Clinics – The Key to your Success

Choosing a Clinic

In today’s market, there are a wide variety of clinicians available to the horse community. Choosing which clinic is the right fit for you and your goals can feel overwhelming! Read on for some tips about what makes a good clinician and how to get the most out of your clinic experience.

L1-Horse Training Program clinic

What makes a good clinician?

So often we find that great trainers and showmen are not necessarily great instructors.  We head to a clinic with a well known professional only to find that they are lacking in communication skills. Teaching people and helping them find success is very different than working with the horses solo. Humans and horses communicate in very different ways so it is important to find a clinician that has a proven track record of being able to communicate with the people participating in their clinic. In addition, a good clinician should be able to explain an exercise or correction in a variety of ways so that every participant, regardless of level, can understand the concept and apply it to their horse.

"Josh was amazing at understanding the level of rider I want to be with my horse. I’m not a Reiner, I’m a Ex Dressage Rider, now a National Park Trail Rider! I have many years in the saddle, Josh was able to teach me and my horse how to be a “TEAM” on the trail through his exercise drills. Confidence, Commitment and Clear Communication is what I rode away with and so did my Warmblood!!"

Another factor to consider is versatility. Does this clinic apply to all styles of riding or is it specialized to one specific discipline? We often forget that no matter what game you want to play with your horse, all horses communicate the same way. So, does the horse care if you put a western or an english saddle on them? Not at all! Good riding is good riding, no matter what saddle you are using. Find a clinic that embraces all horses, all levels, all disciplines – this demonstrates the understanding your clinician has about horse training and their capability to modify their instruction to suit your personal goals.

Getting the most out of your clinic experience

The first decision to make when choosing a clinic is – should I participate as a rider or as an auditor? For those unfamiliar, auditing is attending the clinic as a spectator and taking notes to reference when you go home and apply the concepts to your own horses. Auditing is a fantastic, low pressure way to glean amazing information with the backdrop of live riders working through their individual challenges. Often there are riders experiencing your same issues. Auditing allows you to watch the corrections in real time and see the impact it had for both the rider and the horse.

"I audited a three day riding clinic in Naples, FL this past December. I wasn’t sure what to expect but was treated with the same respect shown to the riders in the clinic even though I only paid a very affordable daily fee. Josh was approachable and very knowledgeable. I admired his willingness to describe past mistakes in his training approach over the years and how he learned from them. That is always appreciated because no one is perfect. His opening rider’s meeting was super helpful and I was included in the meeting without feeling out of place. His instructions during the clinic were broken down into basic steps along with the rationale. He gave good feedback to his class and helped with specific problems some were having."

Riding in the clinic adds some additional responsibilities to the experience – hauling, caring for your horse, and working through all that comes with a new environment. For many recreational riders, traveling with your horse may be intimidating. With the right clinician, all of this is totally worth it! A good clinician will take the time to address your specific problem areas and work to build your confidence every step of the way as well as providing a wide variety of take home tools to facilitate your continued success. So how can you be a good participant?

  • Be on time and ready to work every day of the clinic
  • Be realistic about the goals you set for yourself and your horse
  • Ask questions! More importantly, ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer
  • Research your clinician and his methodolgies prior to the event to ensure your priorities align
  • Consider bringing a friend to audit and take notes while you ride so you can focus on the task at hand

"I've never been so wowed by a family, like I am theirs! They go above and beyond just to help someone with their horse. My horse and I were part of the 2016 Hoosier horse fair in Indianapolis and the Lyons helped me so so much, from saddle fitting, to pad help, to showing me many many other things with my mare, including reassuring me and making me stray away from giving up hope!! I am certainly blessed to have personally meet this family!! I will never forget any of the Lyons and I will never forget what they did for me and my horse in the short time of being around them!! Thank you guys again so so much, it's people like you who give others hope and make some realize that there are still good people in this crazy world!!"

Upcoming Josh Lyons Clinics

You can access clinic registration pages from our Event Calendar. Clinic registration pages include specifics for the facility hosting our team. General clinic information can be found on our Clinic Page. Clinics are limited to just 15 riders so hold your spot today!

Lyons Legacy Latest – May 2024 Newsletter

May 2024 Newsletter

May has been jam-packed for our Lyons Legacy team! Our John & Josh Lyons Certification Program is in the midst of their third week of instruction at the beautiful Boon Ranch in Fort Morgan, CO. The progress we have seen in both the horses and the students has been phenomenal! If you’ve ever had a lesson or done a clinic with Josh, just imagine the progress you could make with 4 weeks of intensive training. If you are ready to invest in yourself and your future, consider joining us in August. Both the John & Josh Lyons Certification Program and the Josh Lyons Accreditation Program are still accepting new students!

During our program break Josh also conducted two clinics.  First was the 5-Day Trainers clinic right at Boon Ranch.  Many of our program students participated alongside a wonderful group of clinic riders who traveled from Oregon, Wyoming, and even Wisconsin to join us for the event! Then it was time for Josh to travel to Montana where we were hosted by Gerry Cox at Mountain House Stables in Corvallis. On a scale of 1-10, Gerry gave us a 60 and is on the books to host us again in 2025.

With just one more week until graduation, we are looking forward to some travel in June and July for clinics.  June will take us to Alaska and July includes trips to North Dakota and Michigan. Make sure you get registered if you plan to attend these events!

Train for success - with THE BEST!

Riders of any discipline are encouraged to join us for a transformative experience riding in a clinic – we are not just for western riders. Josh has an extensive background in jumping and dressage allowing him to help everyone progress and succeed! If you can’t join us yourself, please share these opportunities with your local horse friends and communities. 

There are boarding options available for those traveling to attend the clinic – the clinic host can provide details and make reservations for your horse. Our clinic locations are limited so if ND or MI are in your range, join us – you won’t regret it!

Please note the 5-Day Trainers Clinic in Hickory Corners, MI will be 2 days of Liberty Work and 3 days of Riding. Click on any of the pictures above to be taken directly to the clinic info/registration page.  For general clinic information, check out our Clinic Page.

Lyons Legacy Gear is available! The General Store has tons of options. The Graduate Access Store has specialized logo options for program graduates. Reach out to Kristen at 615-379-1056 if you are a graduate and need the password to access the store!

Ready to pursue a career with horses? Learn more about what it’s like to be a student from none other than our current student group! Remember, only our Colorado campus classes are eligible to receive Veterans Education Benefits. Classes are limited to just 10 students – don’t delay, enroll today!

Team Lyons Legacy – Kelly O’Brien

There are many people working in the background to keep the Lyons Legacy wheels rolling.  One of those people is Kelly O’Brien.  She is not only a graduate of our program but also supports our team in the role of Online Training School Specialist.  Her knowledge of the Lyons Conditioned Response Training Method along with her personal experiences serve her well as she answers the online students’ questions as they work through the program. 

Kelly’s love of horses was inspired by her sister Mary-Lee at just 13 years old. This led to working as a Trainer and Instructor at several different well-known barns in NH. Kelly hosted her first Josh Lyons Clinic in 2011 – an experience she describes as “life changing”. The following year, Kelly hosted her second Josh Lyons Clinic recognizing that she had an unwavering awe at the Lyons training system. 

 Determined to start living her best life, Kelly joined the John & Josh Lyons Certification program in April of 2015.  After completing her training, Kelly was welcomed back to work at Lyons Legacy for 3 months. Through the tutelage of Josh and Max Morin, who was working with Josh at the time, Kelly acquired a wealth of knowledge. 2016 would see Kelly present at Equine Affaire in Springfield MA for the first time, and she would go on to travel to many Clinics to ride with and assist Josh at Expos across the Country during 2016 and 2017. She then traveled to Parachute CO to complete the Josh Lyons Accreditation program. Shortly after returning to NH, Kelly moved to TN to work out of the Lyons Legacy barn and develop a new clientele. During this time, she discovered her passion for the sport of reining.

Kelly moved back to NH in early 2018 where she operated Training by Kelly O’Brien at her facility Concord Equestrian Center. Kelly’s focus has been on providing quality training that is easily understandable and put into practice by the owners of the horses she works with. One Kelly’s many strengths is figuring out how her clients think and finding ways of explaining the what and why of the training in ways that they are able to digest. Kelly says “building confidence in people and seeing the physiological change in how they interact with their horse in every aspect is very satisfying to me”. It is her belief that every person and animal want to feel good. How they are feeling on the inside is reflected in how they approach their horse training. Her goal in working with horse and human is that both feel better and using the Lyons’ conditioned response method helps to do that. “It is important to know why you’re giving the cue, what result you’re looking for, it helps to manage the fear and self-doubt we all have”, says Kelly. 

2018 saw Kelly return to Equine Affaire in MA and heading to reining shows in 2019 with her horses, Machos Surprize and Trashy Goldbucks. Kelly is a truly versatile trainer and provides services in Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, Ranch Riding, General Horsemanship, Trailer Loading Clinics, Private Instruction, Show Coaching, Training Assessments and Owner Plans. 

Contact Information:

(603) 731-2624


Certification Class – Student Insights

We are always looking for new ways to share information about our program with our followers!  This past week Josh opened up his zoom meeting to the public to share some feedback from the students about their experience thus far in the Certification Program. This conversation is taken from the transcript of that zoom meeting from May 8, 2024.

Josh:  Alright, great. OK, we’re going to try something different with the zoom meeting. We’re actually up here in Colorado teaching class, so we thought it would be fun to open the meeting to the public. We’re going to let each student talk to you guys, kind of tell you their experience about their first two weeks and their unbroken horses and their emotions and what they’re going through. So what we’re gonna do is pass the iPad around and allow you guys also to ask them any questions you’d like as they share their stories.  

