Local ranch owners are experts at their craft

An animal instinct for communication

Author: Jay Blotcher
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2010

To build his credibility in the area, Bob Jeffries, co-owner of the Two As One Ranch in Middletown systematically and rather slyly promoted himself. He would board his horses at barns in the area, then take the animals for a ride when the owners of the boarding facilities were around. When they saw how smoothly the newcomer handled his horse, they besieged him to work his magic on their unruly mounts. Word of mouth soon established Jeffries as a horse trainer.


Jeffries has a preternatural instinct for communicating with these noble creatures and, more importantly, persuading them to do his bidding. He has created several teaching techniques for horses, including the Partnership Training for Horse & Rider® system and his unique Vowel Method of Applied Pressure.™ He wrote a book on the subject, It’s All About Breakthroughs! Jeffries gives much of the credit to other horse people. “You take a little bit from each person that you’ve ever worked with,” he said. “Even now, if I see something, I’ll just tweak it a little bit to fit my own system.”


Positive dynamics


Suzanne Sheppard, the Ranch’s other owner, is an accomplished trainer as well, and has her own line of instructional DVDs. Like Jeffries, she showed an early aptitude with horses.

Involved with horse rescue, she met Jeffries when an abused horse came into her life and she began a search for a trainer to restore the horse’s faith in people. Through hearty recommendations, she arrived on Jeffries’s property in 2000. In awe of his techniques, Sheppard began to hang around.


When he sized up the spirited, red-haired woman, the stubborn Jeffries laid down the law. His speech? “I don’t need a partner, just so you know,” Sheppard says, mimicking the man’s cadence. Jeffries’s protests made her all the more determined and she was soon a partner. “That’s kind of the key to our dynamic. We’re very best friends and I learn a lot from him, but I’m the biggest pain in his butt and I’m sure he’s the biggest pain in my butt. But we have a good time.”


The Jeffries and Sheppard methods emphasize training as a positive experience. “It’s kind of like a conversation that we have with the horse,” Sheppard said, referring to the body language she employs in training. “And if you make the conversation interesting and lively, and really get into it, they enjoy that.”

Learn life lessons from the trainers.

Jay Blotcher doesn’t know hay about horses. He writes often on a wide variety of topics for Hudson Valley Life.

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