Champion rider Lisa Johnson teaches students enrolled in her workshop at the 3i Show to know themselves by knowing horses.
Teaching people the importance of respect between horse and rider, Lisa Johnson, founder of "Reins for Renewal" and an Amateur Reining World Champion, one of her many championship titles, arrived at the 3i Show prepared to help all who were willing to watch and learn.
To start the three-day program, Johnson provided a "Groundwork 101" clinic on Thursday which focused on teaching people how to gain their horse’s respect on the ground. "If you don’t have their respect, all they’re going to do is mow you over and that’s how people get hurt," Johnson said.
A palomino mare, one Johnson has only had for two weeks, was the star of the session. She also let another mare loose in the arena as a way to distract the horse and to create a situation that would teach crowds the most.
During the clinic, Johnson worked with the mare until she was following commands when asked, such as changing in a circle. Johnson explained that although she is firm with her horses, she is completely against animal brutality.
"I want them to respect me, but I don’t want them to be scared," Johnson said.
During the afternoon, Johnson held a stick horse race for ages 4 to 10 and then a session strictly teaching how to get kids started right with their horses. Two miniature horses were brought in and children were allowed to enter the arena and take turns learning how to correctly lead a horse.
Johnson believes that it is incredibly important for kids to learn to be responsible for something other than their selves, and horses are great for this. "In a society that screams 'me, me, me' all the time, horses, and having to take care of them, are great lessons for kids," she said.
A mother of four, Johnson explained that a rule she enforces with her kids is that the horse’s needs come before their own. "It’s just them and their horse, and that horse is depending on them," she said.
Johnson founded Reins for Renewal five years ago when she was looking for a "happy medium" between competitive riding and riding for joy. At the time, she was gone almost every day of the week competing and began to feel burned out. Now, she spends time helping people build better relationships with their horses through clinics and also offers riding lessons at her home in Lewis, Kansas.
Reins for Renewal will be providing clinics on Friday and Saturday during the 3i Show, with three sessions each day.
Friday morning, Johnson will be teaching how to build confidence on the ground along with in the saddle, starting at 8 a.m. For riders looking to learn how to build a better connection between themselves and their horse, the 1:30 pm show will do just that.
On Saturday, Johnson will be teaching more advanced classes, including lead changes and lessons on the sport of reining and trail riding safety. All clinics are free to watch and begin at 8 a.m.
Johnson and the Renewal for Reins crew will also return to Dodge City to teach clinics in September and November. For more information, visit www.reinsforrenewal.com.