Alfred Ragusin, Jr. was born on January 27, 1938 to Alfred Ragusin and Lila Solis Ragusin in a fishing town south of Corpus Christi, Texas called Port O’Connor, Texas. This town is surrounded by water on three sides with a population of under 100 people.
Al, as he was later called, saw his first horse at the age of six. It was early on a moonlit night while sleeping on the floor at the back door of a one room house that he shared with 2 younger sisters and one younger brother. He detected a strange scent, it was a scent that both startled and excited him. It was a black horse that was grazing in the back yard. Port O’Connor had one local ranch which let their livestock loose to roam the town in which there were no fences or paved roads.
Born a fisherman’s son, Al’s early childhood consisted of fishing and hunting to help provide his family of six. He couldn’t wait to tell his Dad about the horse that he had seen and expressed the wish to ride the wind with him. Al did not expect the scolding he received and threats to spank him if he ever came close to any horse. They are evil and they kill people he was told by his father. Still the excitement and that unforgettable odor drove him to look for that horse. He wanted to show his Dad that the horse posed no threat to him. So he caught and brought the horse home with him, which got him the spanking that he was promised and he had to let the horse go. As he cried he asked his Mother, why? The horse was gentle and he knew he could ride him.
His Mother then told him why his father hated horses. When his father’s younger brother that was 11 years old at the time, he tried to rope a horse but could not hold on as the horse was so strong and got away. His brother then decided to tie one end of the rope to his hand and lassoed the horse with the other end of the rope and the horse dragged him over the tiny seaport town while his family was trying to stop the horse. Finally they cornered the horse at the waters edge with the lifeless body of his 11 year old brother still tied to the horse. After the funeral, his Dad hated any horse that he would see. So his Mother cautioned Al to proceed with lots of care knowing that his Dad would never forgive her if he knew she gave him her approval. His mother today, at the age of 86, still remains his number one supporter. His Dad died of cancer at the age of 59. He would never know that his oldest son would go on to a horse career of almost 50 years today.
Al’s career began showing quarter horses in halter, cutting, reining, western pleasure, and racing. He has won over 300 trophies and awards and is a champion charro (Mexican Cowboy), and a rejoneador (Bull Fighter on horseback using Portuguese style, bloodless) method of bullfighting. Al has been featured on CBS, Real TV, and RFD TV, PBS, and FOX, and has developed the style of riding and training that also has been featured in magazines and newspapers. He is an author and has trained horses in nine different disciplines including dressage and owns and trains the only true Dancing Horses in the world. Al has performed at the Rose Bowl and the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, traveled north to Rapid City, South Dakota, east to Orlando, Florida, south into Mexico and many cities in between. His show consists of him singing Country, Rock and Mexican music, sang both in English and Spanish as his horses follow the rhythm of each song right on beat. He continues to travel doing training clinics as well as the Dancing Horse Show.