In his previous life, people gave their trust to J.P. Dyal as their financial adviser, to plan their dreams of getting a home, a car, a stable future.
He climbed the corporate ladder, owned businesses, helped others launch theirs, but was married to a job that consumed his life at 80 hours each week.
Then, in 2008, the Great Recession cast him adrift with a divorce as well as the loss of his job.
Dyal, now 44, had to reinvent himself — but nothing in his past prepared him for the life he has come to embrace.
He found his salvation and a new passion because of his Ego.
That was the name of the mustang he owned. Originally, a friend adopted Ego, a 6-year-old mare, but she was not able to ride her even after hiring a trainer. Dyal began training her himself and after three months of hard work was able to ride her safely. It took a year before it was safe enough for other people to ride her.
“Riding Ego was therapeutic, and I rode her almost every day,” he said. “After a while training her became natural,” although he also consulted with experts and went to training clinics.
Before he knew it, Dyal was approached by other horse owners who found out about his newfound skills and sought his help.
His transition was not something he planned: “It kind of happened.”
For eight years now, as a colt starter, he has taken halter-broken horses and taught them so they can be ridden.
Mustangs, the classic symbol of the American West, have a special place in his heart:
“They saved me and I haven’t let them go since.”