Hi guys. My name is Teresa Speer. I come from Missouri. I came here because I didn’t have training in Colt Starting. I have my degree in equine science and I knew that I enjoyed starting colts having started several of them. My friend Alicia, who’s here with me, she convinced me to come, which didn’t take much. Well, I got here and I’ve had many, many light bulb moments. I didn’t think once to start a colt on the ground with a bridle. I always started them with a halter, and that’s how I did my ground training. Once we started in with the bridle and got them softened up, got them moving off, you know we’ve done numerous things already in two weeks. Our first ride today was just short of amazing, just to see how supple they were, how soft, how easy it was and there was no fight. We did a lot, I mean, a LOT of groundwork. I know I calculated up this last three days 25 miles in the deep sand that we’ve done with the driving and ground work. And let me tell you, Josh has worked us and had us work those horses! It has been amazing just to see the process. There’s been a lot of emotions through everyone. It’s fun to watch everyone’s different horses and how they react and how to fix those horses because your horse may not have the same reaction as everyone else’s. It’s pretty cool seeing the different technique for the different horses and how to fix it and having that opportunity because your horse may be one way, another horse may be totally different. So, it’s been pretty cool to watch that and see those different changes and to watch the progression of everything. How short of time they can come along really is just neat. Does anybody have any questions? 

Zoom Guest:  
What type of bit did you use? 

I started with mine in an O ring snaffle. We all start with the snaffle. 

I’m Liam. I’m from southwest Montana. I am a horse trainer, cowboy, sometimes hand model to pay the bills when cowboying doesn’t work and I work for a nonprofit called Heroes and Horses. If you’re ever looking to donate to veteran organizations, call us, ask about us later and we’ll let you know. Anyway, I brought a totally unbroke Mustang down here that just got out of the Oregon herd last year and it’s been sitting in my back pasture. He lost his mind the first like 2 days and today he was perfect, soft with me riding on top of him. So let’s say the novel or not novel, but the new thing that I’m learning here as opposed to my typical way of doing things is a way of sustained, controlled emotions for the horse. Being able to raise those emotions and then drop them down quickly. Usually, I just blow them up and then jump on them afterwards and I say that’s good enough. The things we’re doing here of sustained manipulation of the horses emotions is definitely paying dividends. I mean that horse, I couldn’t touch it two weeks ago and we were riding it today. So big, big, big improvement, definitely a testament of the efficacy of the program. 

Hey, guys. I’m Alisha. It’s nice to see some of you again. I know I saw some of you guys at some of the clinics last year. I did Accreditation last fall and I took my 10 year old mare. One of the things coming back to Certification class was trying to decide what horses I was going to take with me. So I brought my mare back again that went through Accreditation. It’s been kind of cool to see how all the groundwork and the ground driving, working on a lot of head control from the ground and a lot of stuff that we do in the saddle, but seeing it applied to the broke horses as well has been really helpful. We have 10 students here and each student brought two horses. You could bring a broke and an unbroke or you could bring 2 broke horses. I brought that mare of mine and then my unbroke that I brought is a 2 year old filly. I hadn’t saddled her or anything before we came. She’s been a lot of fun, been learning, really the importance of forward motion in training her. The coolest part has just been being able to see the same methods that are working on that 2 year old unbroke horse working with the other mustang that’s unbroken and Teresa’s three-year old that’s unbroke. Then also seeing it with the season broke horses and watching them get better. So if you guys are thinking about coming and you’re thinking like you might not have the right horses, I promise you do – just bring them and come!

Hey, I’m Paul and I’m from Bayfield, CO. What everybody said is absolutely true. I want to talk about the other benefit of being here – that you get to talk horses with nine other people that do different things with horses than you do, and there’s a whole lot that comes from that. Everybody here is trying to work together and to learn from each other and it’s absolutely amazing. The group that we have, I don’t know if they’re all like this, Josh, but this group is pretty awesome. We all get along. We all respect each other. We all work together. We all help each other. It’s a pretty amazing time. It’s a good facility. The instruction is great! I brought two young, green horses and I am amazed at what my little mare has done since I’ve been here. I’m absolutely dumbfounded and I did it! I don’t know what I’m doing but you know, Josh likes to say do this, do that and next thing I know the horse is doing what I asked him to do. It absolutely works, it definitely works. It’s a good time and I’m looking forward to the next two weeks for sure. You guys got any questions? You guys can ask me anything because, I mean, I’ll tell you! 

Zoom Guest:  
How old is your horse? 

I have one that’s three and one that’s four. 

Zoom Guest:  
OK. And this is the first time that you’re breaking both of them? 

No, they were both green broke, had 30 rides at 30 days on them, and then I let them out to winter pasture, didn’t touch them at all. Didn’t put a saddle on them and brought them here as rough as I could possibly bring them.  

Zoom Guest: 
And now they’re all tacked up and ready to go?  

They’re awesome. I mean, absolutely stellar just the things they can do. Remember, we’re being taught and so it’s not like we didn’t spend the last two weeks just working on our horses. We’re watching, we’re learning, we’re learning techniques and but for the amount of hours that we’ve spent with these guys, it’s absolutely amazing the progress that they’ve made. It’s beyond my wildest dreams, sincerely and I have a little pack string that I run and I’m just amazed at the things I’m going to go home and do with those with what I’ve learned. 

Well, I’m from Michigan and I came to better my horsemanship and to learn how to break a colt. It’s been super fun for sure! We’ve had our struggles, definitely, and it’s so worth it. I highly recommend it. One of my favorite parts is probably just watching the horses grow. It’s so cool that I’m like learning with them. I’ve had so many light bulb moments since I came here! The horses I have, I brought a broke horse and am leasing an unbroke horse. I didn’t even know the unbroke before I came, and I already know her probably as much as I do my broke. It’s really cool to do all the exercises and learn so much with them. I love it so definitely glad I came. Also, at 12 years old, I’m the youngest person that’s ever attended the Lyons Legacy program and it’s really fun because I feel very included with everything. I know everyone’s a lot older than me but I I definitely appreciate that I’m included in everything and I’m learning just as much as they are. The first ride today was really cool, I loved it! 

Hi, I’m Lori Nelson. I’m from North Dakota and I’m just going to talk about Ava a little bit. She’s been amazing and she’s keeping up with all of us, so we’re really proud of what she’s doing. I came just wanting to fill in a lot of holes in my horse training and have learned so much. Josh is an amazing teacher. He answers all of our questions, goes through everything! I’ve had so many light bulb moments with both of my horses I brought too. I think Liam was talking about the emotional control and that was a big light bulb! Like bringing your horse up and then letting them come back down and finding the softness through the the release. Sometimes we have to put a lot of pressure on the horses and that was really huge for me. I have just learned a lot and it’s an amazing group of people. It’s fun to see the work ethic and the professionalism that everybody and Josh has. So I’d highly recommend it if you ever get a chance! 

Hi everyone, my name is Katie. I’m also from North Dakota. I came here with Lori. It’s been like everyone said, the group of people we have is amazing and it’s fun to watch everybody go through the journey. If you feel like you’re kind of in a tough spot when you look around everyone’s there and everyone’s willing to help you out. I’m a therapeutic riding instructor and we’ve been wanting to long line our horses for a long time because there’s a lot better movement and impulsion from the hind end, which is the therapeutic part of horses. So, I’m excited! I know that wasn’t an objective of this course, but it’s an added bonus that we’re going to go home and work on that with all of our horses, and it’s really going to help our humans that we help too. 

My name is James. I’m originally from out west here, but I did a military tour and live in Kentucky now. So, I had the opportunity to be able to come here and learn from Josh and the Lyons Legacy. I’ve known about these guys for many, many, many years and what I’ve been so intrigued by was on the performance side. I’ve grown up around horses but in my profession, I got away from them. I’m really interested in the performance side and being able to develop myself, even though I’m getting a little older in age. This particular program, with the colt starting, Josh has definitely got an answer for every problem, especially with this number of students, there’s always something that arises and he always has a solution through his method, and it’s tried and true! We’ve got a diversified group of folks in experience levels and definitely in horse levels. I brought two not finished horses, but they’re green broke horses. It’s helped them doing going back to the basics and bringing them back up. It’s definitely something you should look into if you get the chance and I feel honored just to be able to work with these guys, Josh, his boy, Troy, and the rest of the Legacy family. 

My name is Justyn. I’m from Syracuse, NY, and I came out here just because I was desperate for an opportunity. I’ve been working in barn management for four years and was just dying to do something to take the next step. I came out here and it’s been like I’m already planning what I want to do when I get back home. I’ve learned so much. I’m so excited! The amount of doors that I feel like are going to be opened for me is just remarkable.  

I’m Chance and I’m from the east Eastern Shore of Maryland. I’ve learned a ton here about stealing rides and kind of making sure there’s no holes. In the training with horses and stuff I’ve learned about reading the horses emotions a lot better and handling my own to correct them. 

Some of the things that are amazing about the class, and every class is different, but everybody always has the same common denominator. They have a love for horses. They have a desire to build a business or take their horsemanship to another level. The greatest thing about that is when a group of people get together with the same common goal. It’s pretty hard not to get along! Everybody asks, is every group like this? No, not necessarily,  every group is special, unique. With a group that’s important because one bad chain can really disrupt the class and we don’t have that in this group. It’s just a great group of people. All are willing to help, everybody’s willing to work and the work ethic is unbelievable. 

Dressage Judging with Margaret Freeman

Office Manager, Kristen Bosgraf, had the pleasure of attending the IEA National Finals at Tryon International Equestrian Center this past week as a scribe for S judge Margaret Freeman. Margaret, of Tryon NC, is a USEF senior dressage judge and former FEI-level competitor with her Friesian-cross mare. She’s a freelance writer/editor for horse magazines and covered the equestrian events at seven Olympics for the Associate Press. She is the former Executive Board secretary of the USDF and is active with youth dressage activities, including Dressage4Kids Inc. and Lendon Gray’s Youth Dressage Festival (NY). She’s an experienced show organizer and was on the founding committees of CDCTA (VA) and Dressage at Devon (PA). 

A scribe is a judge’s assistant, responsible for recording the marks and comments and noting any errors so that the judge can watch the entire test unimpededYou will often see a scribe with the judge at dressage competitions but it’s not limited to just dressage. Scribes are often necessary for all scored or individually judged classes such as reining, english/western riding, trail, showmanship, equitation and horsemanship, and some over fences classes. This allows the judge to focus on the competitor in the ring while sharing their scores and comments for the scribe to record. 

