R JAY'S FARM  
Embden Maine

Training Inspirations

This page is designed to give you inspiration for your horsemanship as well as other areas in your life.  When we find something that inspires us we will share it with you on this page.  If you are inspired by something and want to share it with others, please send it to us in an email and we will try to get it posted.

February 1, 2013 ~ Ron Johnson
I am inspired to write this due to several posts I’ve seen online about how some people don’t like some trainers. The main part of this is fine; you don’t have to like everything everyone does. The part that inspired me to write this is, they were really putting down some of these people.  All of these trainers are great horseman. Each and every one of them is a huge inspiration to thousands of people. It’s ok to not like a technique or a method. The whole reason they all do things a little different is because they found what works for them.  As we go through our journey of learning, we want to remember that the more we have to reference the better we can understand. Each and every one of these trainers has a few, if not many people that they drew their knowledge from and that is how they got to where they are today. They do what they know works. Using what they have learned from their experiences. To put them down shows no compassion at all.  I’ve heard it said, “Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up.”  I think we should live by that rule.  Keep an open mind; try to learn what you can, from whoever you can. My Grandmother used to say to me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” I happen to agree. If we spread hate or discontent, eventually we will be victims of it. So try to embrace the positive and repel the negative. Criticism is fine, but not if your knocking someone down. By writing this I realize i am practicing criticism, but I am trying to show compassion by being as up lifting as possible. There is a difference between being informative and hateful.  I hope I helped some of you to take a minute and think about how you look at and react to things. I know this experience has got me to.  Thanks for reading.


December 2, 2012 ~ Ron Johnson

This story is about a young boy who got a set of artist pencils. His Mom would teach him how to draw. The thing was his Mom was a great Artist. Everything she would draw looked beautiful. The young boy would ask his Mom, “how come my drawings don’t look as good as yours?” The Mother told him, “If you keep practicing they will, and if you practice a lot they will look even better.”

This story reminds me of a number of stories I hear of people buying a Horse and they say,” this horse doesn’t have as much training as the previous owner said it has.”  There is a difference between the horse and the pencils. The horse has a mind of its own.  It’s going to test you. But just like the Mother being able to do nice work with the pencils.  People who can communicate with the horse, and find the common ground were they respect the horse and the horse respects them, they will be able to make that horse look good.  Now that being said, the horse is the same as the pencils in the way that in the right hands they can do great things. They already know how to do everything we want them to do right from the time they are born. We just need to work on ourselves so we know how to communicate to them to let them know what we want. So with practice, patience, and understanding, the new owner can have that same horse doing some real amazing things.

September 8, 2012 ~ Ron Johnson
EXPECTATION: We all have expectations. Some don't expect much, others to much. Sometimes its just that we didn't stop and think about what is happining. There are situations were you would expect more out of one person and not so much out of another. It is important that we take a look at and evaluate our expectations so It becomes more reasonable. As much as we don't want to expect to much, we should also be aware of not expecting enough.

If we put this into working with horses. You need to evaluate the horse. How old are they? What do they know? What have you seen them do? What have you asked them to do? And how well did they do it? There are many more questions to be answered. The point I'm trying to make is. We need to properly evaluate them so as to have reasonable expectations. In this way we will be more likely to avoid asking for to much, or asking to little. If we don't ask enough and don't challenge them. They won't improve. But we want to be sure its attainable.

Thank you for reading this months training inspiration.

August 3, 2012 ~ Ron Johnson
Have you ever gone for a drive and taken the wrong turn and ended up far away from where you are heading. If you use a navigation system it will redirect you right away, putting you back on the right track. In this way you never get lost, or go too far out of the way.

I like to use this logic while working with horses. If I ask for something and can’t seem to get what I’m looking for, I like to redirect and reward for the response instead of just saying no don’t do that. There are times you will not have the presents of mind to redirect in proper time. In this case you will probably end up in some way saying, “no don’t do that.”  This will happen from time to time. If you get in the habit of having an alternative so you can respond quickly enough.  The less likely you will be to get lost.

I know this is a vague description. But an example of this is. If you are asking your horse to walk forward and they just won’t move. Ask for a forward to the left or right. You will most likely get that and be able to reward by just stop asking for something. You may have to ask for a complete turn to the left  or right before you release. Whichever case you redirected and rewarded. Then you would turn them back in the direction you wanted to go in the first place. You may just get one step, that’s ok don’t expect too much all at once. One step at a time. This also applies to many other things we do with our horses.


July 7, 2012 ~ Ruthie Johnson
This month I wanted to talk about taking things for granted.  I am sure you have heard or even said the phrase “Life is to short” and this could not be truer.  When was the last time you looked at the stars and thought how beautiful they are or went to the ocean and thought how mighty it is?  As we walk through our daily lives there are so many things that we take for granted or just expect to always be there.  Then one day when it is gone you wish you had spent more time with someone or told them how much they meant to you.  Whether it is our family, friends, animals or natures beauty take a moment to just enjoy the presence of their company or the magic of nature.  If you always do this you will not go through life with regret or the emptiness of I wish I had just………………..

Life can and will change in an instant.  If we are present each day in our own lives and the lives of everyone around us then when life does turn the corner you will be able to peacefully flow with the changes.   Take some time this month to let the humans and animals in your life know how special they are to you.  Each day is a special gift take time to enjoy it and never take it for granted.


June 1, 2012 ~ Ron Johnson
This month I wanted to talk about bit selection. .It is asked by many people,” What bit should I be using.” This question has a lot of variables. We have to ask a number of questions in order to get the answer.  1st question, how soft and quiet is your horse?  2nd, How soft and quiet are your hands?  3rd, How well does your horse respond to body and leg cues? 4th, how good are you at applying body and leg cues.  You may need one style bit. Your friend may ride the same horse in another style and do great.

