Get To Know Keith Stewart
Horses have always been a part of Keith Stewarts' life. However, Keith didn't start out wanting to be a cutting horse trainer or clinician! Keith grew up with the dream of being a rodeo cowboy, which he was for 15 years!
Growing up in Banff National Park, and then later Riding Mountain National Park, horses were initially just a way to get around in the backcountry. Keith learned how to ride as a small child, from his father Ed, who was a Park Warden in Alberta, and Manitoba. Growing up it was common for Keith and his two brothers, Mark & Brett, to saddle up early in the morning and head out, not returning ‘till well past sundown.
As they grew older, horse shows and rodeos became a large part of the Stewart brother's summers. Keith's mother Cynthia showed dressage horses, so the boys grew up in and around the show scene, and developed a love for showing horses. During his youth, Keith entered all the rodeo events, besides steer wrestling, finally settling on bronc riding. Riding broncs, he went on to win the Canadian Open Jr. Saddle Bronc Riding Championship at the 1980 Calgary Stampede.
Through high school and Keith's early rodeo days, he would start colts and ride horses for the public. Keith has always had a knack for starting colts, cause hey, If the colts wanted to buck, no problem- he was a bronc rider! Keith’s love for cutting began one winter while healing up from a rodeo injury, he headed down South to spend a winter in Texas working for Hall of Fame cutting horse trainer, Larry Reeder. That time spent in Texas instilled a love for cutting that has never left.
As he got older Keith decided he didn't want to have to make bronc rides anymore and was searching for a better way! This led to a trip to Southern Montana to attend a Buck Brannaman Clinic. A trip that forever changed Keith's life. What he saw and learned at that clinic totally changed his approach to horsemanship. Keith saw Buck accomplish more with his horses in a couple of days than he had been able to in a week.
“What I saw at that first clinic absolutely blew me away. I knew my relationship with my horses would be forever improved, and I was hooked!”. - KS
This led Keith to a lifelong learning relationship with horse training and his equine partners. This journey still carries on to this day. Keith has since travelled thousands of miles to attend Bucks and other clinicians' events.
“My job as a horse trainer is never done, I always have more to learn, so I can bring more value to the horse”. - KS
With the purchase of a two-year-old cutting-bred gelding at the Canadian Supreme sale, Keith trained and won on this horse at local ranch cuttings and cow horse shows. This only whetted his appetite for more! The next cutting prospect purchase was a yearling at the fall Bamber Stock Farm Sale held in Vermilion. Keith went on to win the Reserve Championship for the 2000 Ltd. in both Canada and Alberta while also qualifying for the Open Derby Finals at the Canadian Supreme in Red Deer. This success led to more horses to train and show. In 2016 Keith trained and showed No Rey Jackson to a Canadian Championship in the 5000 Novice Horse class and in 2017 won the Alberta Cutting Horses Association Open Title on Natalee Wood.
At Keith and his wife Denice's home, The Key Ranch, southeast of Longview Alberta, they have hosted clinics of some of the best-known names in the horse world, as well as putting on their own. Drawing from his own experience as well as what he has picked up from his many incredible teachers along the way, Keith has a very well-rounded background in horsemanship. The riding and training of cutting horses have been the main focus of the last ten or so years, however, Keith continues to offer clinics and lessons, teaching everything from horsemanship to cattle work, and ranch roping.
“The phenomenal thing about horses is every day you show up to teach them something new, you will also learn”. - KS
Keith thoroughly enjoys watching riders that he has taught and horses that he has trained succeeding in the cutting horse pen. Being a horse trainer at heart he says he gets his biggest kick out of training and showing horses while sharing his love of cutting with others. Keith's passion for horses is contagious and he enjoys sharing his love for the sport of cutting. Keith mounted many, many kids on cutting horses during his two daughters' Alberta High School Rodeo careers, as he enjoys introducing people to cutting and being an ambassador for the sport.
If you’re looking for something different to do with your horse, you want to improve your skills in and out of the arena, or you’re looking to “up your game”, Keith is here to help you and has an option for every rider. Come out and enjoy a clinic at The Key Ranch, take a riding lesson, or sign up for Cowboy Campus Course #1 and learn the ropes from anywhere!