At the IEA National Finals the dressage ring hosted two judges for each class. In addition, both the small square and large square were utilized based on the test ridden.  There are two positions for the judge to sit during a dressage test – either at the letter E or C. When judging from E you are able to see the outline of the horse and rider and assess engagement as well as accuracy at the letter X. When judging from C you have a much better perspective of straightness on both centerline as well as on the long sides of the ring. Often the two judges have similar scores, but since they have different perspectives due to where they are sitting, the scores may differ at times. The two scores are then averaged together to give the final score for that rider.

The format for an IEA competition is a draw system. Riders do not bring their own horses but instead ride horses provided for that particular show. They are allotted a two-minute warm up time with their coach to prepare for their class. This means that the quality of the horse may vary for each competitor, challenging the judge to focus primarily on the rider and the effectiveness of their aids throughout the test. Accuracy becomes essential in determining the winning ride. 

One of the most frequent comments across the board related to circlesCircle size and location to be ridden are determined by the test being performedMost commonly we saw circles at the ends of the ring at C and A as well as in the center of the ring at E and B. The most common mistake noted was circles were not round and had drifted too large for the specification of the test. These little details often determine who scores well and who does not. Riding an accurate circle requires the rider to utilize their full corridor of aids to keep the horse in front of the rider’s leg, balanced and organized in the movement. 

Overall, the classes were quite competitive and the riders who nailed the small details came away with winning scores.  Upon their class’s completion, each rider receives a copy of the test with the scores and comments from each movement and additional comments shared from the judge to evaluate what can be done better. In this way, competing in a scored class such as a dressage test can also be a learning experience for the competitor. Outside perspective is a valuable tool in the learning process, especially when the feedback is coming from such a seasoned judge like Margaret.

Lyons Legacy Latest – April 2024 Newsletter

April 2024 Newsletter

Josh, Jana and family had the pleasure of spending all of April at home in AZ!  This was a welcomed break before the craziness of our 2024 clinic schedule kicks into full gear. Next week Josh starts into the Certification Program class in Fort Morgan, CO at the lovely Boon Ranch.  We have 10 students participating and with a group that size we have enlisted the help of Troy Chappell to assist with the class.  We are so excited to welcome this group to the Lyons Legacy family of trainers! 

Starting Wednesday, April 24, 2024, our office will have limited availability during the day to answer calls and emails.  Kristen, our Office Manager, will be attending the IEA National Finals in Tryon, NC as a dressage scribe.  Please feel free to leave a message if you are in need of assistance and she will be sure to attend to messages and emails after show hours.

If you missed the April viewing of the fair, don’t worry! Another opportunity to participate in the Art of the Horseman Online fair is coming up on July 29th and 30th. Over 130 presentations on demand including our own Josh Lyons and the opportunity to purchase lifetime membership for just $197.00. Click the picture to get your free tickets today!

If you are hoping to ride with Josh in 2024, there are several opportunities!  All clinics on this list have space for riders except the November 18-22 clinic in ND. To hold your place in a clinic, you submit your deposit and can pay the balance anytime prior to the start of that clinic.  The amount of knowledge you will gain over the course of a Josh Lyons clinic is unbelievable!  And remember, all horses, all disciplines, all riders are welcome.  If you can’t ride – come audit and take home a wealth of information to apply to your own horses!

Fort Morgan Certification Program Horse Training School
Fort Morgan CO Horse Training School

There is no time like the present to invest in yourself!  Earn your certificate as a Lyons Legacy trainer in 2024 and start pursuing your dreams as a professional in the horse industry. Our Colorado Campus is equipped with both indoor and outdoor arenas, heated barn with automatic waterers, paddocks and pastures, and even hookups for our classes to stay right on site with their horses.  We are still taking applications for these upcoming classes:

Remember, only our Colorado campus classes are eligible to receive Veterans Education Benefits. Classes are limited to just 10 students – don’t delay, enroll today!

Horse Trainer Highlight

R3 Performance Horses - Ridge Romine

R3 Performance Horses, owned by Ridge and Miranda Romine, offers weekly and monthly training programs, mini clinics, as well as standing On a Moonshine High, aka “Moonshine”, at stud on their farm.  Located in Athens, TN this beautiful facility includes a 10-stall barn, covered arena, and outdoor arena available for clients to use as well as a tack holding room, and wash area. Ridge completed the Josh Lyons Accreditation Program in 2023 leaving Colorado riding, thinking, and teaching at a completely different level which accelerated the success of R3. Meeting back in 2013, Ridge and Miranda established clear goals for what they wanted in their life. With college, military, job placements, and more, they knew moving to Athens, TN offered the balance of family values and lifestyle opportunities they wanted. They welcomed their son, Ryker, to the world in 2019, and their daughter, Royce, in 2023. Together they vowed to cherish time, continually improve each other, and show their children the foundation of a team and partnership.

Upon returning home from deployment with the United States Coast Guard, Ridge shifted his career path, focusing on being the best all-around horseman he can be. In order to continue his education and provide higher quality finish horses after colt starting, Ridge chose the Lyons Legacy program. As Ridge says, “when I attended a 3 day clinic back in 2016, I learned a ton in those 3 short days. I couldn’t get over how much I learned in such a short period of time that it drove me to pursue the Accreditation. The way Josh teaches makes new exercises a lot easier to understand. His analogies when explaining make the concepts stick in your head in a way that really helps me learn.” Here he found where his true passion lies with horses – being able to establish a concrete foundation for a horse and rider so they have the best tools and confidence to navigate through all situations.

“My main thing was to be able to work for myself,” Ridge says. “At the end of the day, I want to be able to work and spend time with my family. The market of training horses has gaps in integrity, communication, and accountability. If I can accomplish client goals and mend the lack of trust in the horse community, then that is what I consider success. Any day on the back of a horse is better than a day working for somebody else. ” After finishing the accreditation, Ridge gained the confidence to start his own business using the tools Josh gave him to answer the questions many people ask.

The Future of R3 Performance Horses

Ridge continues to seek additional learning opportunities to further develop his skills and services. “I would really like to become the best overall horseman I can be. I want to be able to gain enough knowledge and perspective to provide services over multiple disciplines instead of falling into one unique niche. Continuing to learn is a huge goal for my future. The day I say “I know everything about horses” is the day I am wrong. Whenever I get the chance to pick Josh’s brain, I am trying to gain more and more knowledge. I’m grateful Josh is willing to chat, teach, and even mentor when it comes to new, old, and future opportunities.”

Together with his family, R3 Performance horses continues to grow and add new services to their clientele. You can reach the R3 team at: 


Phone: (423) 333 – 8782
Email: ridge@r3performancehorses.com


Phone: (423) 333 – 8782
Email: miranda@r3performancehorses.com

Student Stories – April 2024 Certification Class

We are so excited for the upcoming John & Josh Lyons Certification class at Boon Ranch starting April 29, 2024! Our group is full and it is a very diverse class.  Take a minute to meet our new crop of students, learn about their history, favorite horses and future goals. We are proud to welcome this group to the Lyons Legacy Family!

Teresa Speer

I am currently a part time horse trainer and want to be able to launch my horse training career into full time. I currently race with the BBR and was going to go to the World Finals, however I was afforded the wonderful opportunity of coming to the Certification class! I currently have my degree in Equine Science in Training, however, I chose Lyons Legacy to further my career in training for several reasons. The school I attended did not teach us how to start a colt and even though I have been successful, I want to learn how to be more efficient. I believe foundation and horsemanship are the fundamentals of creating a great horse. My friend Alisha Anderson went to the Accreditation class and told me how fantastic the school was. Trusting my friend having first hand experience, I wanted to experience it for myself. And last but not least who is my favorite horse? Well that is a difficult question. I have several that I love: Bee, my finished barrel horse, is one in a million. She is blind in one eye, but yet she gets the job done with ease. You can throw a kid or inexperienced person on her and she goes down to their level, it’s an amazing sight to witness. Then there is Athena, who is my up and coming barrel horse. This horse is flat outright amazing when it comes to athleticism. I started her in December on the barrel and pole pattern and she has already won $1000 with limited races. She has surpassed Bee in speed and she is still just on cruise control! Then there is Moonshine, who I am bringing to the program. This horse is 3 and acts as if she is 15; after 30 days of training I was able to shoot a gun off her back! So with that being said that is a loaded question on who is my favorite horse, because quite frankly I love most horses!

Alisha Anderson

Hey! My future plans are to sell horses that I’ve trained through my program that are consistent, reliable, and enjoyable rope horses. I chose Lyons Legacy again because the Accreditation program was amazing! In the last 6 months, I’ve been able to use the methods I learned with Josh to better riders of all backgrounds. His methods are efficient and they work. I have been providing private lessons and plan to continue offering private lessons and clinics in the future.
My favorite horse is by far SoCo. Yes, she’s named after Southern Comfort! I got her as a halter broke 2 yr old and she’s been through so much with me while I’ve learned along the way. She’s my travel companion and my test dummy for every crazy idea of mine. I’m excited to attend Certification this year and I can’t wait to meet you all!

Chance Sexton

Hello! I have a western background, but I work with a couple of horses of different disciplines at my current job and really enjoy it. I plan to eventually be able to sell reliable and trustworthy trail and pleasure horses. I chose Lyons legacy to learn more methods that can be applied to many disciplines and have enjoyable trail horses regardless of background. Pic of my favorite, my boss’s Tennessee walking horse Scooter and I.

Justyn La Manna

My future plans for my horse career are to be able to support myself through horsemanship, while helping “problem horses” and getting young horses started out on the right foot. I chose Lyons Legacy because I have always felt behind in my horsemanship journey and felt as though having time to focus solely on horses with a talented mentor is just what I need. Lastly my favorite horse is a gelding named Duncan that I have lessoned on for a couple of years and have been taking care of at my current job helping to manage a lesson facility.

