A New Foundation
Bud Lyon grew up in the horse world. He started showing at a very young age and has been hooked ever since. Lyon started in 4-H and quickly moved to the AQHA circuits. During his youth career, he won multiple AQHA World Championship titles. Following his youth years, he went to California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) and earned a degree in animal science. Once he graduated, he started his career by entering the industry as a trainer.
We all know the saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. This phrase can ring true in the horse world from time to time. Lyon experienced a moment like this shortly after beginning his own training business in 2008. Lyon started out riding two-year-olds and one day he had an incident with one crushing his arm. With only one useful arm, it becomes impossible to ride two-year-olds. This altered his career plans and he had to make adjustments accordingly.
“I opened my business in Scottsdale, Arizona and it was going great for the first few months,” Lyon said. “Then I had an accident where a two-year-old fell on top of me and shattered my arm. Most of my horses at the time were two-year-olds and they needed two hands, but I couldn’t use one of them for a while. It effectively put me out of business. Through a chain of events I ended up moving to Texas and starting my business up again.”
The move caused a shift in the discipline Lyon was training. When he started back up in Texas he began having clients with the need for reining and ranch riding horses, although recently he has seen the number of cow horse clients return.
“When I moved to Texas I didn’t draw the people who wanted to do the cow horse as much,” Lyon said. “When I reopened, the need for cow horse trainers wasn’t as prevalent. The kind of clientele that sent me horses was for reining. It’s just sort of the direction my career has gone. Since then it has shifted with the emergence of the ranch riding. We’ve picked up a number of clients who are interested in ranch riding in addition to the reining. Now with the reined cow horse shows relocating to the Fort Worth area, we have seen an uptick in interest around here, so we are starting to get more cow horse clients. A lot of it has to do sometimes just with the clientele you have and what their interest level is.”
The reining, reined cow horse and ranch riding events sparked Lyon’s interest after college. He grew up doing the all-around events, but loved the intensity and difficulty of those disciplines.
“I think it’s just something that fulfills me on a personal level and somewhat of a creative level,” Lyon said. “I think there is a real challenge in those events. I found that horse training in general is a little bit like a puzzle. Each horse is a different puzzle and trying to solve those puzzles is what I get a lot of enjoyment and fulfillment out of. The reining especially in my opinion is one of the more difficult puzzles to solve. I think that a lot of it has to do with the mental challenge of making those horses as good as you can and teaching them that they have to perform at a very high level. With the cow horse you have the same idea with a little different dynamic because of the cattle. There is that x factor and you never know exactly what you are going to get when the gate opens. That keeps it exciting, fresh and challenging. With the emergence of the ranch riding over the last few years, we’ve created this class that really has become a great second avenue for our reining horses and reined cow horses. It gives them the ability to compete and practice the same fundamentals for the other disciplines, but execute them in a different manner. Each of those events has its own challenges and set of difficulties that keep things interesting and provide the most spark in my life.”
Lyon is one of the originals to the Kimes Ranch Family. He knew Matt and Amanda long before the success of the company. He has loved the brand since day one and always wants to show off the newest apparel.
“Matt and Amanda and I have been friends long before the spark for Kimes Ranch jeans came along,” Lyon said. “I’ve known Matt probably since 1995. He was showing pretty heavily in the reining. I’m a little bit younger than Matt, so I was watching him from the stands when he rode with Al Dunning. As I got older, Matt and I connected on a friendship basis. Amanda came along, and she and I became friends as well. They ended up getting married and I was pretty much there for all of that before Kimes Ranch came along. When they created this awesome product basically out of their house and went on to build this brand, I was lucky enough to be their guinea pig and test out their early samples. Eventually I was fortunate enough that they were willing to let me wear their logo and represent their brand.”
Kimes Ranch offers multiple styles of men’s jeans and Lyon has tried them all. He has a few favorites he wears when riding or doing anything else.
“The one I wear the most is the Cal,” Lyon said. “I just got a pair of the Raw James and I’m a big fan of those. I certainly have multiple pairs of the Watson and the Watson 2.0. I think at one point I have tried every style. I’m always badgering them to be the first guy to try on the new style.”
Bud Lyon Performance Horses has a solid foundation and steadfast plan for the future. The business strives to put the horse first and be the best horseman possible in all facets.
“I think the goal is to always provide the best service we can to our clientele,” Lyon said. “The plans are to continue to grow our business and provide a service that allows clients to be successful in and out of the arena. We want to be competitive as well. We are always happy and grateful for our clients and horses, but we are never satisfied with what we did in the past. We are always looking toward the future. We want to be as competitive as we can within our industry. On a simple level the goal is always to be a good horseman first and foremost. I want to put those horses first and do the right thing by them. If we’ve done that we feel like we have been successful.”
We are very grateful for Bud Lyon to continue to be a member of our team. We look forward to watching the rest of the 2018 season and wish him the best of luck!
~ Courtney Hall, Photos Courtesy of Bud Lyon, Impulse Photography, and KC Montgomery Photography