When looking for expert advice on equine training, Leonard and Leigh Berryhill are known both nationally and internationally for their expertise. With multiple AQHA and Palomino World Champions, there are no big egos here. But when it comes to their horses and the success of their clients, some of whom have been with them for over twenty years, they are consummate professionals. Along with their son, Thompson, they own and operate Berryhill Quarter Horses in Talala, Oklahoma, just north of Tulsa.
On their eighty acre spread just north of Tulsa, they have their dream farm complete with a new home, the twenty stall barn and 100’ x 200’ indoor arena. They are set up to do anything here. Leonard and Leigh are always on the lookout for exceptional horses for their riders, preferring three year-olds that have their two year-old show year under their belt.
“For the All-Around, we want a horse that is able to step into the ring and handle show pressure. We look for horses with natural self-carriage and ring presence. We want to see brightness in that horse, and the overall ability to consistently perform well. It’s just one of those things that God put in that horse and you know it when you see it. There’s no perfect horse, but we’ve come pretty close!”
Leonard’s training philosophy begins with finding the right niche for each horse. “We’re patient with our horses. If they show us that they don’t want to do something, we shift gears and find the right fit for that horse, physically and mentally.” When you take the time to do that, he will be happy in his job and that translates to success in the show pen. The horse will shine when it’s happy in its job. Leonard’s gift is that he takes the time to let that horse tell him where he will excel. It’s one of his best attributes, listening to the horse and then helping that horse bring out his natural talent.