Liam Burnside

I chose Lyons Legacy for my training because I previously studied under one of John Lyon’s students from back in the day and he spoke very highly of John and Josh. I hope that this program equips me with the tools to create my own successful business.
I work part time as a horse trainer now and volunteer often with a non-profit for veterans doing equine therapy (among other things). My plan for my future is to be able to support myself full time with horse training and eventually to start my own non-profit to support veterans through horsemanship. My favorite horse right now that I’m working with is a nervous nelly named Noah. He’s my friend’s horse and a big ball of nerves, but he’s such a smart and emotive horse once you can get his head.

Ava Scovel

I know I want to do something with horses, and I think I might like to be a trainer and a clinician because I like teaching people and horses. I’m hoping this course will help me decide what I’m going to do in the horse industry. I had a great experience riding in a Josh Lyons clinic last summer, and Josh’s methods were really effective on my horse. He really helped me understand why we were using the techniques he was teaching. Josh made training a horse seem like a piece of cake! Chloe is my favorite horse! She is a 21 year old buckskin Foundation Quarter Horse. I can count on Chloe to take care of me in the arena, in the show pen, or on the trails. She’s patient with me while I learn new things, but she constantly challenges me to be a better rider.

Katie Oakland

Hi everyone! I am lucky enough to be involved with horses in various aspects of my life ❤️. I grew up showing horses, however we have switched over to the rodeo world following our kiddos and their dreams. My family (husband & 3 kiddos) and I house a therapeutic riding and Equine Assisted Services center on our farm. I am a certified therapeutic riding instructor for TR 4 Heart and Soul. I also teach Equine Studies courses at the Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College. My future plans are to help build solid performance horses with my family, and encourage the highest level of horsemanship possible for our Equine Assisted Services participants and our Equine Studies students. After riding with Josh at a clinic, it was clear that the Lyons program encompasses the highest level of values and horsemanship, and it will benefit our programs to become a mentor and incorporate the principles of Lyons Legacy into our programming. My favorite horse… such a tough question… I would have to say Eva.

James Stephens


I grew up on a cattle ranch in which we used horses as a tool on the ranch. I had an opportunity to join the military which changed my path for a 31 year career but all circles return to where I started. My wife and I own Southern Cross Ranch and have a small herd of horses we breed and train. Our family have always had horses and now I have the means and time to develop the knowledge I feel that true horsemanship requires.  Josh Lyons  and Lyons Legacy are renowned in this area so I hoped to be able to develop this knowledge through participation in their program. My favorite horse is the horse in my picture – a buckskin named Vaquero.

Lori Nelson

NHSC Equine Studies and Ag-tivities

I currently teach equine courses (Equine Nutrition, Equine Care & Management) at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, a tribal college in North Dakota. Our coursework also includes Equine Assisted Services, in which we integrate trauma-informed principles along with culture and relational horsemanship. I have shown horses in my younger days but now focus on barrel racing at rodeos and ranching with my husband. I would like to improve my horsemanship and training skills to improve my own training/performance program and to better prepare students for the real-world and integrate higher level horsemanship into our program. I have chosen Lyons Legacy because Josh is an amazing teacher and we value him for his strong faith and ethical principles. Not only is he talented at teaching advanced skills, he is able to break down things down and explain in simple steps. He does a fantastic job at balancing communication and relationship with horses with practical coaching/teaching lessons to our horses with high level results. My favorite horse is my current horse that I compete on, Fame. 

Paul Wilcock

Hazel Croft Farm

My future plans for my horse career are to train my own horses, maybe I will rescue and train a mustang or two. I want to be a resource for my local equine community. I think it all depends on how much I enjoy training horses! Possibly offer some training of other’s horses as well. I chose Lyons Legacy because honestly, it was the first one I saw that accepted the GI Bill. Then I asked around to some of my horse mentor people and they all said John Lyons has been recognized as a great horse trainer for many years. Although only a few people knew of Josh, they all said it was a great opportunity for some great experience. So I watched a bunch of YouTube videos of Josh, called the school and got enrolled! My favorite horse…. he recently had to be put down. His name was Two-Bit, he was a 12 yo grade horse that didn’t love people but was a stellar horse. He and I had an amazing bond. So, now, I would say Hunter, my coming 4 yo AQHA gelding. He has a great mind and wants to learn which makes him pretty easy to train.  

Earn Your Lyons Legacy Certificate

2024 classes at our Colorado campus are still available and accepting registration! The John & Josh Lyons Certification Program dates are August 5th – September 13th – this program focuses on starting horses under saddle. The Josh Lyons Accreditation Program dates are August 19th – September 27th – this program focuses on finishing work and higher level performance concepts. Register Now and start living your dream!

Zoom Meeting Thoughts

As part of the Lyons Legacy Online Training Program, Josh conducts twice monthly zoom meetings.  These meetings are topic based, giving Josh opportunity to share knowledge about a variety of topics before jumping into the question and answer phase of the meeting. In our most recent meeting, there was great conversation about how horses learn and different types of bits.  

Tips to Raise Performance in your Horse

You don’t know how long it’s gonna take that horse to learn. Some horses it just takse a while and some go really fast. If we treat them all the same, we are going to make them all go slow. We have a time limit in our heads saying this is how long it should take and that will hold us back. One of the things I’ve learned about riding, and this comes from my good friend Al Dunning, he said “Josh, ride finished. Every time you climb on a horse, it’s finished, it’s perfect. You ride it like that. When it makes a mistake, correct it, but then go back to being perfect. Expect it to be perfect.” That has changed my training so much to where everything is just so much faster. Some horses take two corrections, and that’s it. Some horses take hundreds of corrections. But if I treat that horse that takes two like the horse that takes hundreds, it’s gonna take me forever to get done and I cause so much aggravation in that horse. What I’ve learned, and what everyone has learned and is taught, is horses take repetition. To train a horse it’s repetition, lots of repetition. But the problem with repetition is, repetition without change causes aggravation. But if I change it a little bit, asking for more softness or a little quicker through the rib cage, I’m still working on the same general concept but I’m not looking for the same exact answer. That same exact answer causes aggravation. We keep doing it because we’ve learned repetition, repetition, repetition, but the problem with repetition is, if you don’t have that change we start building in aggravation. One of the key recipes to raising a horses performance is how far, how fast, how little. Which means, once they understand any maneuver, I’m going to work on further and I’m only going to do it for five minutes to improve further. The next five minutes I’m gonna improve faster, so whatever speed he was going he’s gotta go a little bit quicker. That doesn’t mean 30 miles an hour. It just means 1 mile an hour difference, a little bit quicker. And then the the hardest, hardest part is less – which means the horse has to keep the same distance, with the same speed, off of less pressure. The problem is  when we drop that rein or we ask less with that rein our expectations go with it. If you pick up your horse and you rip your horse to back up what do you expect? You expect him to back up quick. But when you pick your hand up 2 inches, how do you expect him the back up? We’re hoping he crawls back because we don’t keep the same expectations off less rein. What’s hard is we have to learn how to keep our expectations high with less pressure, same distance, same speed, off of less pressure. Once I go through all three steps I follow back and I do it again.

More About Bits

What makes ice cream so good? What makes it so good is I don’t have it every night, it gets to be the same. There are five different styles of bits. You’ve got your gag bits to your snaffles to your snaffle shanks to your corrections to your straight bar bits. Straight bar bits can take bend out, corrections can put bend in, the snaffle shank is like having two bits in one – you get to ride it like a snaffle and get introduced chin flexion, then you got your gag bits.  With gag bits, we can work on the poll pressure and take any anxiety away from the bit. But the problem with any one of those is, to me, it’s the same as ice cream. You eat that thing every day you’re gonna get to where you don’t like ice cream. My horses have to switch bits and they switch all the time. What happens is, if I put that horse in the correction bit because he’s a little stiff in his mouth or stiff to one side over the other, I’ll work that correction bit and it’ll create a lot of bend in them for me. But then the problem is, it starts to create too much bend so now I have another problem to deal with. So then I don’t wanna take that bit out, I keep that bit in and I’m trying to straighten the horse up with it, which makes it hard. It doesn’t make it impossible, makes it hard. Or I can switch to a straight bar bit and straighten them up. So my bits are tool, it’s just a tool. So the question is, what is your horse doing? With whatever bit you have in, is he bending too much? Is he not yielding to the bit? Is he taking the bit and trying to leave with it? If you pick up too much pressure, is he panicking, throwing his head up and lunging from it? So we gotta find out what he is doing and then we can address what I would use to help fix that problem.

You know, the greatest thing about bits is they’re tools. They’re great tools, but they don’t train a horse. If it did, you would go to the tack store and buy the ones that said stop bucking and stop rearing and 10 foot slide here and 30 foot slide there but they don’t. They’re great tools to use and the more tools in the toolbox I have then the easier the job becomes. What I’ve learned is everybody was always taught that their hands aren’t good enough to go to a shank. I can tell you this, you put that person in the snaffle bit, they’re comfortable and they pull and jerk and pull cause they’re comfortable with that bit. Put that person with heavy hands in a shank. They will grab that one time and they will not touch it again and they figure out real quick I better get a little softer. The snaffle bit is the only bit that you really ever need. I can train everything in the snaffle bit. I can try to do everything I need in that snaffle bit but it’s also not the only bit I want. There are other bits that do other tools or other things that I like and things I can use like going to the split reins and tracking one-handed, and being able to narrow that road up and teach that horse to stay between those reins. It’s a cool thing you know, but absolutely the bit is not severe, it’s how you use it. If we start figuring out what I don’t wanna do is touch the horse, I want that bit to stay in the center, I don’t wanna touch them. My goal is not to touch that horse. The only time I touch him is when he makes a mistake and he’s telling me how much pressure I need to put on this horse. We think that we decide the pressure, we don’t decide the pressure, that horse decides the pressure. That horse says it takes this amount of pressure to make me do this. We don’t decide, that horse decides. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t put any pressure on them, I wouldn’t touch them. But it’s not my choice, it’s that horses choice. The nice thing about horses is the better trained they get and the more they learn. the less I have to ever touch this horse. When I’m showing reining horses, the idea is 80% of the time this horse drives, I don’t touch them. I don’t ever have to touch that horse for 80% of that ride. I want him to drive, not me, and that’s when I’m ready to show this horse. Bits are tools, they’re just a tool, same as a saddle. It’s the same as using dressage whips, or spurs, or or the end of a rope or a bat. They use all kind of different things you know, and they think that one is severe and one is not. It’s how you use it, it’s a communication tool and that’s all. The most important thing is that when you go to bed at night you gotta feel good about what you did. There’s times I’ve gone to bed and I don’t feel good. There’s times I gotta go back the next day and I brush that horse a little longer and give him a little more treats. It’s just part of it, that’s training. My whole goal is every time I go to bed, I gotta feel good about what I did and how I got there, there’s a lot of ways to get there. You know the idea is that we keep getting better – as long as we’re making progress, as long as you can see progress, then you won’t lose your temper. It’s when you can’t find progress, when that fear sets in that I’m not gonna be able to get this done, when you can’t see that progress then all of a sudden your emotions take over, you lose control, you lose your temper, and you start doing things that you know you shouldn’t be doing.

