Clinician Brandi Lyons recounts a scary accident that rattled her confidence but ultimately taught her better horsemanship.
Brandi Lyons grew up horseback—literally. The daughter of renowned clinician John Lyons, she was around horsemen and studied horsemanship most of her life. She’d ridden horses in scary situations and was experienced for her age. Although the now 42-year-old has been confidently assisting clinic attendees and clients with their own problem horses since 1997, Lyons was faced with a fear-inducing incident.
Approximately 19 years ago, Lyons took on a client horse for training. A hot-tempered Warmblood, the horse bucked off Lyons, breaking multiple bones. While breaking bones is nothing new to horse trainers, Lyons was shaken to learn she was also pregnant. The resulting agony over whether or not the baby’s safety was at stake reduced the confident trainer to a shaken soon-to-be mom.
Today, Lyons has a healthy child. During the time it took her to heal and also give birth, Lyons dwelled on her mistakes in training that led to the accident.
“I got hyper-sensitive and [began] almost going overboard,” Lyons says of following the proper steps to start a horse with a solid foundation. “Then, I realized it was taking the fun out of it. I [wanted] to find a balance.”
The accident made Lyons question her training program and evolve it to work for herself, her clients and her horses. Though 50 percent of training is on the horse, Lyons believes she also has a large stake in being mentally tough enough to ride, train and connect. The process led her to create a month-long program open to the public, one that helps riders overcome fear.
“You develop good habits, get into a mental thought process and your horse gets it, too,” she says. “I want you to know that no matter what, you can overcome your own fear. Keep fighting the fight and enjoy your horses!”
Lyons lives outside of Scottsdale, Arizona, and trains horses for the public. She shares a training exercise in the June 2020 issue of Western Horseman.