Announcing the Judges for 2019: Josh Lyons, Colton Woods, Ariana Sakaris and Richie Wingfield

Thank you to these gracious Trainers for stepping up to be part of an amazing, meaningful competition in Appalachia.

Trainers are able to apply through April 15th to be one of 20 men and women chosen to compete in the  3rd year of the Appalachian Trainer Face Off, sponsored by a grant from the ASPCA and support of Buckeye Feeds.

The 20 trainers chosen to compete will be judges in 2019 by:

Josh Lyons

“Josh Lyons grew up learning from “The World’s Most Trusted Horseman”, his father, John Lyons.

Having this foundation and continuing to grow the legacy, Josh has developed proven methods used world-wide.

When he is not working with clients and students, Josh competes in reining in the NRHA, and has accomplished several wins, becoming a 2- time Reining World Champion and being an Oklahoma Futurity Finalist in 2014.
Josh was also one of the first ever to be invited to compete in the 2002 In A Whisper Challenge Championship – winning the In A Whisper Challenge, which was the very first Colt Starting Challenge and led the way for the Colt Starting Challenges / Competitions as we know them today(Road To The Horse).
In front of an audience, be it 1 or 1000, Josh has a natural ability to convey information and get the best out of every horse and rider team he works with, resulting in Josh being the headline Clinician at every major horse expo in the USA, which has ultimately led Lyons Legacy to becoming the truly international brand it is today. Josh has conducted horse training clinics and demonstrations in every part of the USA and globally in Costa Rica, France, Grand Cayman, Australia and New Zealand to name a few.
In addition to all of this, and to demonstrate just how versatile a horseman Josh Lyons is, his equine career covers a multitude of disciplines, as well as having success in the world of Rodeo which includes championships in Saddle Bronc and Team Roping.”


Ariana Sakaris

“Ariana was born in Wisconsin yet has lived in numerous places across the world, including Greece, France, and many states within the U.S. Her journey with horses began at the young age of 5 years old. It was during this early exposure where her lifelong passion was born, which set her on a path to continually learn as much as possible. This pursuit of knowledge and experience has fueled her dedication to both horses and people.

She has committed many years to traveling both within the U.S. and overseas to be mentored by and train with respected and world renowned professionals in order to enhance her own tools and techniques. This helped her gain valuable insight into the love, patience and work that goes into bringing horses and people to a point of better understanding both on the ground and in the saddle.

She has performed with KYB Dressage and Double Dan Horsemanship at events such as the Denver Stock Show, Breyerfest, and U.S. Dressage Finals. With the help of Double Dan Horsemanship and KYB Dressage, Ariana has presented a new DVD on teaching the lay down using a very unique and safe method.

She has a commitment to always bettering herself as a horsewoman and a love of teaching and sharing her knowledge in a way that is both effective and fair to both horse and handler. Knowing that each horse and individual are unique, her intention is that the mentorship she offers you to improve performance from the ground up helps you continually develop a better partnership with your horse.

She’s offering special learning opportunities, foundation towards performance training, and problem solving to help you on your journey in horsemanship. To book clinics, workshops, lessons, engage in private training for you and your horse, or submit video footage for personal training advice, you can visit her at and contact her at”

Colton Woods

“I grew up in High Point, North Carolina and found my passion for the horse at age sixteen. Today I spend my time riding horses for the public in Paris, Kentucky as well as traveling around the country teaching clinics. My journey began with a desire to fill what I thought was a basic need, yet evolved into a love of working with horses. As I figured out a thing or two, I learned how much I loved not only educating horses but people as well. It is truly an honor to work with each one of you and your horses and I look forward to the day we get to ride together.

My journey began as a stable hand at a local Hunter Jumper equestrian facility. There I learned the basic of caring for horses and riding, then spent the next four summers traveling the East Coast and to Canada with Arabian/Half Arabian trainer, Rick Gault. From hauling trailers across the country to learning what it means to get to know a horse as an individual, my time with RGT prepared me with the knowledge and ability to take care of any horse just as if they too are a national champion.

During the regular academic year I spent many hours volunteering for Safe Haven Equine Rescue and Retirement. It was there that I found my passion not just for the horse, but the lifestyle of horsemanship. There was a need to help educate these horses so they could find their forever home and I set out on a mission to further my horsemanship to help them. Little did I realize this was the beginning to the journey I would dedicate my life to. Early on I did not know who to look to for guidance so I spent many hours learning from the horses in a round pen. Several months later I stumbled across a style of horsemanship that captivated and spoke to my soul.

It was a Vaquero and Buckaroo style horsemanship that caught my eye but went far beyond just horses. This horsemanship was brought to us by horseman Tom Dorrance, spread across this great country by Ray Hunt and introduced to me by Buck Brannaman. In pursuit of furthering my understanding, I was selected to spend several weeks with horseman Kip Fladland courtesy of the Legacy of Legends Scholarship program. The LoL program was founded by Buck and Carolyn Hunt to help young aspiring horsemen have the opportunity to spend time learning from those who have dedicated their lives to living out and teaching the principals Tom and Ray dedicated their lives to.

While riding horses for the pubic after class, I pursued my collegiate education at the University of Kentucky earning a B.S. in Equine Science and Management and a minor in Agricultural Economics. Following graduation I spent the next year and a half traveling the country assisting in the teaching of clinics and private lessons, education of horses in training as well as handling the business administration duties. Forever grateful for the horses that taught me so much and the friendships made along this part in the journey, it became time to return to the horsemanship I value so much and to learn from the best teacher of all: the horse.

Today I am humbled to have the opportunity to live out my life as a full time student of the horse and to share the journey with each of you. We look forward to one day having a home and ranch where we can welcome each one of you and share part of my dream to have enough land that one could not hit the fence line after a full day’s riding. ”


Richie Wingfield

“In 2004, having achieved his Certified and Accredited Trainer Qualifications, Richie Wingfield became a Lyons Legacy Elite Trainer. Richie is a forward thinking trainer, continually striving to be at the forefront of industry standards and the ever-changing needs of the horse riding
and training community.

This highly sought after trainer has established himself and his business through his dedication to meeting his client’s needs over a variety of disciplines. Richie conducts clinics across America, throughout the year, and works with gaited horses, paso finos, rocky mountain horses, reiners, performance horses, trail and obstacle horses and riders and extreme cowboy racing horses and riders.

Richie can often be found in the demonstration arena at expos, working along-side his mentor and good friend, Josh Lyons. Richie’s natural ability to relate to his audience and clients, putting all at ease no matter their level of horsemanship, riding and training, makes Richie a
crowd and client favorite.

His goal, at all levels is to see his clients and their horses reach their dreams and achieve the goals they have set, and then to encourage and inspire them to set new, exciting goals that they work towards, together. Richie has the ability to break his conditioned response training
down into individualizes steps, thus making him a truly versatile trainer for all levels and disciplines.

This dedicated family man is committed to his personal family as well as to the success of his family of clients. You can contact Richie on 270-791-2520 and follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.”


Author: T. Creamer

Director of Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, INC HomesteadHer, Photographer, Advocate for kindness, common sense and freedom

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