Horseman at the Big Valley Jamboree

August 2-5/07

For those of you who don’t know “Big Valley Jamboree” is an outside country music festival that is held each year at Camrose, Alberta. The unofficial word is that they get approximately 30 thousand people attending each day.

My Trailer at the BVJ campground

For more information visit their web site at:

This year “Steak & Beans Horse Trailer Company ” & “Sundowner Horse Trailers” made arrangements for me to come out to Big Valley Jamboree to demonstrate both my colt starting and horsemanship program. For each of my performances they asked different questions about Sundowner Horse Trailers and Jay O’Jay Horsemanship – they also rewarded the correct answers with $20.00 & $50.00 bills. These demonstrations where held in the Bulls for Breakfast Arena each and every day of the event.

For more information on Steak & Beans Horse Trailer Company visit them at:

I arrived a day early to give myself time to set up my booth and campsite. This of course gave my two horses, Cisco & Coco a chance to stretch out their legs, settle in and check out the new environment they would be working in for the next few days.

A Behind the Scenes Report:

To make a long story short – with the “help” of my staff – Sara Leppington, her daughters Becka & Jackie and my right hand man Mathew Ford Twogood – the show came off without a hitch.

From bathing, grooming, feeding and exercising the horses – to setting up and running the booth – right to the countless number of details that had to be covered each day – these dedicated folks proved that without them the show could not go on. To them I offer my sincere gratitude.

Day One:

On day one I had a real nice quite soft minded filly to work with. Her name was “Suggie” (short for sugar) and I spent about 45 minutes working with her in the round pen. Because of her temperament I had plenty of time to discuss what I was doing and why I was doing it. I got as far as putting a saddle on her without her bucking, plus I started to work on my exercises for respect and control. Through the entire process “Suggie” consistently grew more and more braver and confident.
For the last 15 minutes of my allotted time I worked with my two horses Cisco and Coco. Cisco is 3 years old now and has about 20 rides on him. Coco is 4 years old – I started him last year and he is finally starting to grow into a seasoned horse.

You know, for me training horses is always a work in progress – there never is an end to it. It seems that once I get my horses to a certain level of training, I’m back at the drawing board to plan out the next level training, and on and on it goes.

With that being said, my goal at Big Valley Jamboree was to show the incredible connection that I have with my two horses. To do this I did a liberty act where Cisco was totally free to leave me at anytime if he wanted to, no strings attached.

As I rode Coco, I had Cisco at my side as we walked, trotted and loped around the arena. We did big circles, small circles, sliding stops and back ups. At one point I had Cisco stand with all four feet on a small pedestal and stay there as Coco and I loped around the arena. I finished off with having Cisco bow for the audience. What beautiful horses they are – I’m so proud of them.

Day Two:

What can I say! I was happy working with “Suggie” but it seemed as though everyone else want me to have a challenge and work with a horse that was more of a “wild thing”.

So for my second session in the round pen I worked with “Blue Rose” an un-broke Thoroughbred. She was a big grey roan with a soft eye and to everyone’s surprise, very quiet and mellow. I got quite a bit accomplished in our 45 minute session, but even though I spent a lot of time desensitizing Blue Rose and preparing her for a cinch, she bucked when I put the saddle on. This is not a bad thing, I figure if a horse has the urge to buck then I want her to get it out of their system before I swing a leg over the saddle.

Again, I ended with another liberty session with my two horses Cisco & Coco.

Day Three:

When it rains, it pours! We had great weather right up until the announcer said “Ladies and Gentlemen” please welcome “Jay O’Jay”.

He no sooner got the words out of his mouth and a cloud burst wide open on us. It rained so hard at one point I had mini water falls cascading off of my cowboy hat.

The good news is that only a hand full of people left, everyone else stayed and got as wet as I did. The bad news was that Blue Rose had come up lame. So there I was standing in the rain with a lame horse! I couldn’t round pen the horse so I did some very light halter work before I swung a leg over the saddle – just to prove she could be rode.

Day Four:

Blue Rose was still too lame to work with, but at least the sun was back out and shining down on us.

For this session in the round pen I brought out Cisco, my three year old and I talked up a storm not only with my philosophy of training, but I also did demonstrations on the ground as well as in the saddle.


I have to say that I had a blast at Big Valley Jamboree and that I met a lot of very interesting people who were very appreciative of Jay O’Jay Horsemanship

The good news is that I will be back again next year. See you there!

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