Reviews of the Training Program

Jose's Blog: Life as a Trip


Gina and Lewis: We spent 10 great days living and working with Pat and John at their amazing ranch/school/creative space, totally isolated and surrounded by beautiful canyon landscapes. Don't come here if you want to just chill out and do your own thing, but definitely DO come here if you want an opportunity to learn some fantastic skills, meet some welcoming and interesting people and get a once in a lifetime experience to work with wild mustangs in pretty idyllic surroundings! We quickly found ourselves adjusted to the early starts and morning chores, and felt healthier for it. A highlight of our trip and I was sad to leave - we had a flight booked otherwise, I would have loved to stay longer! Thank you again Pay and John!

Heather: I stayed for six months at Mustang Camp. John and Patricia are very welcoming and caring. It is a great opportunity to improve your horse handling skills and to learn about ABA. I learned the theory behind gentling a mustang using clicker training and had the chance to put this learning into practice. I took two of the El Rito ponies almost completely through Pat's program and assisted with the saddle training of three returned horses. I was allowed to take Jericho completely through the saddle training steps. I also had the opportunity to help train at least 15 other horses in various stages of the program. Pat also gave me a riding lessons on her hinny, Cracker, and allowed Sasha and me to practice Linda Benedik riding exercises with him in the round pen. Pat and John had taken in 12 wild burros as a favor to an overcrowded donkey rescue, sadly three of the donkeys succumbed to colic. I learned how to administer medicine orally and through injection. The "wild" burros became tame very quickly. Also the dogs at Largo Canyon School are available to practice trick training though we tried for ages to teach Roy to howl or sing on command without much success. He learned to open his jaws wide on command instead. I also learned how to train a horse to drive. John had started building a training cart when I left. I also learned the basics of hoof trimming with nippers and the grinder and was allowed to trim the hooves of two horses under Pat's supervision. Dasher was an El Rito pony recovering from a frost bite injury to her hoof, so I also learned how to clean, pack, and dress a hoof wound. I also got to help Pat with the greenhouse and garden, and we had delicious vegetables and tomatoes all summer long. All in all a wonderful school in which you will be surrounded by horses and beautiful landscape.

Lisa Munz: Patricia and John taught me many things I hadn't known, even though I've spent all my life around horses. Training wild horses is such a unique experience, they look right inside your soul. I had a very special connection to the 4 Mustangs I got to train on my own. Patricia's training methods are a wonderful way to get a wild horse to trust you. She is a very nice woman, when she can trust and count on you. The surrounding area is very beautiful. In my free time I went for several hikes around the area. John and Patricia are very friendly and took good care of me. The food was good, accomodation was clean and comfortable. Not 5 star or luxury but for real animal lovers it's just perfect.

Armina: Patricia and John welcomed me very generously into their home-school-ranch, despite my complete lack of experience with horses. For this and for everything else that they (and their animal companions) have taught me, directly or indirectly, in the two weeks I spent in Largo Canyon, I am very grateful.

The work was often monotonous, and quite widely spread out throughout the day, starting at dawn and wrapping up at dusk, but when all the work you do is so strikingly connected to the magnificent wild mustangs, even cleaning poo can seem like a fun though neverending chore! While the practical chores (feeding the horses twice a day, cleaning their corrals, giving them water) amounted to less than 4 hours in the day, I also got the chance to assist Patricia in her gentling process of some of the mustangs, really a humbling experience for perhaps their least-experienced workawayer to date. This couldn´t really be classified as ¨work¨ but more as a priceless opportunity to learn how to engage with fascinating beings, which are being dealt with in a shameful manner, on a more national level.

The learning curve may have been a slow and bumpy one for me, but I left the place with a lot more tangible stories and experiences than I would have expected.

My hosts were the kind of people I would like to grow up into, if I decide to live in the desert training horses. In addition to the hands-on experiences, I was also inspired by their entire business plans, and during my two weeks at their Mustang Camp, I also read one of the best and most personally influential books in a long time, thanks for a recommendation from Pat.

Oh, and I really miss all of John´s cooking!

