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Trick Training Clinician Draws Large Crowd

More than 400 youth and leaders pre-registered to attend the 2009 Youth Extravaganza co-hosted by the Manitoba 4-H Program and the North American Equine Ranching Information Council (NAERIC). The Youth Extravaganza was held Oct. 23 during the Wheat City Stampede – a weekend full of equine activities and attractions, at the Westoba Agricultural Centre of Excellence Arena in Brandon, Manitoba.

Youth and youth group leaders in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwestern Ontario and North Dakota were extended an invitation to attend this complimentary “Step By Step Trick Training” demonstration, presented by clinician Jackie Johnson of Regina.

“I have been training my horses to bow, lay down, and sit up for most of my life,” Johnson said. In 2004, she published her training notes and experiences in a book called Step By Step Trick Training, to help average horse owners experience, and enjoy, a magical bond with their own horses.

Johnson’s equine assistants were “Reamo” a 12-year-old palomino quarter-horse gelding, “Avro” a six-year-old Paint mare, and “Griffon,” a yearling Percheron gelding, bred by equine ranchers, Robert and Marilyn Warkentin of Virden. Her human assistants in the ring were Megan Charnock and Sparky Berthelot, along with a number of youth volunteers from the audience.

“The most important thing I try to impart to my students is to ‘stay safe and have fun,’” Johnson said. “The most difficult trick to teach to horses is the ‘bow,’ because it involves so much trust on the part of the horse. I teach the tricks in a sequence beginning with the head tricks, such as nodding ‘yes,’ or shaking ‘no.’

“Then I progress to tricks with the front legs. Then I involve the rest of the body, and then finish up with the ‘rear.’”

Johnson said she was pleased with the turnout at this Youth Extravaganza. “The crowd was enthusiastic; we had many hands up to volunteer with the horses. Some folks even stayed after our demonstration to ask more questions and see more tricks,” she said.

Johnson’s 21st century training methods are used in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the United Arab Emirates, the U. S., and Canada. In 2007, Jackie spent extensive time working with, and training, the equine stunt crew and the horses of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. With movie credits such as “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The Englishman’s Boy,” and “Population 436,” Johnson and her horses have done a bit of stunt work for the film industry, but she prefers spending the majority of her time teaching people how to train their horses to have their own “movie magic.”

Never one to keep training secrets, Jackie Johnson, and her horses, offer an attainable, detailed, and educational look at trick training which can be appreciated by horse folks of every level! For more information, visit:

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