Stay Ahead, Stay Loose, and Stay Positive

by Kevin on December 23, 2010

Guy Vernon from Kiowa, Colorado

I had the privilege recently of meeting one of the nation’s top reining horse trainers. I stood in the corner of his practice barn and watched him ride a horse that most cowboys would kill someone for. I walked out of there with a new found respect for professional horse trainers and more importantly, I learned something of my life with God.

I stood there watching Guy Vernon as he worked with a young horse that would be competing in the near future. He smiled as he led the sorrel stud into the covered riding arena and smiled as he said, “I’ll try not to get bucked off. This horse bucked a man off last week.”

I was in horse heaven! The opportunity to learn something and maybe see somebody get bucked off is just more than any cowboy could hope for.

My friend Tom Boyle translated what Guy was working on. Tom has been training under Guy for quite a while and trains reining horses right along side his mentor.

Tom told me that Guy was working on the horse getting in the correct lead, keeping his head at the right level, and staying collected. The one thing that I noticed most was that Guy always seemed to be looking everywhere except at the horse.

Tom told me that Guy is always looking at where he wants to go. He does that with his eyes, his body, and his mind. I never saw Guy turn the horse. One minute he would be loping big circles and then, just as smooth as whipped butter, the horse would lope in smaller circles. It seemed like the horse was reading Guy’s mind or something.

That’s a far cry from the knot-heads I ride. I’m used to riding broncs and younger horses. They seem to read my mind too, but they do everything except what I want them to. I can’t look halfway down the arena at where I want the horse to go, I’m too busy trying to hang on because my horse’s head has disappeared between his legs and is doin’ his best to throw me into the next county.

Tom told me that if you constantly look at where you want to be instead of where you are, that’s where you and the horse will go. Tom said, “Get your horse in the right lead and then look ahead. Don’t just focus on what’s going on right there. Keep looking ahead and stay loose and positive.”

That’s some good advice for Christians in that statement also.

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  • Tom Boyle

    Kevin,
    It was so nice to have you and your family visit. Horsemanship is a life long commitment to developing yourself to learning to be better. Its about giving your best to the horse. Building a foundation for his life and seeing your patience and hard work pay off when the horse becomes soft and responsive, The goal in reining is to take a blank slate and make a responsive, majestic, athletic horse. It would be fair to say..There is not other Western horse event that is more beautiful to watch or to participate in. You have to learn to let go of your horse as he preforms.You have to guide him but stay out of his mouth, Let him make mistakes. And correct with love and encouragement. It takes 18 months to Finish a Reiner. Five days a week of riding. Complete dedication a lot of ups and downs you build a bond with a horse where he can read your mind and guide of of your head movements and leg cues. He stops of of your command to whoa and back up with your legs lifting forward. A good reining horse will never need to be guided by his mouth or a bit. Guy Vernon is truly one of the Finest Horsemen in America and the best Teacher I have been privileged to study under. He teaches Horsemanship not colt starting or bells and whistles stuff. He makes you understand your part in the deal and stewardship , accountability to the Horse. There are Just and handful of people that teach horsemanship this way…I would say…Jesus was one of them.. Guy Vernon can be reached at 303-805-6713. He is the best investment you can make in yourself,…and your Horse.

    • Kevin

      Preach on!!

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