All in all, a truly recommendable place to volunteer, if you have any interest in the equine species! I hope to get to a stage in my life where I can further develop the skills and interests that were awakened in this place.


Helper: Eloise Glassborow
From: United Kingdom     Date: February 27, 2012
I am long overdue writing this review and I really have no excuse! I stayed at Mustang Camp for a month in May 2011. It is a really amazing opportunity, Patricia knows so much, and the training programme is very interesting and inspiring, very eye opening.
I really enjoyed my time at mustang camp, I learnt a huge amount from Patricia, and it is an opportunity that I would not have had at home in England.
Patricia and John are very kind, and interesting people, lots of stories and great conversation!
I had such a great experience, and I hope that I might be able to come back sometime! Thank you very much for having me!

Helper: Richard Scharff   
From: United States     Date: April 3, 2011
I stayed here for about two months and, considered staying longer I learned a ton of stuff about training horses and had a great time. I really think what Pats doing with those horses is great and she really knows what she's doing. I'm even seriously considering going back. Pats husband John is a great guy who's very interesting and easy to talk too. Cool people and interesting place.

Helper: Alan Daring    
From: United Kingdom     Date: November 28, 2010
I stayed with Pat and John for just over a week and it was exactly what I was looking for: Working outdoors in the real American west, meeting great people and the opportunity to learn new skills. I was lucky enough to start the same day a brand new band of wild mustangs was brought in and Pat involved me right from the start (day one, Pat had me in the ring pen with a mustang -properly supervised and instructed of course!). I was able to so clearly see the progress in the horses using the techniques Pat practices and I found the experience totally rewarding. If you are prepared to immerse yourself and work hard, you will be provided with every opportunity to learn and have a great time. Both John and Pat made me feel right at home and I will miss our conversations over John's excellent home cooked meals, the dogs, and of course the horses!

All in all an incredible experience and I'm sure it will be a highlight of my trip in the US.

Helper: Leah Houghton    
From: United States     Date: November 26, 2010
Mustang training in the Largo Canyon is a very unique experience; the days are long, but the work is incredibly rewarding. Even during a short stay you see changes in the behavior of the mustangs; changes you help to make in a non-stressful, nurturing way. Patricia and John are kind, pure people. The Canyon is pretty isolated, but it's hard to get board with the work and the opportunities of riding lessons and hikes to see the Native American ruins. New Mexico has a landscape like no other, and the Largo Canyon is a memorable experience.

Helper: Lotte Van laer
From: Belgium     Date: November 22, 2010
I spent 3 weeks with Pat and John in September 2010 and it turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Pat and John live in a beautiful place, in the middle of nowhere, and it will blow you away. I did have to work hard here, but it was very rewarding. You get so much in return from Pat, John and all the animals. Be prepared to fall in love with this place and its inhabitants. You will probably be tempted to take one of the stangs home :-). You might also want to take John home to cook for you..he really is a fabulous cook! An amazing experience I would recommend it to anyone!

Helper: David Christensen    
From: United States     Date: November 14, 2010
I spend about 3 weeks with Pat and John in September 2010. It was a wonderful stay. I've worked with horses on and off all my life but nothing compares with the learning experience at Yr OKEY Corral!

Thanks Pat for teaching me so much!

Helper: Sarah Kelson    
From: United States     Date: November 11, 2010
Pat and John gave me an amazing first experience using helpx. I really enjoyed being with them. I wanted to learn more about horses and thats exactly what I achieved. I was able to watch some informational dvds on training, read books, and work sun up to sun down with the wild mustangs. I felt at home while I was there and John always had a great meal on the table! Couldn't of asked for a better experience. Thanks!!!!

For anyone going I highly recommend sun block ;).

Helper: Santiago Diaz    
From: United States     Date: July 29, 2010
AWESOME experience! i spent a bit more than a month with Pat and John at Largo Canyon School, and ill be back for more! this was my first helpx experience and it was SO good.

lots of work. loooots of work! but i learned so many new things, ate so much good food, enjoyed so many beautiful sunsets, and had such a good time with the people and animals there, that i feel it more than balanced it out.

every day and almost every hour there you'll be thinking about horses although i didnt do as much studying as the ad sais i should have :)

totally recommend it to anyone who wants to be engulfed in the world of horses
thanks pat and john! see you guys later!

