Pamela Arthur: F.E.I. Judge, Coach, Trainer, Course Designer
Jay has enlightened me regarding groundwork. He demonstrates universal principles in his groundwork that appeal to all disciplines. Having watched him work with many horses, I am impressed by the empathy and respect he earns with both horse and rider. Quality and competent horsemanship with a calm, common-sense approach.
Jody Sloper: Level 3 Event Coach
Jay is a unique and gifted horseman. He brings us to a better understanding of how a horse thinks and responds, which in turn makes all of our lives easier.
Dr. Margaret Radermacher, B.S.C, D.C.
As a doctor of chiropractic medicine, I know the importance of good body health. I also know how important it is to have a safe, calm and respectful horse. The horses that Jay has worked with speak for themselves. I am a person who is not easily won over but the effectiveness of Jay’s methods are commendable.
Rose Johnson & Luella Gilchrist: Calgary Regional Trail Riders
(Excerpted from their submission to Horses All, July 2005)
Jay has incorporated a lifetime of learning into his clinics. He shares his experiences and knowledge in a way that’s easy to understand, learn, do. He teaches horsemanship, horse sense, and everything in between.
Jay has such empathy for horse and human, and understanding of the physical and emotional capabilities / limitations of both.
Jay kept our stress very low, with his confident, quiet ways…this made the learning process amazingly effective. It was very interesting to see horses and riders that had great difficulty in past clinics go calmly though the moves in this one. It was a great confidence-builder and partnership experience for all of us “sparklers” at this clinic.
Vintage Riders Equestrian Club:
Rita Rawstron, Langley, BC
On behalf of the Vintage Riders Equestrian Club, we would like thank you for presenting a wonderful clinic. We’ve had nothing but positive responses from all the participants and auditors. Everyone was very impressed!
Spruce Meadows Ring Master & International Horse Transport Coordinator
All horse owners appreciate the value of controlled trailer loading and the importance of having your horse relaxed and comfortable while being transported. It has been a real eye opener to see the problem horses that Jay worked with completely change their attitudes and become the most confident, easy to load horses that I have ever seen.
Saanich Clinic: Wendy
Jay, you meet so many people I am not sure if you will remember me or not. However, I met you at the Mane Event in Chilliwack a couple of years ago. You said, “we will meet again, my friend,” and we did. I went to a clinic you had in Saanich on Vancouver Island as a spectator. I think it is amazing the connection you have with horses. I used to live on Saltspring Island then we moved to The Cariboo just south of Williams Lake, B.C. When we moved here ac ouple of years ago I fell and broke my neck. Well, last year was a write-off for any type of horse activities, especially starting colts. A bit of ground work and time to heal. Jay, I am so lucky to be walking and even luckier to be able ride. It took me this long to be comfortable in the saddle again. I just over the last month started one of our paints – he is going well I feel. I will see when I take him out he walks he trots today he loped he stops and steers better than some of our others. Jay, I thank you for your Journey to Connection. I think of this DVD often, and it has helped a lot… although, the more I learn about horses, it seems, the less I know!
Elke Korytar: Canmore, Alberta
Coming from Germany, and after much research into horsemanship, I truly believe no horseman I have seen to date has the ability to connect with a horse as Jay O’Jay. Since watching Jay with horses, my personal approach to dealing with them has changed profoundly. I am ever grateful that my young dressage prospect had Jay to introduce it to saddle, bridle and rider in such a trusting and relaxed manner.
My Personal Journey: Paul Schofield
As I’m driving home from Stoddart Creek Stables, my mind drifts back over the past 10 days and I wonder how it went so fast. It seemed as though I had just driven this road a day or two ago on my way to spend some time with Jay, but the changes in me, my attitude, my confidence, and especially my relationship with horses was proof that I really HAD been there longer than it seemed. Ten days of total immersion in all things equine had taught me much, not least of which was that I want to spend my life as Jay has – “always” working on myself to better understand and communicate with horses.
When I first saw Jay and the horse he drew on day one at the Mane Event in Red Deer, I thought, “This ought to be interesting!” A fearful horse with a stubborn streak a mile wide, and a trainer who was obviously quite under the weather with the flu. Looked pretty hopeless to me. But as I watched him work with this little gelding, “Jiggs”, quietly and patiently, without once complaining about the horse he drew, or his own weakened condition, I began to see just what a classy guy he was. After session two with jiggs, the transformation was amazing! This scared and defiant horse had become braver and more trusting than I would have thought possible, and at that moment I knew what kind of horseman I wanted to be. Not one who demands and bullies his animal into compliance, but one who builds a willing partnership with his horse based on mutual trust and respect.
As we met again in Camrose later this summer, I took every opportunity to stop by and talk horses with Jay and his friends. I soon found my impression of him to be correct; He genuinely loves helping horses to reach their full potential, and also helping people to understand and communicate with their horses. After our many discussions, I just HAD to know more, so when he extended an invitation I eagerly jumped at the opportunity.
When I arrived at Jay’s beautiful facility nestled in the breathtaking scenery of the Rockies, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would he be the same as he is in public? Will he be as patient with me as he is with his horses? My fears were soon dispelled. His enthusiasm for horses, and for sharing his knowledge, is entirely genuine. We’d spend most of every day with the horses, and the remainder of every day discussing horses, and if he ever tired of my endless questions, he never showed it. He was a very gracious host, freely sharing not only his knowledge, but his… hmm…”unique” sense of humor! (And, he makes the best chicken I’ve ever had!)
On or about the third day Jay kind of dropped a bombshell on me when he said, “You know, there’s no ‘magic’ to it. There’s just a whole lot of little details that makes it all come together.” I disagreed with him on that point! When I watch him working with a horse, those details coming together between him and his animal IS in fact magic! Later that night as I sat outside visiting my little mare and watching the stars, I saw a plane fly over and a realization came to me… being a good horseman is much like being a good pilot – it’s mostly experience, timing and feel, and a whole lot of little details. And most important to both disciplines is attitude, which comes from the knowledge and understanding of the horse (or aircraft). When you make that little breakthrough in your understanding, and you feel that stronger connection with your horse, I can’t think of a better word to describe it than “magic.”
When the time came that I had to (reluctantly) leave, and Jay asked me to sum up my experience there in a few words, I simply couldn’t respond. There was so much to say; How much fun I had, how much I learned, how much respect and admiration I had for him, how inspired I now was, and determined to always try to improve myself so that I can better help my horses, I could go on and on! Upon reflection, I guess the most succinct way I could put it is, my journey has just begun!