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About us

Camri Johnson has been training horses for over 16 years. She works with horses in Central Utah and virtually. She offers connection-based horse training, clinics, retreats, in-person lessons, and virtual lessons.

​Camri - Head Trainer

Hello, I am Camri Johnson and this is my story.


I grew up outside the horse industry. I was a city girl that was in love with horses, but only ever rode once a year and knew almost nothing about horses. As a senior in high school I decided to test the waters in the horse industry. I mucked stalls in exchange for riding lessons, as well as taking bareback riding lessons from my Uncle Lon. It took a lot of poop shoveling and falling off a horse a time or two, but it taught me to get my hands dirty and work hard.


I fell in love with horses even more and decided to enroll in the Equine Science program at Utah State University. I didn't quite fit in at first. Everyone else in the program had years of horse experience while I was just beginning. I had some students and even teachers who told me that I would fail - that I would never make it in the horse industry. I didn't listen, I just kept working. I learned everything I could.


I interned under a fantastic horse trainer, Eileen Smith, in Virginia who taught me so much about horse training. After I graduated college in 2011, I got a job as a barn manager at that same barn in Virginia. I was managing everything from medical care, feed schedules, interns, assisting with training, and more. I learned many valuable lessons when I worked there.


After my time there, I spent a summer working on Chincoteague Island with Misty III, the great granddaughter of Misty of Chincoteague. I started her under saddle on my own and took much pride in her. Kendy Allen was such a wonderful leader and teacher who taught me the importance of running an efficient barn with so much public view as tourists came through.


In 2012, I moved across the country to Wyoming for a short time and did a bit of weanling training in the bitter winters with 70 mph winds. Not long after that, I moved to a small town in Utah near Richfield where my dad grew up. My husband and I decided we loved the area and wanted to stick around, so we bought our first house. I decided that now was the right time to start my own training business, so I started J Family Equine in 2014 with one client. I still remember my first horse, Joe. He had packed salt but had been sent home from another trainer because he couldn't learn to move forward with a rider on his back. I had to think outside of the box and have a lot of patience, but I got Joe moving out nicely and he became a willing horse under saddle. From there, I got a few clients and enjoyed running my own horse training business.


It was at this time that I began the wonderful journey of motherhood. I had my son, Tripp, and he spent his first year of life at our local fairgrounds, being worn in a baby carrier while I mucked stalls. My husband and I would train horses while Tripp was sleeping in his pack-and-play nearby. At this point, we built an arena at our home, which made life so much easier. Tripp could nap in his own bed while I rode horses in the backyard, listening closely to the baby monitor. 18 months after Tripp was born, I gave birth to my daughter, Thea. I loved motherhood, but I also had such a passion for horses and training, that I knew I wanted to get the ball rolling again with my business. Little did I know that learning hypnobirthing with my daughter's birth would be a wonderful first look into much of the energy and connection work I would carry forward into my horsemanship later on. Despite being told I “couldn't be a breeder and a trainer,” I knew that motherhood and horsemanship weren't two things to choose between, they were two things that would complement each other.


When I heard about the Cokeville Colt Challenge in 2018, I thought it would be a great way to get some exposure and challenge myself to do something I'd never done. Through the Colt Challenge I learned so much about myself as a person, a trainer, and a businesswoman. I learned how hard I could push myself as a trainer, I learned how timelines were more for the human than the horse, and I learned how to use purpose to overcome the grief of my mother passing away just a couple of months before the competition started. Grief is different for everyone and it has an interesting way of teaching us. Through the healing energy of horses, the love of my family, and the support of close friends, I was able to not let part of me die with my mother, but let parts of her live on through me.


A few months later, I purchased a project horse that I will never forget. Her name was Kaweah. She was one of the best horses I ever trained, and will always be the one that got away. At less than 90 days in training she was going bridleless and was so connected to me that we could communicate better than I have with any other horse. I sold her to a wonderful woman who has given her a lovely home, and I'm grateful for what Kaweah taught me. She showed me how soft and trusting a horse really could be if I took the time to do it right.


Not long after selling Kaweah, I got my heart horse, Freya, a tiny little blue-eyed bay mare who wasn't the horse I would have chosen for myself, but was the one I needed. I originally had plans to sell her, but could never find a buyer. The universe had plans for the two of us as a partnership. Freya taught me to put my ego away and just to be. She taught me to play and was the first horse I ever did liberty work with. Freya helped me discover how to use heart energy, and is always the horse to keep me honest with myself. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and helps me stay in touch with my own.


I am now training horses as a connection-based trainer that focuses on the horse-human partnership, mindset work, and correct biomechanics. I have many devoted clients who trust me and my process, and who truly value the work I do with their horses. In my programs, not only do I train the horse to be a good partner, with a calm mind and quiet movement, but I also coach the human to be a good partner to their horse.


In 2022 I created the Connected Horsewoman's Retreat, where horsewomen spend a weekend in the mountains and connect more deeply to themselves, their horses, nature, and their tribe of women. Some of the professionals I have had at these retreats have been a reiki master, an energy worker, a fitness instructor, a hypnotherapist, a massage therapist, a chiropractor, and myself – a connection-based horse trainer. These experiences have created an environment of healing, connection, and new perspectives for those in attendance. It has been a joy to see some of the transformations that have occurred with these women.


Over the years, my methods and perspectives have changed. 14 years ago, I was climbing on a colt for the first time and hoping they didn't buck too hard. Now I am teaching horses and humans to manage their own physical responses, to be aware and in control of their nervous system, to use their energy with intention, and to connect with each other. Relaxation, focus, curiosity, confidence, communication, quality movement, and connection are among the many things I teach in my program. I help horses and humans work together with trust, confidence, and synergy, and I would love to invite new horses and riders into my programs. I do virtual lessons, clinics at my location or yours, in-person lessons, and full-time training.

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Camri and her horse, Freya


Camri and her horse, Hickory

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Camri and Freya


Camri working with a client's horse


Camri and Hickory

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Camri is currently enrolled in the

Sweet Spot of Healthy Biomechanics Course by Karen Rohlf

Larry - Farming operations and facility manager

Larry Johnson is Camri's husband and is an integral part of the behind the scenes work at J Family Equine. He grew up on a small horse ranch in Utah, spent years riding in his local 4-H group, and continued to ride throughout his adult years. In 2011 he received a Bachelor's degree from Utah State University in Wildlife Science. He is currently working as a Project Manager in southern Utah, and assists Camri with her training from time to time. He is also a team roper and travels that state of Utah roping on his amazing horse, Lola.


Larry's biggest contribution to J Family Equine has been to build the facilities and run the farming operation here where we grow our own high quality hay. He has built all of our shelters, pipe fences, and our tack shed. He also irrigates, plants, fertilizes, cuts, bales, and stacks all of our home-grown grass-alfalfa mix hay.


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