“What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Napoleon Hill Philosophy

Hartley Values & Conviction

Hartley Performance Horses is dedicated to providing the highest quality and honest business, while striving to provide compassionate care for each animal. With consistency, hard work, continued education and focusing on each customer’s goals this can be achieved.

Robert Hartley

chuck_young_01Robert Hartley started his love for horses when he received his first pony for Christmas at five years of age. His name was Dusty and the two of them were best friends. Often Robert would find himself dumped off in cactus and it was then that he realized that he had much to learn about horses and ponies.

At age ten Robert started his show experience as a youth in 4-H and then later began showing on the AQHA Circuit in Wyoming under the guidance of Rodger Petersen. It was during this time that he learned much about horses in general, while studying and competing in the All Around – Showmanship, Halter, Western Pleasure, Western Riding, Hunter Under Saddle, Hunt Seat, and Trail.

It was later when Robert turned sixteen that he sought out Steve Schwartzenberger to learn about Reining and Working Cowhorse. Not only did Robert find out that he had the bug for the cow work, but also the finesse for the Reining maneuvers.

chuck_young_02At nineteen Robert moved to New Jersey to apprentice under NRHA Hall of Famer, Rocky Dare. It was here that he learned what it was like to be an Apprentice and see how a Professional Horse Trainer ran a horse training business. Robert was convinced at this point that horses were what he wanted to do for his career, and for the rest of his life.

Three years later Robert moved to Germany to further his training experience. Living in a different country pushed Robert to improve his people skills, while expanding his talent with the horses. He also spent much time learning German.

After living in Bend and Corvallis, it was his move to Central Point, Oregon in 2000 that gave him the opportunity to work and ride for Frank Orozco. This move gave him a home and chance to ride many talented horses - Busy Indian, Dry Spec A Chex, and Shining Freckle to name just a few. Working for Frank gave Robert the chance to get horses to the winners circle. Also, Frank taught Robert about being a businessman.

chuck_young_03In 2004 Robert leased El Dorado Ranch from Frank and started his own horse training business, Hartley Performance Horses LLC. This was a very exciting and successful time. It was not long after this that Robert and Stacy Jo met and married right there at the Ranch.

Over the next few years Robert had many successes. In 2006 a trip back to the AQHA World Show, making the Finals, and finishing 5th in Senior Reining on Shining Freckle was the highlight.

Robert recognizes that without the special people that came into his life and dedicated their time, he would not be where he is today. It is this spirit that inspires both Robert and Stacy Jo to help and share their time with the younger generation that have love for horses. The times where the cowboy down the street that shared his knowledge and experiences has all but disappeared in the wind.

Without the guidance and support from Bob and Peg Hartley horses would not have been a consideration for Robert. He is very thankful to his parents for allowing him to pursue his love of horses and follow his dreams.


2020 OQHA VRH Open High Point All Around

world_show2019 ASHA Open National High Point All Around

2013 OQHA Year End High Point Performance Champion

2013 Reserve All Around High Point Summer Classic

2013 OQHA Open All Age Senior Reining

2006 AQHA World Show – 5th Senior Reining

2006 OQHA Year End High Point Champion

OQHA Summer Classic Reining Circuit Champion - Multiple Times

OQHA Summer Classic Working Cowhorse Circuit Reserve Champion – Multiple Times

OQHA Year End Reining and Working Cowhorse Awards – Multiple Times

AQHA Honor Roll Reining, Working Cowhorse, and Performance Halter – Multiple Times

All Around Championships – Multiple Times

Robert Hartley & Shining Freckle Take 5th at 2006 AQHA World Show

It was an incredible evening as the Hartley’s celebrated with Shining Freckle at the 2006 AQHA World Show. "Taking 5th in the Senior Reining is undoubtedly the highlight of my career," stated a smiling Robert Hartley.

It was a family experience with Roberts’s parents Bob and Peg Hartley who traveled from Wyoming to hoot and holler for their son. Son Brandon and wife Stacy Jo, pregnant with Hope Rose, were also there to take in this precious moment in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma together as a family.


familyCurrently Robert lives in Harrisburg, Oregon with his wife, Stacy Jo Hartley and daughter Hope Rose (8), where he owns and operates Hartley Performance Horse LLC. Their dogs Boulder, Bootz, and Spurz add much love and laughter to the Hartley family.

