I was very lucky this year to attend three JT Clinics – the Intermediate Riding Clinic and Riding with Challenges Clinic at Lakedell, and the Advanced Riding Clinic in Beaverlodge.
Jerry has helped me so much with my buckskin gelding, Jesse, who was such a reactive/broncy horse 3 years ago everyone around me thought I should get rid of him. Everyone was convinced there was “something wrong with him.” As he was a wedding gift from my husband I was very reluctant to just get rid of him. I knew we needed help, and had worked with 4 different trainers with only marginal improvement – despite working with my horse 4-5 days a week, I still didn’t have a horse who wouldn’t randomly turn into a bucking bronc! One day in February 2013 my Aunt invited me to go on a trail ride with them. Jesse bucked me off three times before we even got out of the yard. She knew immediately I needed Jerry and I registered myself and Jesse for the Intermediate clinic at Lakedell as soon registration opened. That clinic was a turning point for Jesse and I – after 4 days I had a horse that I could ride and I wasn’t on pins and needles thinking he was going to blow apart at any minute! I was very saddened when Jerry was unable to come to Canada for 2014. I took the opportunity to attend a different Horsemanship clinic, and was very disappointed with the clinic in general – I paid more for registration for this clinic, with a well-renowned clinician, and do not feel like I got half as much help as what Jerry had offered me.
I arrived at the Lakedell clinic this year again with Jesse, who had recently shown me that he still had that reactive side to him, demonstrated with him bolting off the first morning of the clinic when I went to get on. Jerry immediately recognized why this had happened, and personally took the time to work with me and Jesse directly in the round pen, helping me learn to recognize signs of “trouble” in your horse, how to help the horse get rid of that “trouble”, and helping me (once again) to build confidence with this horse. By the end of the clinic I had a willing horse who had good, safe forward motion. Jerry wasn’t so much helping my horse as he was helping me learn how to safely and effectively ask more out of my horse. Even though there were 9-10 other riders in the clinic I felt that he was always watching and helping – I never felt left out or not paid attention to. I also learned so much watching Jerry help other participants with their stock and their assortment of problems. The mules are definitely a whole new challenge and Jerry’s expertise in training mules is invaluable. The changes from Day 1 to Day 4 witnessed in everyone’s stock was pretty impressive. At the Beaverlodge clinic we continued to work on safe forward motion and softness. I am amazed at how much Jesse learned, and how much more there is for him to learn. The more I study under Jerry the more I want to learn, understand, and continue to work towards making a better horse.
Jesse and I just finished trail riding in the Rocky Mountains for 10 days – I am happy to report that he was soft, patient, and cooperative, even when other horses on the trail were spooking and dancing around or when he got caught in a ground hornet’s nest. He was an outstanding partner! I have attached a picture of him and me at the top of Sheep Cliffs at Yaha Tinda.
Jerry is a top notch clinician and I hope that the Alberta Donkey and Mule Club continues to organize clinics in Canada – his knowledge, ability to teach, encouragement, understanding, patience, and commitment is invaluable. I know he saved my horse and for that I am forever grateful. I hope to continue to attend clinics for years to come!