LINDA ALLEN, Clinician, Judge, Course Designer and Author - I have spent many years looking for another individual with the innate feel for horses – together with a true love of the animal... more

BERNIE TRAURIG, CA, USA - ...the incredible “horse whisperer,” Jose Alejos... more

JULIE WINKEL, Author, Clinician, Judge, Head Coach and Owner of Maplewood Stables in Reno, Nevada, USA - Jose is a true gift to horses. He has such insight into a horse's mind that he can break through the toughest boundaries... more

KC BRANSCOMB KELLEY, Branscomb Farm, Half Moon Bay, CA, USA - ...Jose is among the world's very best. more

MOLLY and DAVE STANLEY, Stanley Ranch, Yerington, Nevada, USA - ...Jose accomplishes in hours and days what would normally take months... more

DANIEL ZILLA, Farm Manager & Head Trainer at Branscomb Farm, Half Moon Bay, CA,
USA - Jose is the best one starting horses... more

GABY UFER, Trainer, Endurance Rider, Guatemala
...I had heard that he was "the one" who worked all over the world, fixing and starting young horses... more

About Jose

My name is Jose Alejos Vonesh. I was born and raised on my family’s coastal mountain ranch, El Jabalin, in Guatemala, and all my life I have lived with horses. I can remember at age 3 mounting my first horse, Princess, putting my little toes on her knee, grabbing her mane, and literally climbing aboard. I can remember gentling—nowadays called starting—my first colt, Cherokee, at age 10. The long days on the ranch were filled with hard work, sweat and sometimes tears, but always the raw sense of humor and humility that working with horses and good horsemen offers.

Growing up I was truly blessed to learn traditional horsemanship from my grandfather, who raised Arabians and Andalusians, and who had been taught by his father, Papa Beto. My own father raised quarter horses. In fact, my family can trace its tradition of horsemanship back to the very first Alejos in Guatemala: Jacinto Alejos, who was a Spanish Calvary horseman in the mid-1700s. And today it is my honor to continue passing down this gift through the generations. I am father to four children, Sylvia Andrea, Emilia Maria, Jose Miguel Jr. (Joe), and Jose Adrian (Duche). Together with my beautiful wife, Sylvia Eugenia, we live and work on our ancestors’ lands, continuing our family heritage of horsemanship and our abiding passion for the animal we have come to call the “magic creature.”

Thanks to all my ancestors, I can confidently say I have “horse” written in my genes! My relationship with the magic creature is real and yet deeply spiritual. After my equine education on my family’s ranch, I embraced a lifetime of equine experiences around the world that have enabled me to develop an extraordinarily sensitive feel and timing with the horse. This understanding has allowed me to develop more techniques to start young horses and solve training problems in older horses. Because I take pride in sharing my knowledge and skills with other trainers I have become known as a horseman’s horseman. No matter the equine discipline or the breed of horse, I want to teach others how to ride with feel and sensitivity, and to learn to read and better understand the horse.

My mother, who was of Irish and Spanish heritage, was also an important part of my education. Not only did she teach me manners and made me feel loved, she also taught me to appreciate other cultures and languages. Because of her open-mindedness, I am bilingual in Spanish and English and I enjoy dual citizenship in Guatemala and the U.S.A. This has enabled me to travel the world, assimilating into different cultures, starting young horses and sharing my gift of horsemanship along the way.

Among the many places where I have started horses is La Silla, Monterrey, Mexico, an international breeder and producer of show jumpers. In Guadalajara, I met Linda Allen, an international course designer and founder of the International Jumper Futurity, Young Jumper Championships, and the Benchmark Program in the U.S.A. With her encouragement, I have come to the U.S.A. during the last few years to start young horses at Branscomb Farm (California) and Maplewood Stables (Nevada). I have also had the good fortune to be introduced to Bernie Traurig (California), and together we forged a partnership to produce two demonstration videos for his website One video demonstrates solving a trailer loading problem; another documents my colt starting techniques using one of Julie Winkel’s youngsters. I have also started young horses for many smaller breeders across the U.S.A.

While my love and respect for horses may seem to be an all-consuming passion, other interests have also shaped my life, including professional bullriding (I am a Professional Bullriding Protection Athlete in the U.S.A. and Australia), making saddles and riding chaps, and writing essays and poetry. In everything I do, I hope my desire to connect deeply with the world—both earthly and spiritual—is always evident.

Jose, the horseman

Design by Petra Kempf & Maru Luarca