It is agreed and taught in the Hartley Family, to be a great horseman, you must love your animals like they are family. The animals should eat and sleep before anyone else eats or sleeps. Their facility in Harrisburg is kept neat, clean, and safe to best suit the animals.

chuckTempered Through Patience

Robert has worked, molded and modified his training techniques for years, and has made many attempts to explain and give a clear vision of what he is creating through his training, lessons, and clinics. His conclusion is a comparison of his training to the similar process of Tempering Steel, hence the phrase “Tempered through patience”.

The medium and constant to produce a finished product for each of these, horse training and tempering steel, is Patience. Horse and rider go through a process of discovery, just like tempering steel and the series of steps you follow to make a finished product.

Comparison of Horse Training to Tempering Steel

Horse Training Steps

  1. Rider chooses what direction, goal, and what they want to achieve.
  2. Choosing the horse and the breeding of the horse.
  3. Evaluation Phase – time is dependent on horse and rider, $, and goal. Will they choose a Yearling, 2 year old, 3 or 4 year old, or possibly an older horse?
  4. Training Phase – customizing a program to produce a finished product, to the best of the horse and riders ability.
  5. Continuing to sharpen skills and achieve goals, while choosing a new goal to reach an even more refined product.


Tempering Steel Steps

  1. Craftsman chooses what direction, goal, and what they want to build. Example: Knife
  2. Choosing the materials. Will it be alloyed, hardened, or mild steel?
  3. Evaluation Phase - Look to see how or if it meets the requirement of the finished product. Evaluate through the process of heating, shaping, and then repeating the steps.
  4. Training phase – shaping and hardening process.
  5. Continue to sharpen, use and refine the product.


The Training Phase is never finished; with a steel knife it must always be sharpened. The process of honing the blade is used to keep it sharp. With horses this is also true. The rider is constantly working to balance the horse, keeping in mind their limitations and attempting to exceed them at all times.

Lack of Patience can go a million different directions. A common mistake Robert sees in his lessons is the rider is in a constant baby sitting or micro managing role while riding their horse.

As an example, many riders attempt to fix their horse by holding their shoulders up through collection. Robert has been heard on multiple occasions explaining that it is impossible for the rider to hold up a 1200 pound animal. Why not let the horse carry his own shoulders?

chuck_03It actually takes patience to not fix your horse in this instance. Often times the shortcut or short term fix is the easier path to take and is human nature to the rider. In the long run the rider is inadvertently reinforcing or creating a bad habit. The Hartley’s refer to this as “the fix it mode”.

When steps are skipped and short cuts are used, the end product will have weak points. In the
case of the horse, the rider continues to chase the problems in fix it mode and will experience a
very difficult and unpleasant ride. With the knife example, the weakness will lead to the blade
breaking and it will not have what it takes, hardness, to hold up.

Training is a complicated process so Robert keeps the steps simplified to reach his finished product:

  1. Between the Reins – horse stands up on its own, literally stays between the reins, not leaning or falling,
    with the neck, withers, and spine – straight.
  2. Between Legs – spine and ribs are straight, directly between legs, and the hip is engaged and driving forward.
  3. In the Bridle – horse will be soft in the jaw and pole area.


chuck_08Robert does not like to use the word collection. Unfortunately this word has too many incorrect meanings and interpretations. If you use the word collect, more times than not the rider will grab the horses mouth and this instigates a tug of war. In the midst of this war the horse will no longer be between the Reins or between the
Riders Legs, resulting in a horse that is not straight or engaged.

A true Blacksmith or Craftsman that makes knives is performing a process that has been the same for 1000 years. The basic concept is the same, while the materials have changed.

Horse Training concept is the same also, same concept as 4000 years ago when horses were domesticated and partnerships were developed between horse and rider. The connection between man and horse makes the other that much better.

What Robert Hartley does is not a gimmick, not a huge secret, it is open and honest and the lesson process is just leading the rider through a discovery process.