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Teaching the Art

of Reading the Heart


Who's Ann Kirk?

From the time she was very young, Ann Kirk knew she wanted to spend her life working with horses. Born to Ted and Ione Simpson on a farm in Eastern Washington, she grew up riding horses for work and pleasure nearly every day. Her family consisted of 7 girls and 1 boy who used the horse as their main source of entertainment. She was riding by herself by the age of 3 and, even after breaking her arm in a riding mishap, she could not stay off for long.

Her first horse was a buckskin filly named Lacy. When Lacy tragically died from a severed artery in her leg, Ann was given Rocky, a palomino gelding, to be her childhood mate. And mates they were! Rocky was the fastest horse on the place and the sisters raced often to be certain. Ann would give the others varying lengths of head-starts but that just made Rocky try harder. If he had the distance, he always 

won the race. He was also an excellent stock horse. Moving the dairy cattle from one mountain pasture to another was a favorite event on the farm. Rocky could stop, turn, catch and cut with the best of them. But all the hours of fun playing the games that little girls play are just too numerous to tell.

Though painfully shy as a girl, Ann loved to teach. She was often in trouble for riding the other girls? horses and for trying to teach her sisters when they didn't want to be taught by her. Though she did not like sharing Rocky with them, she was fascinated to feel the difference in each horse. And when she discovered how to teach Rocky something new, like rearing on command or standing on a stump, she was intent on practicing on as many others as she could get away with. Little did she know that this passion for learning and teaching would lead to a career with people and horses. Her father helped her train her first horse at the age of 14 which ignited the passion even more. By the time she was out of high school, she had started 3 or 4 and was still at it when she married her husband, Jim.

Ann believes 3 major events have combined to bring her to where she is today. First, in 1986, she attended her first riding clinic with Pat Wyse from Montana. She was amazed at how much she had to learn about a subject she thought she knew fairly well. She attended 3 more in the next 3 years which just intensified her quest for knowledge and for sharing all that she learned with anyone who would listen.

Second, she saw her first John Lyon's video of round pen training and was captivated by the concept. It excited her so much; she could not get her hands on enough horses to test it out and was overjoyed when it worked on every one! Ann Kirk has been following the Lyons methods ever since. As with any compulsive teacher, she has added things here and there but has remained true to the basic principles and concepts. She has been starting young stock and retraining problem horses at her Washington home for over 30 years, all the while refining her skill and techniques in reaching the equine mind. 

She may have remained there if not for the third event that took place in 2005 when Ann went to a 3-day clinic taught by Josh Lyons. While at the clinic, Ann was offered a month long, private session by Josh to enhance her knowledge for finishing a performance horse. Ann did not know at the time that it was the beginning of the Josh Lyon's Accreditation Program; she was just overjoyed at the opportunity to learn from such a prominent teacher of her favorite methods.

In December of 2005, Ann became one the first two Josh Lyon's Accredited Trainers and it has been life-changing in her approach to the horse industry. She is now focusing her energies on programs to give the every-day horse owner the opportunity that has changed her life. She knows the key to success lies in the horse/rider connection and has set out to teach any who want to learn the dynamics of this combo. Starting in 2006, Ann was a presenter at Ride the West Horse & Ranch Expo in Spokane, WA until it closed. Also in 2006, she audited 2 sessions of the John and Josh Lyon?s Certification Program and participated in a week-long Professional Trainer's Clinic taught by John Lyons. Her greatest reward is seeing the smiles on clients' faces and the light of hope in their eyes when they realize that they, too, can have a safe and enjoyable journey with their horses.

And I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28