April 3, 2009
I started my horsemanship journey at the age of 48
when I rescued Foxtail, a 5 month old TWH. Around 3
years of age, he was started under saddle by
somebody else who had no experience with gaited
horses. That's when someone recommended
Blackthorn Farms. Foxtail was there for 6 weeks and
it was the best decision I ever made.
They have a lot of knowledge and experience with
gaited horses, which helped me to be a more
confident and better rider. I was taught important
ground work exercises, along with understanding why
I was doing them. Jim and Eric are so patient with
horse and owner, and take a person where they are
at with their horse and help them to excel to the
next level. Their passion for horses is evident and
they help people like me, to have a better
partnership with their horse.
I drove all the way from Conyers to Cumming for Jim
to work with me and Foxtail during the week, and it
was well worth it! It was important for me to find a
place that I felt comfortable leaving my horse at for
training and Blackthorn Farms trains by natural
horsemanship, opposed to training by force and
I highly recommend them to anyone who wants their
horse trained under saddle or just needs lessons.
They also work with problem horses that have issues.
You won't be disappointed!
Not only are my lessons at Blackthorn
Farms a blast, but practical. As an
adult rider, I need useful information
that I can leave with and take to the
trails. Eric's credentials speak for
themselves and Jim uses patience and
great ideas to make riding safe and
All things good
Karen H. Cumming GA
My horse has foundered, it isn't the first time. I am so worried, I
just can't lose her. Eric shows up and goes to work. That was
nearly a year ago and she is almost sound. He is a farrier, but he
is also open to learning and he cared that I was upset.
Rocky won't get near even a puddle of water! Some trail horse. I
called Jim. By the time he got done, Rocky and I were swimming in
the pond! He gently introduced Rocky to the water and waited for
him to decide it wasn't such an awful thing after all. Trigger would
shake his head and give me that ole "I don't wanna" attitude. A
month with Jim and we breeze down the trails and everything is
fun. The three horses we have purchased from Blackthorn have
been such a delight! Silhouette of Shadow, we call her Fancy, is
the most awesome horse. I can take her and show her on
Saturday (she holds 3 all around season championships) then hit
the trails on Sunday. She leads the way and all my trail riding
friends use her as an example of what they want when they buy a
horse. Jim said Red Cloud was just a good honest horse. What
came out was a personality to die for. Red and Trigger play jolly
ball in the pasture and keep us entertained. Red follows me
everywhere and has become a real people lover. On the trails, he
can't be beat and he loves his time out there. Everyone is always
telling me how lucky I am to have him. Then there's Jake.....this
was Eric's show horse. A TWH, totally black and gorgeous. I was
bonkers over him the first time I laid eyes on him. After a show
career and then standing at stud, the Gray family wanted him to
live out his life as just a horse. Now he rolls in mud puddles, glides
down the trails and runs the pasture with his buddies. My friends
tell me I take my Lambrogini four wheeling! You see, Blackthorn
Farms and the Gray family, horses aren't just their business, they
are the love of their lives. To take a horse like Cash's Big Jake out
of the 1987 World Champion TWH and allow him to live out his life
with me.....well, what other way do you tell a horse that you love
him than to turn him lose? Sarah's big smile and caring attitude
start lots of young riders off on the right foot. I hear Jim telling
me to look where I want my horse to go and breathe, in my sleep!
Robin with that all knowing grin supervising. Eric and his work with
Johnny Cash, the mustang made my heart smile. Backthorn farms,
hmmm. Don't come unless you love horses. You will leave feeling
like life really is grand cause you have a new "family."
Hey Eric, I think the event was great wish we had more to
attend, too many other events going on and with the
pretty weather people wanted to be outside I guess. But
we are planning more and would love to have you as a part
of them. In the meantime if you think of any events or
classes we could hold please let us know your thoughts.
Not only are you a great clinician you are a great
communicator as well.
Thanks again for being a part of our Horse Owner
Boss Brothers Country Store
We have had several horses in training over the years first with Jim and later with Eric Gray. The
horses have come home calmer, and smoother and so have their owners. In addition we have bought
and sold horses through Blackthorn Farms with much success and satisfaction.
Pat and Lewis
We have purchased two Tennessee Walkers
from Blackthorn Farms. The Gray's were
excellent to deal with and very
knowledgeable about the breed and what
we should expect. The horses were well
cared for and were ready to go - very well
trained. We highly recommend Blackthorn
Farms to others.
Sincerely, The Fords, Alpharetta, Georgia
We found Blackthorn Farm after a long search for a farrier that understood the needs of a gaited horse. This is how
we came to know Eric Gray and his father. Blackthorn Farms based in Cumming, GA and our farm in Covington, GA was
a long trip for any farrier to take, but Eric did. The differences and enhancements he made to the gaites of my
geldings was awesome. His father offered us valuable information on bit selection and posture to attain the gaites we
knew our horse had. We had tried farrier after farrier and could not seem to attain the results that we saw after Eric
shod our horses. To go one step further, we moved last year even further away. Eric could not make the 3 hour trip
but he took the time to contact the farrier we found down here and explain the type of shoes and the angles that
each my geldings needed to maintain the smoothness in their gaits. Thank you Eric Gray & Everyone at Blackthorn
Farms for going the extra mile!
July 12, 2009
I want to thank you for the excellent work you did with my mare, Amour. As
you had asked, I provided a list of "problems" to be worked on and goals we
wanted to achieve with the training. You gave us more time and effort than
promised. Each goal was met and most were exceeded. My horse is calm
and responsive and we have the tools to continue a fun and safe
relationship. Thank you for your extreme patience and persistence with
both human and equine. With enthusiasm, I would be happy to recommend
you and Blackthorn Farms to my fellow equestrians.
Thank you again.
I thoroughly enjoyed your clinic yesterday and I learned so much. Your method is quite different from what others have taught me
about gaited horses. Your approach makes much more sense, and I especially like that it is kinder and gentler for the horse. I am
excited about practicing the techniques I learned from you and Alexa. I know Stuff will be glad. I hope that I will have the opportunity
to participate in other clinics of yours, or perhaps come for a private lesson. Could you give me information about clinics or private
lessons? I would greatly appreciate recommendations about the bit, reins, slobber straps, chin strap, etc. that you think are best.
Thanks again for a superb clinic.
This was a giant surprise! The Get the Gait Clinic promoted
solid horsemanship. "Save the Horses" was more than just
the location of this great event - it was the message
taught by Eric and Alexa.
Excellent facility for learning from scratch or just fine
tuning your skills. Eric's program of becoming a
partner with your horse - not just a passenger - was
I just wanted to thank you for a great clinic.I feel
like it will really help me enjoy my horse more and be
safer.Will try my best to make the next one.