Over the years, John has been the senior partner in a firm of chartered architects, director of a leisure consultancy company, an expert witness in buildings-related litigation cases, author of advisory text for facilities and curriculum for physical education in Scotland and a Western Equestrian Society approved riding instructor.
His hobbies have included golf, dinghy racing, gardening and plant rearing, poultry breeding, bee keeping, photography, art, yoga, horse riding, driving fast cars, teaching and recently, archery/arrow making.
In recent years he has focused on making his home and facilities at Blackford Glen into a place where fellowship, co-operation and enjoyment are the order of the day. Horse lovers, beekeepers, botanists, gardeners, musicians, people with vision, and people who are lost can all feel at home there. Like-minded people can be made welcome.
A major passion of his, developed over the last 20 years, was to promote Western riding, and to support people who train their own horses. Horses and people need to be able to enjoy their life together.
Having studied the techniques of renowned American and European Western riders and trainers, their ways, attitudes and skills, John eventually zoned in on the physical language they all used to communicate with their horses.
He wrote down his findings and they became the foundation for his teaching of people and horses.
He taught for several years before being persuaded by Bob Mayhew to acquire a Western Equestrian Society instructor’s qualification. Over time, John has taught and mentored people of all levels of experience and has encouraged many to purchase horses to be trained and ridden in the western way.
Message from John: –
My five-star pupil, Olivia Lochhead, became FEQHA European Senior Ranch Riding Champion in 2019.
I can’t take all the credit for that of course. She has picked the brains of several other Western teachers and put in a power of work on her way to becoming a horse trainer, clinician and Champion competitor.
She came to my yard for lessons when she was twelve and I mentored her for about 10 years. Over that time, she became an accomplished Western rider and determined to make a life and career for herself in the world of western horsemanship. She has done that in style. Onwards and upwards, Olivia.
I have of course helped many others with their riding skills but Olivia’s outstanding achievement this year made me think that this might be a good time to retire from being a Western Instructor. That will make it the third career I will have retired from.
Architecture, Leisure Consultancy and Western riding consultancy have all given me satisfaction, a modicum of success and a lot of personal pleasure. Whether they know it or not, personal pleasure is what people live for and want to keep living for.
Don’t think I will be looking for another career. I will just sit in an arm chair all day watching daytime tv. Is that not what an old person is supposed to do? Don’t think that’s altogether me. Beekeeping, poultry breeding, arrow making and a bit of horse riding will probably be enough to keep me from pining away.
I thank everyone who allowed me and encouraged me to pass on my knowledge. I may not be teaching Western Horsemanship anymore, but my door is always open for a chat on the subject.
I will also host like-minded instructors, trainers and experts to run clinics, seminars and demonstrations at Blackford Glen so keep an eye on the Events Page on this website.
My thanks to all for making my life, so far, seriously interesting.
Use the contact form on this site to contact John.
John promises to post stuff, from time to time, on this site’s blog page under the categories ‘John’s Ramblings’ and ‘Training People and Horses’.