From foals to adult.

All horses are trained through a system of Natural and Classical work.  Having been fortunate to spend time with Tom Dorrance and develop a better understanding of his principles John feels that he can blend this in with the best of classical work that has stood the test of time. Something to consider is that John has started hundreds of horses of different breeds for a variety of disciplines and one of the things he likes to point out is

"The foundation is the foundation. If it is done correctly, many things are possible. If it is done incorrectly you can spend valuable time trying to undo the damage."JSR



 Foals can come with their dam or after weaning. Our preference is to work with foals while they are still quite young as more can be accomplished the younger they arrive. Foal handling for sucklings includes full board for foal and dam in one of our many large stalls, which have at least a 100 x 60 area to run and develop naturally. We can also offer turn out with age appropriate friends to grow strong and be able to play and socialize. This is an extremely important stage in the horses’ development and it can mean so much to these young horses. If directed early enough they are the ones who will have fewer problems either physically or mentally as they grow.

We have had foals come through that have had good handling and need more, we’ve had foals that have been spoiled by over zealous owners and we have worked with foals that have never been touched by a human. Our experience dictates what each individual foal needs.

Yearlings and 2 year olds:

The yearlings and 2 year olds often need additional handling and exposure especially if they are under-stimulated at home.  This is a great time for them to learn and develop some more discipline.  We do this not by force but by good direction and support where necessary. Even though these horses are not ready to be ridden, they are at an age where they would greatly benefit from other stimuli. We begin their foundation work where we have left off with the weanlings and now introduce simple exercises to benefit the horses mind and body.  We also prepare them for the rider, by this we mean that we help the horse become more confident and not be scared of the saddling process. Teach them how to accept things up above them by working from an elevated position on a fence or such like and then teach them how to be ponied safely from a solid school horse. Everything is done with confidence and sureness, which comes from years of experience starting hundreds of young horses. At no time do we use any mechanical methods of restraint such as draw reins, tie downs.  We teach the young horse to be confident and yet disciplined. 

Saddle horses:

We accept horses that are 'clean slates' and also horses that need some re-training. It makes no difference either way as all the horses we work with irrespective of where they came from and how much training they may have, will go through our 'check list'.  We've found through experience it is far better to start at zero and work forward rather than assume certain things are OK and then have to backtrack and recover what was missing in the first place.  This is not meant to be negative about any previous training or work the horse has had it is just our way of ensuring the best possible outcome for your horse.   If you are considering bringing an unstarted horse to me please understand we will not accept any unstarted horse for less than a 90-day commitment.  John takes his work seriously and wants only the best for the horse.  “Many years ago I used to pride myself on being able to get an unbroken horse saddled and ridden in one session. Yes, I can still do that but the problem is that it doesn't 'stick'. The same with a horse that has had 30 days, it may look pretty good on the surface and sure, if I'm the one that's going to ride him he'll get along fine. The problem lies in his return to home when he may not get worked for 4 or 5 days and then taken out somewhere he's not ready for and the owner has not had the time to spend with me to understand and learn the cues and aids their horse has come to understand.  This doesn't make me anything special, except that I'm a professional in my job and I set a high standard for myself and the people who work for me.  I want to be able to develop the horse with respect and understanding and I also want to have the time to show the owner the methods that will get the best results from their new partner.” JSR


Here are some comments from John's students:

John has a unique ability to communicate freely with horses. He understands them and they him. He provides a safe learning environment and works to instill confidence in both the horse and the rider. Working with John has been a pleasure in every instance. His methods are sound and provide a firm foundation for continuous success while training. John is a suitable trainer for young and old horses and riders alike. Your horse will love John Saint Ryan." - Amie

"John Ryan's ability to size up a horse, understand the situation from the horse's point of view, and work with the owner/rider to allow them to learn is tremendous. His patience and calm manner has rubbed off on me, and significantly increased my ability to use his teaching methods and 'tips' to better work with and improve my horses and riding abilities. He is a complete trainer: from the ground, in the saddle, recommending and offering advice with respect to tack and training aids, and building confidence in the owner/rider through knowledge and understanding. He's the best!!!" - Danny

...Being able to read the emotions of both (horse and rider) and encouraging them to proceed at a pace not so slow as to be boring, but not so quick as to scare both parties concerned is a delicate process. To let someone guide you there takes faith. I have complete faith in John Saint Ryan and his love for people and for horses." - Laurie


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