Lyons Legacy Latest – March 2024 Newsletter

March 2024

March feels like it is whipping by and spring is upon us! It has also proven to be a busy month for Josh, starting with two days of private sessions with an amazing group of ladies from North Dakota. We had a great time with Megan, Deb, and Alicia and look forward to seeing them again when we head their way in November!

A few days later, Josh hit the mid west for two 5-Day clinics with a couple days of private sessions in between.  First stop, the lovely WKU L.D. Brown Ag & Expo Center in Bowling Green, KY.  We saw familiar faces from past KY clinics, some Lyons Legacy graduates, and a great group of first time Lyons clinic riders. We even had the Amateur Champion of the 2020 Appalachian Trainer Face Off hosted by the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue join us for a few days! One of our riders, Natalie, put it best when she said ” the best part was our group of riders, your attitudes were all amazing, everyone was friendly with smiles.”

Then it was off to Reflections Equestrian Center for two days of private sessions leading up to another 5-Day Clinic.  Josh was able to help a young, unstarted stallion get going under saddle – a fun way to spend the afternoon! The clinic group includes many past attendees and of course some graduates came through to say hi and lend a hand. Everyone at Reflections makes our team feel like they are right at home. Thank you to both WKU and Reflections for your hospitality and sharing your beautiful facilities for our events!          

Easter Sunday Prayer

Oh Lord, You loved this world so much that you gave your one and only Son, that we might be called your children too. Lord, help us to live in the gladness and grace of Easter Sunday every day. Let us have hearts of thankfulness for your sacrifice. Let us have eyes that look upon Your grace and rejoice in our salvation. Please help us to walk in that mighty grace and tell your good news to the world. All for Your glory do we pray, Lord, Amen.

Still accepting riders and auditors for the April clinics in Arizona! Click the picture to register, auditors can sign up by clicking here.

Ready to pursue a career with horses?  Join us in 2024 to earn your certification!  We are still taking applications for these upcoming classes:

Remember, only our Colorado campus classes are eligible to receive Veterans Education Benefits. Classes are limited to just 10 students – don’t delay, enroll today!

Road To The Horse 2024

In 2003, a small crowd gathered at the Cowtown Coliseum in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards to watch Clinton Anderson, Curt Pate and Josh Lyons compete in the El Camino del Caballo Challenge. From these modest and humble beginnings, Road to the Horse has developed into a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring fans from around the world to develop a deeper understanding of the horse.

Road to the Horse 2024 will be streamed, free of charge via PBR RidePass on Pluto TV. All Road to the Horse 2024 Clinics, Wild Card Rounds and Championship Competition Rounds will be aired on March 21-24, 2024. Click the picture to watch!

Lyons Legacy Competitors

Ken McNabb, a Lyons Legacy Certified trainer, will be representing the USA in 2024! Ken is known for creating a unique environment where each horse is trained using gentle methods and the rider is coached to become their best. Ken often tells folks to “Dream Like a Kid and Ride Like a Cowboy.” Ken’s faith in Christ, along with his commitment to strong family values and patriotism, help make him the kind of speaker people truly enjoy and connect with.

Lindsay Patterson will be competing in the Wildcard division with none other than Brandi Lyons as her Pen Wrangler! With over a decade riding and training for her successful business, Beyond The Bit, Lindsey has seen and done it all. Her training career began when she met her mentor and friend Brandi Lyons. Having completed both of Brandi’s intensive trainer certification programs, and subsequently working for Brandi as an assistant trainer, she has traveled across the country, engaging in horsemanship clinics, expositions and demonstrations.

For more information about the 2024 Road to the Horse competition and all the competitors, visit https://roadtothehorse.com/

Lyons Legacy Latest – February 2024 Newsletter

February has been a quiet month for Josh and the team – a welcome break before the spring/summer clinic madness begins! We are pleased to announce our latest class of Lyons Legacy graduates: Lori Ricigliano, Amy Parsley, and Jason Siebels! They completed their program February 2 and are already moving on to their next adventures. Lori will be competing in the 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover Challenge in Lexington, KY this coming October. Amy will be competing in the 2024 Appalachian Trainer Faceoff in Winfield, WV this coming August. Jason is launching his own business, Running JS Training, offering training and exercising services in the AZ area. Make sure you support not only these new graduates but our whole team of Lyons Legacy Trainers!

For all our online school participants, our next zoom meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 28th at 7:00pm Arizona time. If you haven’t heard – online school students have the opportunity to connect with Josh twice each month in the form of a zoom meeting to learn about a variety of topics and get feedback from Josh about not only the topic at hand but any other issues you have been experiencing with your training. The Lyons Legacy Online Training Program is a great option for those who cannot travel to in person events, as a supplement to your clinic experiences, and even as preparation for your participation in either a clinic or program.

Train for success – with THE BEST!

The benefits of attending a clinic – either as a rider or auditor – far outweigh the financial investment! Each clinic is unique to the goals of the riders participating. That means every clinic is a new experience, even if you have ridden with Josh before! All types of horses and riding disciplines are welcomed and encouraged to participate. Come ride with us!

Private Instruction Opportunity In April

Our calendar has opened up for additional private instruction time in the month of April. Lessons will be available in the Scottsdale, AZ area – come to us or if you are local, we can come to you! Half-day sessions (10am – 2pm) are $600 and can include two riders for that cost. Let’s get you ready for show season! Call Kristen to check availability, get questions answered, or to schedule at 615-379-1056.

Ready to pursue a career with horses? Join us in 2024 to earn your certification! We are still taking applications for these upcoming classes:

John & Josh Lyons Certification Program – April 29, 2024 – June 7, 2024

John & Josh Lyons Certification Program – Aug. 5, 2024 – Sept. 13, 2024

Josh Lyons Accreditation Program – Aug. 19, 2024 – Sept. 27, 2024

Remember, only our Colorado campus classes are eligible to receive Veterans Education Benefits. Classes are limited to just 10 students – don’t delay, enroll today!

Thoroughbred Makeover 2024

Lori Ricigliano, of Ricigliano Farms, graduated from the L2-Intermediate Professional Horseman Program February 2, 2024, joining the ranks of Lyons Legacy Trainers. Lori  is very active in the horse industry.  She has held her Judges License as a  USEF / AHA – “R” rated Arabian Horse Judge for over 25 years. She is also a published author and clinician for horsemanship and horse training as well as host of the syndicated equine radio talk show Hoof Beats with Lori.

One of her next adventures is to participate in the 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover held October 9-12 in Lexington, KY. Lori and her mare Kitty will be one of over 400 competitors hoping to win the $10,000 cash prize! The whole Lyons Legacy Team will be rooting for Lori and Kitty.  Show them how to #ridelikealyons!

The Thoroughbred Makeover is the largest Thoroughbred retraining competition in the world for recently-retired ex-racehorses. The Retired Racehorse Project, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, created the Thoroughbred Makeover to showcase the trainability and talent of off-track Thoroughbreds. The competition is intended to inspire good trainers to become involved in transitioning these horses to second careers, and the National Symposium serves to educate the people involved in the care, training, and sale of these horses to responsible owners.

Ten competitive disciplines are offered at the Makeover: Barrel Racing, Competitive Trail, Dressage, Eventing, Field Hunter, Polo, Ranch Work, Show Hunter, Show Jumper, and Freestyle (a free-form division to demonstrate skills of the trainer’s choice). A horse may be entered in up to two disciplines.

Preliminary rounds take place on Wednesday and Thursday. Each competitor receives a preliminary round score and placing, and the top five in each discipline advance to the Finale, which takes place on Saturday in the Covered Arena and is broadcast via livestream. The Finale is a separate championship event and competitors are placed by Finale scores.

Each discipline competes separately in Finale, and each has their own final test to determine the Makeover Champion in that discipline. Judges from all disciplines then rank the ten Makeover Discipline Champions, and the Thoroughbred Makeover Champion is named (and earns a $10,000 check!).

The competition will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY on October 9-12, 2024.

Horse Trainer Highlight

April returned to her hometown of Tyler, TX after retiring from the Marine Corps, in May of 2021. She joined the Marine Corps at 17 years old and served our country for over 24 years in the aviation field, recruiting & career planning. Her husband is also a retired Marine, and their son currently serves in the Marine Corps. Hoorah! She has worked with Veteran nonprofits, serving as a board member and officer throughout the years. After retirement, she began looking for a Veteran horse program in East Texas and was one of the first Veteran riders at Starbrite Therapeutic Equestrian Center! This led April to seek continuing education as she felt a calling to help other veterans heal and follow their passion with horses.  Through her research she found the Lyons Legacy Equestrian Academy program.

