After viewing our newly published website, Karen Hay, long time client and friend wrote: "I smiled, I cried, and realized how much I learned at Joy Ranch, some of it even pertained to horses and riding!"
A place of learning, growth, introspection and healing thru equine riding and instruction; allowing break-thru’s in body awareness and communication. Improves riding and balance thru a centered approach that also applies to daily living and life. Confidence and strength are restored thru a loving and caring approach.
I just got home from an amazing two week trip in north California and had to write you immediately about how your teaching affected my performance. Instead of micro-managing my horses and worrying about singular elements of my riding, I focused on the big picture, using the open-armed Indian as my mental image. My eyes were soft and I kept breathing through the bottom of my feet. As I started my ride, my main goal was to have fun and stay focused on my performance, as opposed to my horse’s. I took the attitude that if I fell off, so what; I’d get back on and laugh. Whenever I felt off center, I found that my eyes were no longer soft and I had stopped breathing. I caught myself and got back into my rhythm. I have never felt so in sync with my horses in my entire life. One rider who was riding behind me at the start of the ride – a rambunctious time – said to me, “you are so relaxed and balanced – its such a pleasure to watch you ride.” Needless to say, I was thrilled.
Thank you very much for giving me the tools to enjoy riding without fear. It really has changed my life. And by the way, I had no sore muscles after the ride and my horses’ backs were in top shape!
Ride your bones!
long time endurance rider
I believe much of Alan’s success with horses, as both an excellent rider and trainer, is due to his being committed to understanding horses. He values each for its unique gifts and challenges, respectfully working with the whole horse…body, mind and spirit.
Epona Approved Instructor
In my experience with trainers, I’ve met some that are great with horses and some that are great with people, but not usually both. Alan and Leigh each has a way that gets the horse trained, but not “broken” and gives the rider a feeling of security, trust and fun! They are intuitive in what the horse and rider needs on any given day. They continue to search for ways to expand their knowledge of riding and teaching. My horses and I are grateful to have met them!
client since 2000
Some twenty or so years ago, I admired the way Alan handled and presented a young stallion belonging to one of my dear friends. Many years later, when I needed help with a colt, this same friend recommended that I contact Alan. The rest is history. Since that day, Alan has worked with all of my youngsters and even with a few older mares, teaching the basics, starting a few under saddle, and even preparing some for new owners in Arizona, on the East coast and in Europe. Everyone who has purchased an, “Alan-trained-horse,” from me has continued to thank him for his ability to turn out consistently well mannered horses suitable for amateur and youth owners.
-Elizabeth Al-Hazzam Dawsari
Bani Dawsari Performance Horses
After moving to Arizona I contacted Leigh because I had started with Centered Riding in California and wished to continue with the riding philosophy. With Leigh’s patience and teaching style I have learned more in two and a half years than I had the previous ten.
Her desire to make sure you understand the balance between horse and rider and how each affects the other is invaluable. Leigh takes Centered Riding to a new level with elements from other disciplines which reinforce and explain it from another point of view when necessary.
Alan has helped change my horses dramatically from forehand heavy to athletic healthy horses that now know they have a hind quarter. I am so grateful to finally have found someone who can coach me in how to train my horses and bring them along at a pace both they and I can understand. Between Leigh and Alan I have gained confidence to be firm in asking my horses to respond.
I also appreciate the fact that they both are constantly learning and seeking out other points of view in riding and training. Both have the unique ability to take what they have learned and adjust it to the level of the person or horse they may be working currently.
My horses and I have progressed tremendously in the last two years thanks to Leigh and Alan.
Mary Hawkes wrote to Leigh after her one time visit:
I just wanted to write and thank you for the beautiful, spiritual experience I had with the Goddess of Wisdom (horse named Nahela). She is constantly on my mind and I carry her face and inner spirit with me all the time. When I get a little fearful of things I have to face, I think of the way she looked back at me…very patient and waiting for just the right moment to go forward. I fell in love with her.
Not only was it a joy being with her, but having spent time with you. You are a very gentle and kind soul and I’m happy I had the opportunity to have met you. I learned a great deal from you as well.
I look forward to another time somewhere down the road where I can return and come to your ranch once more. For now, I take my ride every day when I close my eyes.
Thank you for making this gift available to me.
As beautiful and peaceful as this place is, sometimes, when I forget what God says about me, and get focused on the day-to-day necessities, I get stressed! That is a great time for me to remember what some of our students have to say about their experiences here. I’ll never forget that one student said, “Don’t you know, magic happens here!”
Come check it out!
click on any photo to enlarge