Like most little girls — I was horse crazy from an early age, riding any chance I got. Summer spent on my grandparents’ ranch in Colorado were heaven. All through my life any time I had the chance, I went horseback riding.
I wasn’t able to have my own horses until I was grown with children of my own. It was then I realized how little I actually knew about horses, other than to “kick them to go and pull on the reins to stop”. It’s a wonder I survived.
They say your “problem” horse teaches you the most. Boy did I get an education! My first horses were a big pushy half quarter horse/half thoroughbred gelding and a crazy 4-year old Arabian mare. Luckily I became friends with some horsewomen who pointed me towards the Parelli horsemanship program. I know it absolutely saved my life.
That was over 20 years ago and since then I’ve spent hundreds of hours having fun and challenging myself with many different horses. Besides all the clinics and training I’ve invested in, we’ve trail ridden all across the country, shown in big arenas, participated in playdays, worked cows, competed over obstacles, and much more. My husband and I even owned and operated an RV Park/Horse Campground in a trail riding mecca in Tennessee for several years. I had plenty of opportunity to help people in that setting.
While living in Arizona, I was hired as a horse trainer/handler for a therapeutic riding program. I worked their horses and trained their staff in horse handling during lessons for the autistic children they treated.
My clients have ranged from folks who need help with just one issue (like trailer loading), to those needing more overall help so they feel more confident with anything they want to do with their horses.
Though I’ve had different breeds, my husband and I have settled on gaited horses for our own herd. Since our main pastime for quite a while was trail riding, there’s nothing like the ground covering smooth ride they offer.
However, horsemanship is horsemanship — it doesn’t matter what kind of animal you have. Even donkeys, mules and the occasional “zorse” have been trained with these methods. It also doesn’t matter what discipline or sport you’re into. Every horse needs to have a great foundation in order to perform well.
I truly enjoy helping and teaching others what I’ve learned, especially since I have first-hand knowledge of the effectiveness of these skills. I believe you should never stop learning. No matter your level, you can always learn something new.
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