Helper: Elizabeth O'Sullivan
From: Australia     Date: May 27, 2009
I just spent one week here. My only regret was that I did not have more time. Patricia and John are a welcoming, generous couple. I haven't had much experience with horses at all, but in only one week I learned so much about working with mustangs, amongst many other things! If there is something you want to learn, Patricia and John will go out of their way to help you.
I made great friends with the horses, donkeys, mules and dogs that pretty much come as a package at the school. The ranch is really beautiful, right in the middle of the canyon. The building itself was an old school that has been reconverted by the amazingly handy pair. It was a really rewarding experience to be able to work with these wild mustangs and meet other travelers in such a family like setting, not to mention the great meals shared together. I highly recommend the Largo Canyon School and Patricia and John as fantastic hosts.

Helper: Stefan Wöll    
From: Germany     Date: October 29, 2008
I'm 17 years old and I spent 5 weeks here, this summer(2008).
Patricia and John are unbelievable nice and giving persons, and you don't meet people like them often in your life!!!
They were incredibly giving!
Patricia teached me how to ride horses(I never really rode a horse by myself in my life, and just after 2 week then, I was able to ride 20 miles at just one day!), they teached me how to ride cars(if you're able to drive from Largo Canyon School to the next highway, you're really some kind of a pro, because it's a very, very bumpy road!) and just at everything they(and especially Patricia) tried to give their best, if I needed help(for example at improving my English).

The time here was a very amazing and so valuable experience, and I can only recommend it so much to everyone!! I'd love to go there again, anytime.

BAD REVIEWS (just to be honest)

Personal conflict is sometimes a problem. People with emotional problems, moodiness, or fear of horses do not do well here. Over the years, I have learned that it is better to just ask someone to leave rather than try to change their behavior with aversive stimulus. These were from a time before I had that figured out.

Helper: xxxx
From: United States     Date: June 26, 2011
I had planned to stay here for a month and half but left after a week. I picked up a tense vibe as soon as I arrived but tried to cast it aside. A week later Patricia and I had a discussion about an issue where she twisted my words, used profanity and made me realize that this was only going to be a hostile environment.

It was very disappointing as the program Patricia runs is incredibly interesting, she is quite passionate and knowledgeable on horses and training. She has very high expectations for helpers to read and watch study materials (which I did enthusiastically.) It is a great opportunity to learn, maybe you will have better luck than I did.

Helper: xxxxx 
From: United States     Date: May 22, 2011

I stayed and worked with Pat and John for a little over 2 months during the winter and spring. If you are up for a lot of work, working at Mustang Camp is an amazing opportunity and you will really have a chance to improve your skills and knowledge of horses and horsemanship. The methods Pat uses are not only effective but beautiful, kind and gentle. You will also have a whole library of horse training materials at your fingertips (!!!!!!!).

Working with the horses took up most of the day (after feeding and mucking out the pens and paddocks/general chores). It is in general low key energy wise, but requires patience, sensitivity to the horses’ emotional signs and signals, and perseverance. The workday lasted as long as the sun was up, but if one wanted to do their own thing in the afternoon, or every once in a while spend a day in town or see the area, it usually worked out.

John is an absolutely wonderful cook, patient, understanding and full of great conversation with a generous heart.

I learned SO much from Pat about the horses, and she is very generous for taking on interns as students. Overall she is a good teacher and knows a tremendous amount, but do know that with her there is very little room for error.

Sometimes it seems as though Pat forgets we are human and make mistakes. I did not appreciate being put down verbally in a condescending way when I didn’t get something perfect right away or did not see/understand things the way she sees/understands them. This did not happen all the time, but it happened enough that I eventually chose to leave because of it.

Of course, we ARE only human, and the put downs and bad tempers from time to time are small in comparison to the opportunity to learn, and the overall kindness and generosity and love you will get from everyone here (horses especially!!!)

A small tip: Definitely bring clothing for all weather no matter what the season and I highly recommend rubber boots!