I am Lona Boyd, owner and trainer at LL Boyd Equestrian, located in Tyler, Texas near Lindale, Texas. I am a USEF Certified Horse Trainer and coach high school and middle school IEA equestrian horse teams.
I have had a love of horses for as long as I can remember. I was raised on a dairy farm and remember every Christmas going to the barn, expecting to see a horse from Santa! How disappointed was I to have a doll under the tree instead of a horse in the barn! Finally, my dad had grown weary of me riding his dairy cows so he got me my first horse, named Bell, on my sixth birthday. I had no saddle and the only instruction came when I climbed on her back and she would not take a step forward. When I bewilderedly asked what to do to make her go, I was told to KICK! I was riding my horse! I learned to ride by riding up and down the hilly cow meadow. I would fall off her, thinking she had bucked me off, but she would patiently stand there and wait for me to crawl back onto her back and off we would go again! Now I know that was the process of my learning to canter. She would canter and I would fall off until I learned to balance on her back.
I began my equine career as a working student at a thirty-stall paint horse show barn in Prosper, TX. There I learned all aspects of horse care. From mucking stalls to feed management to halter breaking weanlings to conditioning yearlings for sale, to starting 2 year olds under saddle and training hunters for the show ring.
My first paying job came as foreman of a cutting horse ranch in the same area. I was in charge of overseeing the daily operation of the horse ranch and also halter breaking weanlings, starting 2 year olds under saddle and working turnback for the cutting trainers as they started cutting training on the youngsters I had started under saddle.
Knowing the Western disciplines were not really my passion, I moved to the East Coast and got a job at a commercial hunter and jumper horse sale barn in Unionville PA, owned and operated by Vince Dugan. There I gained much experience in hunter equitation and jumping on many different types of horses. I also had the opportunity to take the sale horses out on the local fox hunts with the Cheshire Hunt Club, where I developed a love of cross-country galloping and jumping!
It was there that I was offered a job at a thoroughbred race horse training center exercising young horses cross country to build their endurance and muscling for the race track. We would take a group of 4-6 youngsters out and gallop unhindered through miles of fenceless countryside. The youngsters would get their sprints up a hill we dubbed “Crazy Horse Hill”.
After getting the race horse fever, I came back to Texas and went to work at a thoroughbred horse breeding and training facility where I started the youngsters under saddle, taking them through the complete process of conditioning, training them to break properly from the starting gates, taking them to the track to get their official works and gate cards and riding them in their training races. I worked hard and got my trainer’s license and trained and ran thoroughbreds for several years before taking a job for Jack Van Berg in Kentucky at his 500 acre breeding and training center. Jack was voted thoroughbred trainer of the year that year for his work with Allysheba in the thoroughbred racing industry.
Upon returning to Tyler TX, I wanted to compete in the sport of eventing and went to Yorkshire, England to study with Cristopher and Jane Bartle at their Yorkshire Riding Center. Both Cristopher and Jane are former Olympians. Cristopher specializes in eventing and Jane in dressage.
I competed in eventing successfully on my Irish Sport Horse, Shamrock, through the preliminary level under the tutelage of eventing greats David and Karen O’Connor, Mike Huber, the late Alyce Hinkle, and Jimmy Wofford.
After going through a life-altering ordeal, I came to realize that what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life was to pass on my knowledge and passion for horses and horsemanship skills and focus on teaching others in East Texas.
I chose to take the hunter/jumper route. I loved eventing, but would rather bring youngsters up through the hunter equitation ranks whereby they learn correct equitation skills they can carry to whatever discipline they may choose. I have followed the teachings of George Morris and audited many of his clinics, attended clinics with Bernie Traurig and other hunter/jumper greats such as Gregg Best and Melanie Smith Taylor.
USHJA Certified Trainer - Tyler/Lindale, Texas
IEA Coach - Tyler/Lindale, Texas