About The Trainer

Ronald L Johnson Jr. (trainer, instructor, clinician)

I was introduced to Horses at a young age. My Parents took us to a friends farm that had horses and we got a chance to ride. It was on that day I fell in love with horses.  However it was about 10 years latter before I got to have an experience like that again. All the while, dreaming that someday I would have horses. But there is a lot more to this story.

You see. Not being able to have horses as a child, I think was one of Gods greatest blessings for me. I say this for many reasons that all fell together. Reasons I would never have put together. That one day, all the things I learned and experienced growing up, would be more important factors is my Horsemanship, than learning to ride or anything I learned about Horses. 

Though from that first ride and not being allowed to have a Horse or ride on a regular basis. I still spent much of my time growing up learning everything I could about Horses. I didn't know that many other things I did and learned growing up would give me a huge advantage to my riding progress and my ability to communicate with the Horses when I finally had a job and a car to do it on my own.

The primary influence that made everything I did physically, that much better for me was starting to learn Martial Arts at 8 yrs old. This one thing that I loved even as much as Horses, was so beneficial to everything else in my life. Learning about structured thoughts and emotions, balance, stamina, focus, accuracy, discipline, and the principles and philosophies that go along with it, put me on a path that I never knew I was on or how much it would benefit the rest of my life.

These skills helped me in every sport I played. Which in turn these sports also helped in some ways towards my Horsemanship. In Little League Baseball, I became the top pitcher in the league due to my ability to throw fast and accurate. My bating average was .692 due to my hand eye coordination.  Most people don't believe me when I tell them I had a bating average that high because it is almost unheard of by your average player, and I am not telling you now in order to boast about it. I am telling you now to show how it benefited my life and how it can benefit yours as well. It helped me to play Soccer better, It helped in Track and Field, It helped me in Gymnastics, and it made everything I did so much easier. From Hiking , Biking, Climbing, You name it. Martial Arts and all that came along with it, was the primary thing in my life that helped me excel in almost everything I did. Specially the concept of soft overcomes hard.

Though there was a downside to it. Kids heard I did Martial Arts and so many wanted to fight me. I refused to fight but a few times after school a bunch of kids would chase me. They caught me a few times and I had to protect myself. I was tricked into fighting even though I didn't want to.  { You should see a common thread here in how the Horse will flee rather than fight unless provoked). At first I would just block and not strike back, but it wouldn't stop them. So I'd land a punch as much I hated to hit them. My strategy was, Hit them once after them trying so hard to hit me. This showed them that I was being kind and don't want to fight. I would see in their face right away that they figured this out. I would immediately drop my guard and they would typically lunge in and put me in a head lock. I would submit and take the loss in order to make them look good. But they knew I was being kind just to end it. I didn't care how it made me look to everyone else. All that mattered was, it was over. I never realized then, but Horses use this same strategy as well. And for some of the difficult ones, I use it back on them. Its an ideal way to end a conflict without a fight.

This strategy I mentioned above was one I learned In another important topic I studied growing up. And I studied it as a need because of the things I experienced at school. "Understanding Human Behavior." The understanding of what is really going on as opposed to what it looks like is going on, is of great value in all life applications. Often times we see things through our own thought process. Learning how to let those thoughts go to get a clearer picture of what is really happening is life changing. You see, People tend to act out to cover up or mask their own weaknesses or shortcomings. When we can see that and realize they are suffering, however big or small this suffering may be, then we become more compassionate and work toward a solution that works for everyone. Not just our own Ego. This I studied to find ways to get through difficult moments at school, but had no idea how much it helps everywhere else. Specially Horsemanship.

When I finally had a car and a job and was able to get myself to places where I could do trail rides, That's exactly what I did most weekends during the good weather. But it didn't take long for me to realize, I was just a passenger. So I started looking for a reputable place to take riding lessons. I found Andover Riding Academy in North Andover MA where I signed myself and my 2 stepsons up for riding lessons. We rode there for 2 years in weekly group lesson format where we learned so many beneficial riding skills in the English riding discipline. The drills we did were not just fun but exilerating. The confidence and ability we attained during our time there was well worth the experience.  I have not been to any other riding facitlity to date that trains their students that thoroughly. It was like everyone was an elite drill team participant. The most organized, fun, and safe chaos I ever experienced. They certainly knew how to produce highly skilled and capable riders. I thank God whenever I think back and realize how thankful I am to have had them as my first official start in my riding adventure. 

Though it didn't start that way. As beginners on lessons horses you probably won't be surprised to find out we struggled in the beginning. I have to say, I thought the horses weren't very well trained. I was wrong, but didn't know it. But thinking that made me start searching for knowledge about training so I could enjoy my lessons better and they did get better. But not because I learned to train. It was because I learned what I was supposed to be doing. Which made all the difference. It is really like sitting in the pilot seat of a highperformance aircraft.  If you are a trained pilot you will do fine, If you are not, It doesn't matter at all what the aircraft is capable of. 

 This was about 1992 to 1994 and at the time the big names I found were Monty Roberts, Sally Swift, and John Lyons. There were many others that I took little bits from, but these three I put a lot of time into studying. I liked the in depth psychology of Monty Roberts.Though I thought his methods and techniques were very vague, I focused intently on the psychology behind it. Sally Swifts Centered Riding was very familiar to me as it was very much like what I learned growing up in Martial Arts. Yes a different application, but very similar principals. John Lyons was the one I was really drawn to. I studied him very intensely for many years. As I felt his indepth thought process and his methods and procedures made sense and were easy to follow and understand. So much that I wanted to go become a certified trainer, but it was just not affordable to me. No matter though. I kept studying on everything I could. On him and everyone else I heard of right up until now and I will keep doing so.

Over time I realized that all the methods and techniques were less than 5% of Communicating with Horses. I was probably 35 yrs old before I made the connection to my childhood studies and how they have so much benefit to Horsemanship. It was then I started to experiment with Thought and Energy. I have since figured out many ways to understand the thoughts and thought processes in Horses, Dogs and People Just by their energy and movements. By learning this, I also learned many ways to help remove undesireable thoughts and create more desireable thinking patterns that remove fear and worry and build understanding. The longer I do this, The more I am discovering. 

I hope the journey never ends.