2-11-04

I started riding when I was ten when I got my first horse. I never had any formal riding lessons until I was eighteen so for the most part I learned how to ride by listening to others and watching. I remember one time trotting around the arena at the public stable where we boarded my horse and I was posting. An older friend of mine yelled to me "youíre on the wrong diagonal" and I asked what that was so she proceeded to explain to me that I should rise with the front leg that rises on the rail. I didnít know why and I didnít ask but took her word for it because she had been riding a lot longer. My first horse was much more educated than I was so he always took the correct lead for whatever direction we were going and I guess I could just feel it. Feeling and knowing which lead my horse was on came naturally to me. I also knew that most of the time my horse took his left lead when we were on a straight away. But I also felt that whenever he took whatever lead he was going into he would arc his neck and head in the opposite direction. I figured it was for balance. My first recollection of knowing what cross firing was when I was about fourteen and my parents were buying me another horse. It was a two year old (yes I know Ė Big Mistake) and it was playing in the round pen and it cross fired. The trainer who was presenting the horse at the time pointed it out said "you donít want to let the horse do that". I didnít know why.

I am 25 now and I have had the opportunity to work for a western pleasure trainer, a reining trainer, and a dressage trainer. First of all, the western pleasure trainer is a "poster child" for the Boz Bucking Dummy as she has been put in the hospital so many times I wonder why she still even likes horses let alone wants to train them. While she was able to get results when it came to loping and trotting a horse around in a circle, she could not teach me how to do flying lead changes, spins, prevent the horse from flipping its head up in the air, how to get the correct lead on a straight away or just simply getting a "hot" horse to walk quietly. The reining trainer was a joke. He just put me on finished horses to walk and trot on and every once in a while he would let me spin them under his supervision. I look back now to remember how fast we were spinning and heck we were only trotting. The dressage trainer was a real piece of work. She always made everything so hard to do that none of her students could ever attain success in a lesson, yet she set the standard for what they should aspire to. It was also very difficult for me to teach others her riding techniques. But since her clients were ignorant to the rest of the equine industry, they really thought the outrageous prices they paid for their horses, and their lessons with the little bit of results they did get was just fabulous. I finally quit working for her because I was tired of watching her give lessons where the people would not get anything done (and she knew it) but she would tell them they were getting a little better by her standards, they would come back so they could work on it more. On top of all this, people werenít having fun and they dreaded taking a lesson.

I have always competed in gymkhana and barrel racing and my goal is to be a world champion barrel racer. In 2002 I made Hall of Fame on the first purebred Arabian to ever make it in the history of the California Gymkhana Association. If you are not familiar with this, there are 13 events and you have to run 3 times in 12 events in the fastest rating matrix which is the AAA+ division. That year my horse and I were rated number 8 in the Elite Top Ten CGA horses. There are about 5000 members who compete all over the state. A few months before I finished my Hall O Fame my boyfriend spoke with Boz and we received the videos and the Riding by Reasoning booklet. We watched the videos and I learned how to stop my horse better just from the video. Coincidently the last event I needed for my Hall of Fame was keyhole. My boyfriend told me he was going to the first Boz clinic in August of 2002 with or without me. As you can guess I went.

The first thing Boz said to me when he watched me ride was "so you are one of the best riders in your association huh? Youíre barely an intermediate by my standards." This was pretty tuff to take because I have a bigger ego than anyone I have ever met. I mean really sometimes I donít know how I can fit my head through the door. There was this one student there who really wowed me even more so than what Boz was doing on his horse and if anything else I wanted to learn the Boz stuff so I could be better than her. That weekend was absolutely priceless. I learned how to stop, back, side pass, get the correct lead whenever, wherever I want it, flying lead changes, why you post on certain diagonals how to teach my horse to play game over because, after all, anybody can make a horse go fast, but it takes skill and some thinking to teach them to walk quietly. Best of all, I learned that God gave my two ears and one mouth so I could listen twice as much as talk (which I have to be reminded of every now and then). But all these things are just to name a few of the things I have learned.

It has been almost 2 years now and I have only missed two clinics, one due to a flat tire and the other because I had just broken my arm two weeks before (yes horse related, it was user error) and was having surgery the week of the clinic. The following clinic I went to up in the mountains and just watched and took notes because I could not ride yet. I have been to many private riding lessons. I get up at about 4 in the morning and drive for 4 hours with 2 horses to take an hour lesson, load them back up and drive all the way home. After I get done paying Boz for his time I canít thank him enough for taking time out of his day to work with me. I know he doesnít do it for the money, the way other trainers do. It makes him look better when I do well when I go out and compete. It makes him look better when I can teach the Boz system to my students now and they do well and it makes me look better too. Ultimately it is promoting the legacy of Monte Foreman who was around long before Pat Pareli and John Lyons. All of my horses can do the maneuvers, not just one like most people have one great horse in their whole life. The difference in me and students of the Boz program is that we can ride anybodyís horses but they canít ride ours. We have better horsemanship skills and we can do more than just run around a barrel, or chase cattle into a pen or jump a 2 ft jump or trot in a spin, we can gallop in a spin and a whole lot more. We definitely back up whatever we say in "Riding" and for those who like to sit around the campfire and tell stories about how good they are, they usually donít last very long. We all see who has been practicing and who hasnít when it comes time to ride and I know I have learned a lot from watching others at the clinic and then trying the maneuvers myself. The clinics are a must in any training regimen no matter how much of a beginner you are or how advanced you think you are. Boz will always spend more time with beginners and he will always throw new stuff at the more advance riders to work on. It is a great experience for your horse too. To top it all off, I have never eaten better in my entire life or had more fun riding my horses anywhere.

Please do not balk at the cost of the Boz clinics or lessons. When I look back on how much money I spent on getting my Bachelors and Masters Degree from Cal Poly Pomona I cannot even put a figure on it. It cost more in time and energy driving to school, sitting through class, writing my thesis than it could ever cost in money. I just think of the Boz Obsession program as furthering my equine education. I am paying my dues because I want to be the best at whatever I do on horseback. And even if you do not compete with your horse and you just trail ride, Boz can teach you how to ride down the trail better and how to get your horse more responsive when doing so and to be safe. Besides, if you had the opportunity to go take golf lessons with Tiger Woods or take basketball lessons from Michael Jordan you would wouldnít you? And you canít just call up pat Pareli or John Lyons and ask them a question about picking up a lead or half passing down the middle of your arena like you can with Boz.

Becky Amio

20224 Grande Vista St.

Apple Valley Ca. 92308

(760) 240-7092

beckyamio@gmail.com