; dental & chiropractic service, plus lessons. We own horses that have been bred and raised by them. They are responsible breeders, not traders. They are honest and professional in their dealings. We recommend them to anyone needing any or all of their services. “

Double Arrow Livestock –Scafani Family