April, chose to attend our John & Josh Lyons Certification program in August of 2022 and joined the ranks of Lyons Legacy Trainers on September 23, 2022. After graduation, she returned home to move forward with her equine career. Many Veterans have invisible “soul” wounds, and she believes horses are God’s vessel for healing. As a lifelong equestrian, April’s passion for horses paired with her love for Jesus and our Veterans, led her to serve on staff at Starbrite. The additional skills she gained from her experience in the Lyons Legacy program, paired with her previous experience at Starbrite and with horses in general, made her the perfect choice to take on the role of Program & Site Director at Starbrite Therapeutic Equestrian Center.  Her next adventure is completing her PATH certification to be able to better serve her clientele and fulfill her role at Starbrite.

April has owned horses since the age of 18 with the exception of while deployed to Iraq in 2005. In April’s words, “horse ownership while on active duty is not for the faint of heart.  Moving often required hauling cross country, new stables, farrier, vet and hay supply with little time to ride.  However, the reward of meeting new horse people, having a constant happy place always outweighed the hardship.  My horses and time with them were when I was not a wife, mom, Marine, family member, friend, but just myself.  It was and is my therapy. Through prayer and souls searching I know my purpose is to help other Veterans that struggle with PTSD and Military Sexual Trauma.”

About Starbrite Therapeutic Equestrian Center

Starbrite Therapeutic Equestrian Center is a service organization that utilizes equine assisted activities to spread the Love of Christ by empowering youth, adults and veterans with a variety of needs and abilities. The Starbrite Therapeutic Equestrian Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and member of PATH International. (Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship) and is located in Whitehouse, TX. The programs offered at Starbrite include Therapeutic Riding, Horsemanship, and Horses for Heroes.  These programs are supported by a large group of volunteers to facilitate the learning environment.

Lyons Legacy Latest – January 2024 Newsletter

January blew in and blew out pretty quickly for our Lyons Legacy team!  We have been blessed to spend the month of January in San Tan Valley, AZ at Rocking Horse LLC conducting our program.  Not only did we have an amazing group of students and horses, but we also had the pleasure of one of our graduates assisting with that class.  Their program wraps up on February 2nd and they will be off to put all they have learned to use in their personal businesses.  Congratulations to the 2024 class of L1 and L2 graduates! There are graduates of our programs all over the country – you can seek out a Lyons Legacy Trainer using our Trainer’s Directory.  We are proud to help promote these wonderful graduates and connect them with folks in need!

If you are interested in earning your certificate as a Lyons Legacy Trainer we have several class options for 2024 in Fort Morgan, CO:

These classes only accept 10 riders and are eligible for the use of Veterans Education Benefits!  If you are on the fence or need more information, call Kristen at 615-379-1056 and she will be happy to assist.

We’ve Been Zooming!

The January Zoom Meetings were terrific and we are so pleased that the addition of topics and scheduling have been well received! Students of the Lyons Legacy Online Training Program participate in now twice monthly zoom meetings to hear Josh’s perspective on a variety of topics as well as ask their questions, real-time, along the way.  Lyons 101 Course participants also get the zoom replays added to their bonus content as an added resource to their program.

We have a variety of course options available in this online format. If you are already part of our community through one of our focus courses and want to take advantage of utilizing the zoom replays, you can purchase the Lyons Training Program to add to your course library!

2024 is upon us and this year, invest in yourself! Horse riding and training is a lifelong pursuit of additional skills to increase your effectiveness and overall enjoyment of your experience with your horses.  No matter your goals, preferred riding discipline, or breed of your horse – you are welcome at our events! We strive to create an atmosphere of support, encouragement, and learning in a judgement free space. Click any of the above pictures for more information about that event or the event calendar button below for a full listing of all Josh and John Lyons clinics and programs.      

Private Instruction – Limited Time Only!

For those of you in or coming to Arizona in February – let’s ride!  Josh offers two types of private instruction options – half day and full day.  

A half day session will be from 10am – 2pm, cost $600/session.  Half day sessions can include 2 riders.  Additional riders can join for $300/session with a max number of 4 riders.

Full day sessions run like a clinic typically, 9am – 5pm with a lunch break. Cost for a full day session is $2500 and can include up to 4 riders. Lease horses can be arranged for your lessons for $70/day and stalls for personal horses are available for $35/day.

Contact Kristen to check availability and get your sessions scheduled!

2024 Clinics – Let’s Ride!

Our team was unbelievably blessed in 2023 with wonderful hosts and facilities for our 3 and 5 Day clinics!  That trend is carrying over to 2024 and our calendar is already full. If you are looking for an amazing learning opportunity for both you and your horse, consider joining our team for a clinic in 2024! 

Our clinics take a maximum of 15 riders; we want to ensure every rider gets the attention and time they need to understand each concept that is covered over the course of the clinic. In addition, auditors are always welcome to join in on the fun!

Cost for our clinics are: 
3-Day Rider – $900
5-Day Rider – $1250
Auditors – $25/day
These fees do not include stalls or hookups, though most facilities do offer those options for the events. Check event details for pricing – some may include facility fees.

2024 Host Facilites

Lyons Legacy Latest – December 2023 Newsletter

The Holiday Season is upon us and we would like to take some time to reflect on this past year.  Josh has been across the country conducting clinics in AZ, MO, KY, ND, CO, MI, PA, ME, NC, and FL! Some truly special people have come into our lives along the way, and for that we are so blessed.  We have had riders of all ages show us amazing dedication to not only their horse’s continued education, but also their own. Thank you, each and every person who supported Lyons Legacy in 2023, and most especially, thank you to ALL of our host facilities!


Get your registration and deposit submitted by January 31, 2024 for any 2024 Josh Lyons clinic and receive our Lyons Legacy Trainers Clinic course from our Online Training program FREE 🙂 
Make 2024 the year you improve your horsemanship and start to #ridelikealyons!


Josh will be participating in the 2024 Art of the Horseman Online Horse Fair!  You can read more about the fair and claim your FREE ticket in our blog titled Art of the Horseman 2024 Online Horse Fair.  Click the picture to read more!


We have heard your feedback and will be making a few changes to the Zoom experience!  You can expect to see a regularly scheduled day and time, twice a month, as well as a more focused, topic based conversation.  Click the picture to learn more about the Lyons Legacy Online Training program!   

Ready to pursue a career with horses?  Join us in 2024 to earn your certification!  We are excited to announce our Colorado programs will be held at Boon Ranch in Fort Morgan, CO.  You can learn more about this location on our Colorado Campus page. We are still taking applications for these upcoming classes:

Remember, only our Colorado campus classes are eligible to receive Veterans Education Benefits. Classes are limited to just 10 students – don’t delay, enroll today!

Art of the Horseman 2024 Online Horse Fair

What is Art of the Horseman?

The Art of the Horseman Online Horse Fair is an online resource for horse enthusiasts to seek valuable knowledge from a wide variety of professionals in the comfort of their own home.  Created by Jack and Paula Curtis, their goal was to make educational opportunities more accessible to the masses as they found over the years that a well-rounded education was essential.  The line up of presenters includes trainers from all disciplines, veternarians, farriers, and much more!

In 2024, our own Josh Lyons will be included in the lineup!  This is a great opportunity to get a taste of our Lyons Legacy Online Training Program as well as useful content from so many other great presenters.  You can view the fair for 2 Days ONLY, January 29th and 30th, 2024 at 9:00 AM CST.  There is so much information available, you may need or want more time to learn.  The Art of the Horseman offers monthly and lifetime access as well!  Take advantage of FREE ACCESS for two days only to get a taste of what this fair has to offer.

Unique Opportunity to Learn with John Lyons

If working with John Lyons is on your bucket list – 2024 is your year!  John is offering several opportunities to experience his conditioned response training system first hand.  

Two Week Intensive in North Carolina

It’s not a clinic with 10 riders over 4 days and greatly varied rider levels. It’s an in-depth, detailed course in effectively changing your concepts in traditional training.  Spend one on one time with possibly one of the best creative thinkers in training.  This course will only accept three qualified riders to participate. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate of completion in recognition of your accomplishment!

The course starts on January 5, 2024. The cost is $10,000. Stalls are included. Bedding, feed and cleaning are not included. The course will be conducted out of Michael Lyons Horsemanship facility in Randleman, NC. Cabins are available at an additional charge of $750 for the two weeks.

CALL John Lyons directly at 970-366-2856 to inquire. Two spots currently open! 

Did you know the following?

-40 different performance related benefits come from the hind quarters

-7 come from the shoulders

-3 come from the head, neck and mouth

-The head and neck are like a Christmas tree ornament; no wrong place to hang it but never use it for directional control, speed control, or to increase speed.
-Suppling or giving to the bit always takes out performance
-Softening of the mouth using the mouth is counterproductive and looses performance
-The mouth is never the part of the horse that is pulling on the bit.
-100% of every maneuver we do with the horse should involve the hindquarters first. Legs to control the hindquarters are ineffective 80% of the time. Therefore we just give up on using or involving the hind quarters
-99% plus riders use only the nose and mouth to guide and control their horse.
-The rider should be riding an 11” horse not a ten foot horse.
-The tail of the horse will teach the horse directional control 100% better and 50 times faster than the mouth
-The difference between aids. What controls direction what controls speed and what happens when we miss use or mix them up. What does what?
-99.9% of all riders can not effectively control the elevation of the horse’s head at any or all speeds. Nor the hind quarters or shoulders.
-What is the formula for increasing and improving performance?
-Overuse of our aids leads to more lack of control.
-We can greatly simplify our cue system while making it far more effective and teaching the horse much faster.
-Never ride an unbroke horse always ride a performance horse. Never warm up a horse.
-Goals are never distance
-Effectively eliminating working on negative behaviors while strengthening the bond and relationship with the horse.
-How can I get my horse to love being with me?

All of the above will be covered in-depth during the two week training program. Your investment in your learning will be repaid 1000 times over. This is not a clinic, it is an individual special course opening up a complete change in your training.

