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"I read it in The Horse Gazette!"
John Lyons "America's Most Trusted Horseman Returns to San Antonio"
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Brave Horse Center proudly hosts John Lyons "America's Most Trusted Horseman!"
I'm not sure when or how I first heard about John Lyons. It was long before Facebook, social media or RFD-TV, that's for sure. Likely word of mouth or a flyer at the feed store. I do know it was back in the latter part of the 1980's and I was hungry for knowledge, even then, and there were very few clinicians or trainers who were out in the public back then.
My first exposure to John's methods and ideas was auditing a three day clinic. And first on the agenda was a round pen demonstration where John took a horse and brought him through his principles of round penning.
There were many other firsts for me during that clinic, first time of hearing about the idea of giving to the bit, pressure and release, approach and retreat, and how to better understand the dynamics of how a horse thinks and reacts. Don't start with your goal. Build a lesson plan. Break it down to its smallest elements. Look for the smallest change and improvement. Understand and grasp the idea of the mini-lesson.
The seeds were planted. These and other principals that I learned from John on that weekend and over the following years by studying his training media have served as the foundation of my approach to horse training.
He spoke of his conditioned response concept, too, but that was something that I could not internalize back then. "Repeat the lesson 500 times", he said. 500 times? Why would I need to repeat it 500 times if the horse "gets" it in 10 or 20 or 30? The thing is, the horse didn't really get it in 30 repetitions. Not really. Sure, I might get the response that I want at my place with no excitement going on. But would I get that same response if the environment wasn't quite so controlled? Sure I would... wouldn't I?
Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way that no, I wasn't always going to get the response that I expected in a "not so controlled" environment, especially if the stakes were higher. This resulted in a severe injury and a long rough journey of fear, doubt and loss of confidence.
Fast forward to this past summer. This summer I had the extreme honor to spend a month with John at his ranch in Parachute, CO. It was here that I finally began to really grasp the idea of conditioned response training. While the relationship that I have with my horse is very important to me, where I want to have a bond, trust, mutual respect and an understanding of what the horse is thinking, John pointed out a very powerful fact to me on day one. "If a horse is running off with you, you don't care what he thinks, how he feels, if he respect or trusts you. Your only thought is whether he is going to stop!"
What is conditioned response? A conditioned response is when we act without even thinking because we have been conditioned to respond in a particular manner. Riding a bicycle, learning to skate or ski, touch typing, balancing, juggling, golfing, throwing, hitting, or catching a ball, driving a car, dancing, or playing a musical instrument are all examples of learned conditioned responses. So the idea is simple. Repeat an exercise often enough that the horse responds to the cue without thinking about it; it becomes automatic. You pick up the right rein and the horse moves his hip to the left; it simply happens.
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John and his wife Jody will be in San Antonio at Brave Horse Center from January 8, 2016 through the weekend of January 23. We have two clinics currently scheduled and John will be available for private lessons on any day except the weekends. Please check out our Facebook page, Brave Horse Center, for details.
Friday evenings, January 8 and January 15 is Dinner with John. John will spend three hours discussing his ideas and concepts and will use his horses to demonstrate as he does. This one evening alone could change your future with your horses.
Our scheduled clinics will focus on obstacles. John will help take you and your horse to the next level in your horsemanship. Whether you perform arena obstacles, or on the trail, John will be able to help. You will gain a new understanding for body control, speed control, responsiveness, softness, stopping, and so much more! We welcome all breeds and disciplines. Come join the fun.
Contact Anne Van Dyke 210 912-7048 or email email@example.com