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 submission.

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!

Cindy Woodrum
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 fun!

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."

Sandy Stephenson
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 University.

Susan Boss
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!

Sandra Arthur
Jackson, Georgia
July 12, 2009

Dear Eric,
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.

Cindy Groom

Hi Eric,
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.

Nancy Schwartz
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 invaluable!

Joy Corcoran
Hi Eric,
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.

Laura Mansour
CTHA News Letter Nov 2013