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From Soldier to Horse Trainer
Disabled Veteran John Baird Horse Trainer

I am proud to say that I was the first to attend their accreditation course in January of 2019 under their new VA certified program. 
Article by disabled Veteran John Baird for
Josh Lyons Horsemanship

Many soldiers who are coming up on the end of their time in the military are faced with a dilemma of what they are going to do after they salute that flag for the last time.
Some go on to college, some go to work for civil service, some go on to be contractors while others choose just about every job under the sun.  You see, military veterans have had a certain work ethic instilled into them, a desire for a certain amount of job security with just a dash of excitement thrown in to break up the monotony.  That excitement can be physical, emotional, mental or a combination of all three.  Anything that will get the old adrenalin flowing.
I am one of those veterans.  Upon retiring from the US Army, I set out to find just that job.  I started as a contractor teaching new soldiers their job in Advanced Individual Training (AIT).  When that contract expired, I went on to the Civil Service and landed a very easy (albeit very boring) job.  Great hours, good money, easy physical workload (I am 90% disabled).  But I just wasn’t happy doing the nine to five life.

Let me give you a bit of a backstory about me.  I was born and raised in East Tennessee and spent most of my childhood living on a small 60 acre farm where we had many horses.  My step-father was a very well known local horse trainer and we often spent time riding the Appalachian trail, the Tennessee river banks and showing at the local ruritan shows.  During my time in the military, I would volunteer at local barns and facilities all over the world to learn new techniques of training and keep my horsemanship skills up as much as possible.
Round Pen Horse Training

After finding out the injuries I sustained during my time in the Army had become chronic, I was informed by my doctors I shouldn’t take on any demanding jobs and definitely no horse training!  This was a huge let down for me, but my wife and I still purchased a couple of horses and enjoyed riding when we could.
Now, as it goes in the horse world, if two are good, then three must be better and soon we found ourselves with 5 horses and I found myself taking my vacation time to go and volunteer to help the Triple B Cattle Company with their Spring and Fall roundups as a cowboy for the late Mr. Jimmy Bowen, also a fellow combat veteran who was disabled.

Noticing my horses weren’t trained up to par and attempting to at least follow some of my doctor’s orders I decided to send the horses out to local trainers for some tuning and training.  When I got the horses back they still weren’t where I wanted them.  This caused me to yearn to train my own horses to get the results I wanted, but I knew there was no way I could use many of the methods I grew up learning as I simply can’t ride the buck out like I once could…there has to be a better way.
So, I began searching out some kind of school I could attend that might give me some better training tools to use that would be easier on both me and on my horses.  After doing extensive research and talking to many trainers that have attended numerous schools, I decided on the Lyon’s Legacy program offered by John and Josh Lyons.  The certification course I attended was paid for out of my own pocket as the VA and GI Bill certification for Lyons Legacy had expired.  Two years after I attended this course, I resigned from my civil service career and began training horses full time.  It met all the criteria!  It is a relatively secure job and it got the old adrenaline flowing while giving me the new tools on a more passive and gentle way of training the unbroke, fixing the problem horse or finishing the broke horse.  Combining both my previous knowledge with the new Lyons Legacy knowledge of horse training along with my credentials as an instructor has also allowed me to teach private riding lessons and perform clinics and demonstrations.
Horse Training Clinic

While I was figuring out my new career, the Lyons family wasn’t setting on their haunches.  They were busy jumping through all of the governmental hoops to be able to once again accept the GI Bill and help veterans and their transition into a career in the equine industry.

I am proud to say that I was the first to attend their accreditation course in January of 2019 under their new VA certified program.  My GI Bill paid for the course and the Lyons team ensured the paperwork and submittals were as painless as possible for me.  Thanks to John, Jody, Josh and Jana I am now both a Certified and Accredited Lyons Legacy Trainer who absolutely loves what he does…works with horses and horse people.

While I admit, I wasn’t looking to train other’s horses or give lessons when I first attended the Certification Program, Josh and John talked to me and showed me that even though I am disabled, that will only stop me if I allow it.  My wife (who is also a disabled veteran) and I own the Rocking B Ranch Enterprises, LLC. Training and Boarding Facility, John Baird Horsemanship, The Rocking B Ranch Tack Store and we are both now also certified equine sports massage therapists. 
I highly recommend the Lyons Legacy training program to everyone, but especially my fellow veterans.  It is refreshing to find an actual trade school that is allowed to accept the GI Bill.  Whether you are looking to break out as a trainer or simply improve your riding skills beyond you wildest dreams, the Lyons Legacy School is for you!

Contact: Michele - Event Coordinator
8606 Guthrie Court
Cross Plains, Tennessee 37049
Phone: 970-309-8838
Email: info@lyonslegacy.com
Website: lyonslegacy.com

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