 I like to go through a biting process. I like to start a horse with a rope halter tied into reins and work them in that till I feel some real softness in the reins and in the body. Then I like to go to a full check snaffle, I like to work with that till I get to the point that I don’t need to use the reins much at all. That goes for stopping and backing also. If I have them working off my body to where I don’t need the reins but just for insurance, then I can use almost any bit I want from there.

 So remember, bit selection is a personal thing. It depends on your horses understanding of what you are asking and your ability to ask it. Always start soft and mild. If your horse is stiff or Bracey, work more on softening the body. Going to a harsher bit doesn’t help. If you really want a soft horse. Try using your reins less, and getting them to respond to your body. Using reins only as insurance, and as light as you can. Good Luck.

May 1, 2012 ~ Ron Johnson
As I go to different places and see people going along in their day to day life I notice many of them are not fully aware of their surroundings. Some are too busy talking on, or texting with their cell phones. Some are just thinking about other things and you can tell they see more of their thoughts than what is going on around them. There are many more examples I could give, but the point is, we need to be more aware. In these cases we put ourselves at risk of an accident or allow ourselves to become a victim of attack.  

If we are more aware, we are more capable of a quicker response. Knowing a strange person is approaching you before they get to close can make all the difference. Also when you go into a public place and make yourself aware of the layout, and were the fire exits or alarms are. You may just save yourself and /or others in an emergency.  These things are things that don’t happen often, but they can and will happen to someone. Someday it just may be you.

Just as we want to be aware of our surroundings when we are out in public, we also want to have more awareness when we are with our horses. I have heard it said many times, “My horse just freaked out for nothing, it just happened all at once.”  If they were more aware of what the horse was saying to them, they would have seen it long before it happened. Or they would’ve known that if there was a situation, the horse either can or can’t handle it. We need to be more aware of things like the horses attitude, how calm are they, are they listening well, how soft do they feel when we ask for something?  When we work with them, are we aware of how well they are doing what we ask. Such as, if we are yielding their hind end, are they staying still in the front end, do we want forward movement, do we want backward movement. The same goes with asking them to move the front end. What is the back end doing? Also no matter what we are doing we want to be aware of their posture. Where is their head, is their nose in or out, is their neck bent too much, or not enough.  I could go on and on about the things we need to be aware of.

I hope this will help you be more aware of the thing that are going on in your life, and the things that are happening when you are with your horses. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

April 1, 2012 ~ Ron Johnson 
It is now spring and everyone will be preparing the soil for their gardens.  It’s a good idea to do a soil test to see if you need fertilizer, or lime, or anything else to make the soil better for your plants. If we develop the attitude of just till the ground and drop a seed and leave it alone it will grow. It just might grow and if you are lucky enough to have good soil, you’ll have a good plant.

If we look at our horses as plants and our relationship with them, the soil, we can evaluate their needs much like we evaluate the soil for the plants. If we can manage to keep a good relationship with them, we will have better communication with them, therefore, being more aware of their needs. It may be that we need to change their feed. Or it could be we notice a change in behavior that may need some training to help them.  If we ignore their behavioral or physical needs or make excuses for them, it’s like just dropping the seed and hopping it will grow. You may get lucky and end up with a good horse. Or you may not care for what you end up with.  And just as the garden needs weeding to maintain soil condition, your horse will need interaction with you to maintain the relationship.

It is now spring and everyone will be preparing the soil for their gardens.  It’s a good idea to do a soil test to see if you need fertilizer, or lime, or anything else to make the soil better for your plants. If we develop the attitude of just till the ground and drop a seed and leave it alone it will grow. It just might grow and if you are lucky enough to have good soil, you’ll have a good plant.

 
Just like the plants, the horse will benefit from proper conditions. The better the conditions, the better both plants and horses will end up.

March 2, 2012   ~  Ron Johnson
We have seen or maybe experienced a relationship with a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend where we spend a lot of time with this person and we do some fun stuff together.  It may have lasted years or maybe just through a season.  A real fun summer perhaps.  Then all of a sudden this person stops coming around.  You don't see them anymore for awhile.  Then they show up out of nowhere and expect things to be just as they were.  Trying to get you to do things with them again, but you have a new schedule now.  They can't just expect you to drop everything that is important to you and just do what they want.  Can they?

This is an example of how your horse feels when you put them up for the winter.  You may board them somewhere or have them at home.  You may be the one still feeding and caring for them.  But if you stop spending time with them, they get to start making their own decisions and start making other schedules.  When you finally come for them to do the things you want, they don't generally take to it well.  As I explained above, you probably wouldn't either.  This can happen even during the times that you do a lot with them and then take some time to do other things and leave them for just a few weeks.  Each horse is different.  Some won't mind but other will.

There is another scenario I would like to mention.  This may fit more people throughout the year.  If you are a person who has a very busy schedule and just don't have time to be there daily for your horse.  Going on the weekends to be with them and getting in a ride or 2 is great.  But your horse may start to feel like the mistress of a married man.  Sometimes happy to see you and sometimes not liking the arrangement.  Feeling like they deserve more and they do deserve more.

The point I'm trying to make is that we need to maintain our relationship with our horses, even when we can't work with or ride them.  We should take the time to hang out with them.  Your relationship with your horse is as important as your relationship with your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or anyone you care about.  If you wonder why your horse is a little unruly when you first start working with them in the spring, it isn't because they forgot what to do.  It's because they are mad at you and are trying to say "hey where were you when I needed some company through the long boring winter".

So keep this in mind if you have given your horse the winter off or if you don't get a chance to spend a lot of time with them.  Take it slow and build that relationship back up first before you ask to much of them.
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