John Lyons Clinic Opportunities

Colorado Campus moves to Fort Morgan

Horse Training Certification Program

Big news – we are moving our Colorado campus from Grand Junction to Fort Morgan!  The opportunity to take advantage of a private facility was too good to pass up.  Boon Ranch is just 10 minutes outside of Fort Morgan, offering our students a wide variety of local accommodations and attractions. Additionally, there are some hookup options right on site for students that hope to utilize their LQ trailer or RV!  Take a look at these amenities:

We feel so very blessed to embark on this new endeavor with Boon Ranch!  Hosting our programs at a private facility gives our students an intimate environment where they can focus on their progression without feeling like they are on public display. Thank you Boon Ranch!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

NRHA Futurity News

Max Morin at the NRHA Futurity

Nothing makes us prouder than seeing our graduates succeed!  Max Morin completed both the Certification and Accreditation programs in addition to becoming the first Master Trainer representing the Lyons Legacy philosophy and training methods. He has focused his career on reining and found his calling!  Max is currently competing in the NRHA Futurity in OKC with MAGNUM WIMPYS DREAM aka Rocco.  Read more in the article as seen on the NRHA website:

The Stage is Set for Record-Breaking NRHA Futurity Finals!

Reiners brought the heat in their last chance to make it to the National Reining Horse Association Futurity finals. More entries and higher payouts brought the best out of 3-year-old reiners and their riders.

More than $2.9 million will be paid out, breaking the 2022 record for riders in Non Pro and Open divisions in the Jim Norick Coliseum. 

Once again, the Level 4 Open exhibitors will be competing for an impressive $350,000 first-place prize during the MS Diamonds TX L4 Open Futurity Finals. The reserve champion will win a guaranteed $150,000, and third place will bank $100,000.

The CINCH Non Pro Level 4 is also lucrative, with the Champion leaving the Sooner State with $75,000, the Reserve winner earning $45,000, and third taking a cool $35,000.

Andrea Fappani Leads Field of Open Finalists on Inferno Thirty Five

A competitive field of 3-year-old horses and their riders tested their skills Nov. 29 in the Jim Norick Coliseum for the Level 4 Open Semi-Finals sponsored by Not Ruf At All, hoping to put together a second solid run that would earn them a trip to the MS Diamonds TX Level 4 Open Finals on Dec. 2. All day, scores kept going up and up, as riders added the semifinal scores to their first-round scores for composites that indicate consistency as well as fiery talent.

The NRHA’s only Eight Million Dollar Rider, Andrea Fappani, rode Stephen Archer’s Inferno Thirty Five to the highest composite score of the Level 4 Open Semi-Finals, presented by Not Ruf At All, with a 443.5.

Inferno Thirty Five is a 2020 stallion sired by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Inferno Sixty Six and out of Madeof Pure Spangled by Star Spangled Whiz. Mary A. Jansma nominated the horse bred by Cardinal Hill Training Center. The horse already has $100,000 in lifetime earnings thanks to a win at The Invitational at the 100X Reining Classic.

Luca Fappani took the top spot in Levels 2 and 3 on Playing With Da Boys, a 2020 mare sired by NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of the Gunner mare My Berry Best Gun. Neiberger-Camp Partnership owns Playing With Da Boys, who already has earnings of more than $3,800 through the 100X Reining Classic. The composite score was 442, and Fappani will advance in Level 4 also.

In Level 1, Maxime Morin set the pace on his own horse Magnum Wimpys Dream, with a 437 composite. The 2020 stallion is sired by NRHA Nine Million Dollar Sire Magnum Chic Dream and out of Wimpys Little Lassie by Wimpys Little Step. He was bred and nominated by Henry Knox. The horse has $4,776 in earnings through the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity and the Warm Up 3 Futurity sponsored by Snipers Smoking Gun.

NRHA Seven Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida received the top composite score of 442.5  in Prime Time on Spooks Gotta Homerun, a 2020 stallion sired by Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of A Ruf Mistress by Lil Ruf Peppy. The horse was nominated by Tracy Cole and bred by Larry Weihing. He has lifetime earnings of more than $15,000 through the North American Reining Stakes Futurity and the High Roller Reining Classic Futurity.

Bubbles for Advancing to the Open Futurity Finals:

MS Diamonds TX Level 4 – 437

Level 3 – 433

Level 2 – 428

Level 1 – 419

Prime Time – 434.5 (with handicap)

Riders Advance from CINCH Non Pro Futurity Consolation

Although the NRHA CINCH Non Pro Futurity preliminary round concluded Monday, Nov. 27, riders who barely missed qualifying for the finals still had a chance to advance.

That’s because the CINCH Non Pro Futurity Consolation round gives entries that last chance needed to secure a spot in the Finals. In the consolation, the top five from each of the four Levels move on to Friday’s competition.

Topping the Level 4 were NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Mandy McCutcheon and Stephanie Porath, tying with an impressive 218.5. McCutcheon rode Arylosa, a mare she owns with NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider and Owner Tom McCutcheon, nominated by Euro-Vets Inc., by Arlosa Whiz and out of Spooky Lil Chex, while Porath was aboard Gunna Prosper, a stallion she owns and nominated with her husband, Jackson Porath. The stallion is by NRHA Ten Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya and out of Whizen Starlight. 

In the Level 3, it was Robert Peterson and TR Ice On Fire who claimed the lead with a 214. TR Ice On Fire is a gelding owned by Goose Creek Ranch LLC and nominated by Tamarack Ranch, by NRHA Million Dollar Sire SG Frozen Enterprize and out of Wallawhizagun.

The Level 2 lead was secured by Kristen Avila, riding A Spook In Hollywood, a horse she owns and nominated herself. The stallion is by NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Hollywoodstinseltown and out of Lucky Lil Spook, for a score of 211.

Taking the Level 1 was Delacy Hubbard, aboard HF Freeze Brand, for a 214. HF Freeze Brand is by NRHA Million Dollar Sire SG Frozen Enterprize and out of HF Mobscar, nominated by Heritage Farms. 

Bubbles to Advance out of CINCH Non Pro Futurity Consolation:

Level 4 – 215

Level 3 – 211

Level 2 – 209

Level 1 – 209

Draw positions for the finals will be decided during the Platinum Performance Draw Party at 8 a.m. Thursday in the Sale Arena.

Complete results, draws, schedules, and more can be found at NRHAFuturity.com.

Horse Trainer Highlight

Breakthrough Horsemanship - Alisha Anderson

Alisha Anderson has two passions. Teaching – and horses!

Currently she’s on the road assisting with Josh Lyons clinics and traveling around the country. She has combined those passions into the career she hopes to follow for years to come.

Working with Josh happened ‘by the Grace of God’ and she’s thankful for the opportunity, she says. She graduated from the Josh Lyons Accreditation Program in 2023 and has plans to also complete the John & Josh Lyons Certification Program in April 2024.

While the Josh Lyons training helped Alisha hone her skills, she bought her first horse years before while serving in the Air Force and stationed in North Dakota. Her love of horses started as a youngster when she lived on a farm for a time. She took riding lessons even after her family moved off the farm and into an apartment. She said she worked on a dairy farm as a teenager and saved her money to help pay for the lessons.

Her goal has been a career centered around horses. She admits she’s still figuring it out. Her business, Breakthrough Horsemanship, offers travel lessons as well as horse training.

“I love teaching and I have a passion for that. I missed working with students,” she said about her time worked as an instructor in the Air Force. “I like what I’m doing now because I participate in clinics and private lessons – and I like the travel. From here it’s a matter of figuring out when and where.”

She credits her own love of learning and working with others to getting her where she is today.

“I attended clinics and did all I could to learn and network,” she said. “I enjoy teaching – and horses – and I enjoy putting the two together.”

Find out more about Josh Lyons clinics and their upcoming dates and locations at joshlyons.com

Spanish Cowhorse & Performance Horses - Angel Ramirez

Angel Ramirez is just 17 years old, but she’s already completed the Josh Lyons Accreditation Program, becoming the second generation in her family to do so.

And she knows what she wants for her future – continuing to operate the family ranch with the help of her sisters.

In the meantime, she is continuing her training and she loves competing.

“Josh Lyons has been a family friend for 20 years and my mom trained with him back in 2002,” she said. “It’s an awesome community to be around so it was a no brainer to be trained by him.”

Her family’s ranch is home to 400 cattle and it’s located in Montana, about 30 miles outside of Billings.

In addition to working on the ranch she competes in cow horse competitions like reining and cutting. Because she is under age 18 she competes in youth classes. She started out in rodeos, competing in barrels and pole bending. She competes in non-pro classes but would like to someday compete in pro circuits, too.

“My favorite event is the open roping,” she said. “I’ve been doing that since I was 13.”

“I just love competing and the horsemanship of it,” she added. “It’s a great community and there are some good jackpots, rider earnings and horse earnings.”

Her goal is to do both ranching and competing. But for now she’s home-schooled. Her favorite subject is history and she says she’s good at math. It’s not all about books, though. Depending on the day, she might spend the day fixing fencing or helping at neighboring ranches. She likes the routine because it keeps her on her toes.

Right now she’s working on training her youngest horse. She has several quarter horses: Abilene, Pecos, Buck and Star to name a few. She prefers Quarter Horses because of their grit, athleticism, and willingness to work.

“They’re solid,” she said.

She’s continuing her work with Josh Lyons, too, including a five-day clinic this month.

No Better Cat – AKA Boon

no better cat

It’s not every day a horse has its own social media account – but No Better Cat (aka Boon) sure does.

The 3-year-old, red roan colt who is a son of the great Bet Hesa Cat  and raised by Purina animal nutrition has quite a following, too. Over 895 Facebook followers to be exact!

Boon has had a busy summer crisscrossing the country with trainer Josh Lyons putting on clinics and performing in horse shows.

“At Josh’s clinics he gets ridden sometimes all day yet he never skips a beat,” owner Elsabe Hausauer explains on the horse’s Facebook page. “I love that riders of all ages are riding him since he is a demo horse and he will ride according to their level, whether they are 5 years old or 80.”

Recently Boon participated with Josh Lyons in the horse’s very first reining show. The duo followed up a clinic in New Hampshire with a horse show in Pennsylvania, finishing with two second place finishes and one fourth place.


“I am missing this little dude – he is one tough little horse,” Hausauer said in a post early this summer. “He is currently travelling all over the US learning and growing … Love that he can handle the pressure mentally and physically very well! Thank you Lyons family!”

