I was standing at the BBQ when I saw a black pickup truck make its way up the dirt road that leads to my place here in Invermere BC.
Yes! Paul Schofield had just arrived with his four-year-old mare “Betsy” and for the next five days they would be my guests here at Stoddart Creek Stables – or at least that’s what I thought! Allow me to start from the beginning.
Paul Schofield arrives at Stoddart Creek Stables
Paul, his wife Velma, and a group of friends traveled to Red Deer, Alberta to attend the Mane Event which is a large horse expo that features “horse trainers” of all disciplines. However, Paul and his friends were there to watch the “Trainer’s Challenge” – a colt starting competition with three trainers and three range raised colts.
To make a long story short – I just happened to be one of the featured trainers and as the competition unfolded, Paul was convinced that I would be the winner. He even made a $50.00 bet! Well, he couldn’t believe it when he lost that bet – so he ranted and raved about it all the way home – driving his wife and all of his friends “Insane”!
The Trainer’s Challenge was held at the end of April/07 and as the summer fell upon Paul, he went about his business of farming and ranching in central Alberta, Canada.
As fate would have it, we were to meet again – this time by total surprise! Paul had tickets for Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta – a huge outdoors Country & Western Music Festival and to his amazement – he saw me there doing a series of Colt starting demonstrations.
Not only was he surprised, he was eager to share the story of how he had lost fifty bucks. You could say that Paul was having trouble accepting the fact that I had not won the Trainer’s Challenge – and you guessed it – he started to rant and rave about it once again.
This is how we met and this is where our friendship began. As we talked, Paul asked me if there was any chance of him coming out to my facility to learn more about Jay O’Jay Horsemanship. I could see the eagerness in his eyes and I could feel his energy, the kind that only comes from a strong his desire to learn – so we made plans!
On September 13/07 at 7:30pm, Paul rolled into “Stoddart Creek Stables” with his horse “Betsy”. I put the BBQ on “hold” as I focused in on getting Betsy settled into what would be her new home for the next five days. Then it was Paul’s turn to un-hook the trailer and get bunked in.
Stoddart Creek Stables – Indoor Arena
As I finally sat down to eat my diner the conversation started, and let me tell you – it never ended. Paul wanted to learn the right way – he wanted to know the techniques, the strategies and the mechanic’s of horse training. His enthusiasm was contagious!
I told him that the techniques and the strategies were more or less the easy part. It’s the relationship with your horse – the communication – the emotional knowledge about their behavior and the mental knowledge of how they are – that’s the challenge! In fact some people never clue in enough to get it – and yet it’s the very core of every great horseman.
Stoddart Creek Stables – Top Barn & Round Pen
We woke up early that next morning, got the chores done, put the coffee pot on and had a good breakfast. Fueled up and ready to go, we started day one of what would be a “private work shop” with Jay O’jay Horsemanship.
Can you believe it – in five days we started two colts – a big black Friesian and a big brown German Warm blood. We also stayed overnight at a backcountry lodge where we did a one day work shop – trailer loading, round penning techniques and then took an incredible trail ride into the wilderness of the Canadian Rockies. On top of that I was filming Paul and Betsy’s lessons so we could discuss them in the evenings. And somehow I found the time to ride my own two horses – Coco & Cisco.
Then, when the five days were up – Paul blew my mind – he said he didn’t want to go home! What about your wife, I asked – she’s okay with me staying was his reply. Well aren’t you tired of horse’n around yet? No – is the only thing he said.
Paul stayed another five days – and let me tell you – I worked real hard on getting him to understand “how” to become a better horseman. As you’ve probably already guessed by now – if you want to be successful with horses – you had better start working on yourself. It’s our personality that’s the deciding factor as to how we do all things with horses. Our attitude is a big part of this equation – and a healthy attitude is only achieved through the knowledge and understanding of the horse.
At the end of the ten days, I asked Paul – in a word or two can you tell me a little bit about your experience here with Jay O’Jay Horsemanship? Are you happy with the knowledge and understanding you gained? He didn’t really answer me in words – he just stood there with this look on his face – so I thought I had better photograph it.
Paul Schofield – Expressing his experience with Jay O’Jay Horsemanship
All that I know for sure is that Paul left Stoddart Creek Stables with a big smile on his face!
Paul Schofield & Betsy
It was time for Paul to get back home, his family was missing him and the cows were calling. But as he was pulling out of the driveway – he shouted out the truck window – “I’m coming back”!
Click here to see what Paul had to say about this time spent learning from me!