Wednesday, June 17, 2009

John Lyons: On Slowing Down

I have attended a lot of John Lyons' clinics and read some of his books over the years, but I must say he was in rare form at the 2009 Western States Horse Expo. On Saturday he put on a presentation called, "Slow Down, You're Scaring Us Both."

He demonstrated how to control the various parts of the horse's body in order to gain control of speed. He tied one balloon to the horse's bridle at the poll, one to the saddle horn to represent the shoulders, and one to the tail so that viewers could watch the movement of the balloons as the horse moved in different directions with different leg and rein cues.

He wanted us to pay special attention to the tail balloon. He joked that since you can't see the tail balloon while sitting in the saddle facing forward, you can always turn yourself around in the saddle and ride the horse backwards to see exactly what is going on back there.

Much to everyone's amusement, he did ride his horse backwards for the majority of the presentation, swearing that neither he nor his horse had done this before. John Lyons jokes around quite a bit, so I wasn't sure whether I should believe him. On the other hand, he did seem to be learning as he went, so it is possible that he pulled this stunt on impulse.

I was so amazed by his determination to teach us that I ended up attending more of his clinics and presentations than that of any other clinician. Stay tuned to find out how John Lyons made me laugh until I cried.


Kate said...

I read John Lyons' Perfect Horse magazine and frequently get good ideas from him - he's very committed to helping people find better ways to work with their horses.

fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like a great clinic

manker said...

ooh.. ooh where do i sign up gazi o fit and fast arabian..... sounds amazing i love john lyons

staying tuned

AareneX said...

I've been a JL fan for many years, and what impresses me most is his ability to "learn in public." He doesn't mind appearing a little bit foolish if it will lead to a learning opportunity for the horse and himself and anybody else who happens to be watching. He has also changed some of his techniques for training horses over the years, and IMHO, the changes are improvements.

Gotta laugh about tying balloons to the horse's head, though. Yah. We could do that to Fiddle if we wanted to practice riding a BUCKING HORSE FRENZY. >g< Clearly, his demo horse is the same kind of sensible creature that old Zip was.

I still wish he'd wear a helmet, though. Sigh.

Paint Girl said...

I love John Lyons, and subscribe to his magazine. He is another clinician I'd love to see someday!
I'd like to tie balloons to my horses just to use as a desensitizing lesson! It would be interesting to see what they would do, I would, of course, get them used to the balloons before tying them onto them!
I have never ridden backwards before, would be interesting.
Can't wait to hear how he made you laugh til you cried! Gotta be a good one! :0

Breathe said...

What a great opportunity. I like what he says about horses seeking peace. I thought of that often when you were talking about your trainer.

Can't wait to hear more!

(I'm a subscriber too. I like the new format, less sale oriented)

Leah Fry said...

I'm with you, AareneX! I don't think either of my horse would be happy at all with those oh-so-festive balloons.

JAN'S PLACE said...

We saw him many years ago at the first horse expo in Sacramento, we flew into Reno, and drove vie Tahoe to the Expo.. kinda made a short vacation out of it, the highlight was seeing amazing man. We went th the church service he preached on Sunday as well, really love his "this is who I am " aspect. Would love to see him again..

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

He sure is a good teacher and showman, too. He probably had that event planned, though. What else was he gonna do with three balloons. hehe!

He rocks!


City girl turned Country Girl said...

OMGosh!! Great post can't wait to hear more!! Love John Lyons!!