Hausauer is a North Dakota AQHA Professional Horsewoman whose lifelong passion for horses has led to her family owning a ranch and offering training services, horsemanship clinics and private lessons.

She says Boon’s easy going disposition makes him one of the easiest horses she’s ever worked with. She also plans on standing him to the public for breeding purposes in 2024 and she’s pretty excited about it, writing, “Can’t wait to see his foals and their trainability, athleticism and disposition!” Her goal was to own a stallion that is not only well bred but who is also tough physically and mentally under pressure. 

“He is beautiful and rides so nice … Josh is doing an incredible job with him, I feel truly blessed! Not only for Boon to get trained but for me to also keep growing in my horsemanship journey and learning so much from Josh along the way,” Hausauer said.

“I have truly found a friendship with Josh, Jana and their sons that will last a lifetime.”

Information about No Better Cat (Boon) , go to No Better Cat and find out more about Hausauer at www.themuddybootranch.com

For breeding contract information, check out Boon’s page on our website!

Photography: Sheila King and Elaina Eppinger Photography
Flyer: Allyson Johannessen 

Fall Clinics with John Lyons

If riding with John Lyons is on your bucket list – here is your chance!  John will be conducting several clinics this fall and they are limited to just 9 riders.  As always, auditors can also attend and learn from the sidelines.  Cost for riders is $900, cost for auditors is $45 per day.  Shoulder, hip and head control made easy – so you enjoy riding and are safer as well.  Clinics run from 9am until 5pm and have an hour and a half lunch break.  Day one of the clinics always starts with a rider meeting on foot before getting horses out to ride. These events will be shared on the Josh Lyons/Lyons Legacy Facebook page and are as follows:

September 14 – 17, 2023Woodloch Stable, Hugo MN
Call Bill and Ingvill Ramberg to reserve riding spot at 651-796-8179  

September 28 – October 1, 2023Hardy Farms, Howell MI
Jolene Deyoung 810-569-4640

October 5 – 8, 2023 – Copper Rise Ranch, Springport IN
Call Mike & Melinda Garrish
765-524-1383 to reserve a riding spot. melindagerrish@gmail.com 

October 12 -15, 2023Cook Forest Camp Grounds, Clarion PA
To reserve riding spots call John Lyons at 970-366-2856
To reserve camping and stalls call Ray and Terrie Smith 814-226-5985  

October 19 – 22, 2023Birchtown Stables, Forest City, PA
Eccles host and John & Josh Lyons certified Trainer.  570-267-5918. Email meccles1027@hotmail.com. CLINIC IS FULL. Observers welcome $45 per day – contact the host for more information.  

November 2 – 5, 2023 – Long Island, NY
Sonny Garguilo Host, & Friend 516-790-8367
bservers welcome. $45 per day – contact the host for more information.  

November 9 – 12, 2023 – Long Island, NY
Sonny Garguilo Host, & Friend 516-790-8367
CLINIC IS FULL. Observers welcome. $45 per day – contact the host for more information.

November 16 – 19, 2023Rose Hill Ranch, Naples, NY
Jack Minteer Host 585-506-7740. Email. Rosehillranch1@gmail.com 

Intensive Horse Training Workshops in Scottsdale, AZ!

Attending a workshop with Josh Lyons is an incredible way to improve your horsemanship and your relationship with your horse.  Workshops are designed to meet the needs of each individual rider – no student is overlooked or gets lost in a “production line”. Our small class size allows everyone to find SUCCESS!!!

During the course of  3-Day Workshops you can expect that both horse and rider will learn foundation exercises, lessons, and principals covered in the conditioned response program offered at Lyons Legacy. Riders will first and foremost learn to effectively control their horse.  No matter if you have been horseback for years or rode a horse years ago, all riders have the same common goal: to improve the level of control they have in regards to the horse they are riding.  Lyons Legacy is here to help you reach that goal and take your horsemanship to the next level.

The cost of our 3- Day Workshop is $900 per horse and rider.  Auditors (Fence sitters) are always welcome for $25 per day.

5-Day workshops are 1 Week of totally immersive hands-on instruction. The instructor will utilize the see
one, do one, and teach one training methodology. Instruction and demonstrations will be given
during the morning and afternoon sessions. The riders will then train on their horse to perform
the exercises. Small class sizes allow coaching and evaluation to build your skills in a fun,
supportive setting.

The cost of our 5- Day Workshop is $1250 per horse and rider.  Auditors (Fence sitters) are always welcome for $25 per day.

Check out our EVENTS page to find a clinic or get signed up!

Straight Talk from Students – The Accreditation Program

Troy Chappell and April Scarbrough are classmates in Josh Lyons’ accreditation program. But that’s not all they have in common.

Both have had successful careers in the past – Troy as a farmer in North Dakota, April as an active duty Marine – and both now hope to start a new career training horses and helping others in the process.

“I’ve downsized and I figured I’d retire and do something I enjoy,” Troy said. “As a farmer I had horses and I’ve done tons and tons of trail riding but as I age I want to do more than just ride – I want to teach.”

Troy, 59, said he’s helped people in the past, privately, but never as a business. That’s what he wants to change with Lyons’ help.

“This program is just the best,” he said. “Josh makes you feel like family – there’s no pressure. He really helps you tune in to what you want to do.”

One technique that sticks with him is a technique that helps the horse – and rider – let go of unwanted stress. He describes taking the horse in slow, small circles and then slowly increasing speed and moving in bigger circles.

“It raises their emotions up and down … it helps to control the horse’s emotions,” he said. “There are tons of exercises to control parts of the horse’s body – it’s kind of complex, but we break it down and put it together.

“I’m just here to better myself,” Troy said. “A horse is never really finished, and as a horseman, you never stop learning – it’s kind of a lifelong thing.”

The accreditation program is a four-week, hands on course. Trainers learn to control every aspect of a horse’s performance. The program offers targeted training techniques aimed at training higher level horses and riders.

These students say the program is about the horse, but it’s about the trainer too. They say no horseman – or horse woman – is the same – you take what works for you and leave the rest.

April retired from the marines a over a year ago. At 43, she hopes to become an equine therapeutic riding instructor.

“I looked at the qualifications for an equine therapeutic riding instructor and I realized my riding was lacking,” she said. “My brother had horses and I rode as a little girl – trail rides and wagons. As an adult I tried barrel racing and also practiced dressage. But I knew I wanted to learn more.”

She knew early on the Lyons program was different.

“I’ve learned more in two weeks than I did in all the years before,” she said. “There are definitely differing skill levels, but there’s no judgement here. I’m the least experienced but it’s no big deal.”

April wants to team up with a non-profit to help treat women suffering from trauma, specifically military sexual trauma, which refers to experiences of sexual assault or sexual harassment that a Veteran experiences during military service.

“The VA has counseling and therapy but no specific activity to get them off the couch and out of their heads.”

She also pointed to the Lyons organizations use of the GI Bill® Benefits as another factor that drew her to the Lyons program.

These benefits help qualified veterans pay for college, graduate school or training programs.

“I’ve been very grateful for that,” she said.

Giving Back to Veterans at Warrior Ranch

At the Warrior Ranch Foundation, each of the veterans – and the horses – have their own story. The Rhode Island ranch brings them together and with the help of elite horse trainers, helps them to write a new chapter.

Josh Lyons recently donated two days of his time to conduct a Warrior Ranch retreat and riding clinic.

“We are so thrilled Josh made it to Warrior Ranch,” said ranch founder Eileen Shanahan. “The Lyons horsemanship method is fantastic.” She added, “Josh has a passion for our country and the veterans.”

Josh was assisted by US Army Green Beret veteran Matt Pitt.

“I think that we have the freedom to be able to do our jobs as horsemen because of our veterans … It’s a shame they don’t always get the credit they deserve or the help that they need. So anything we can do for our veterans is huge,” Shanahan said.

Established in 2016, the non-profit seeks horses in need of rehabilitation. There are former race horses, a horse rescue, ponies with medical issues and more. Veterans of the military and first responders struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or just readjusting to civilian life, work with trainers to learn how to handle the horses, bond with them and learn how their demeanor effects that of the horses. In doing so, veterans learn to become self-aware. By recognizing their feelings and emotions they can begin to take the steps necessary to deal with them.

Veterans who have gone through the program have described it as life changing and say it helps ‘ground them.’ Their experience helps them move toward the future, better able to feel and show emotion and best of all, to help others.

The Lyons certification program and accreditation program are approved for VA Education Benefits.

Find out more about the Warrior Ranch at www.warriorranchfoundation.org You can also find them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Are You Bridling Your Horse Correctly?

In this Certification class we took a few minutes learning a simple way to properly  bridle the horse.

It is important to not hit their teeth with the bit or to force it into their mouth, especially when introducing the bridle. Take your time! Let them slowly spit the bit out when taking the bridle off.

Remember, most bad bridling habits come from rushing the process or hitting their teeth with the bit!

Adding A Pre-Cue To The Back-up

“Adding pre-cues to backing your horse off your seat.”

Here’s a peek into classroom time during one of our 5 Day Trainers Clinics.

Be sure to check out or 2021 schedule for our upcoming clinics near you!


For those of you who prefer to stay at home to learn and train at your own pace, our step-by-step Online Training Courses and weekly Zoom meetings with Josh are absolutely perfect!


The Outside Horse

You are always riding two horses: The inside horse and the outside horse.

“Everything on the left side of the horse’s mane is controlled by your left hand, left leg, left seat. Everything on the right side of the mane is controlled by right hand, right leg, right seat.”

Cueing Your Horse


We cue our horses to do the things we want them to do, (to go forward, to go left, to go right, to change gaits, to change direction, speed transitions, to back up, etc.) but cueing them out of it is just as IMPORTANT.

Give them the responsibility of doing what you asked, until you tell them to stop.

What we don’t want is to tell them to do something and hold them there, constantly helping them do their job. it’s easy to micromanage and over-cue. Give them a job, tell them to do it and KEEP DOING the job until you tell them to stop.