What I offer, some background, my general philosophy, and how I can help you achieve your horse goals
Would you like a nice trail horse that’s safe and listens to you? Are you interested in riding and showing Dressage or Working Equitation? Do you want to know the fundamentals of liberty training to enhance the bond between you and your horse? Do you need help with ground work to improve your horses balance, movement, and obedience?
- Instruction for balanced & harmonious riding
- Dressage instruction – Intro through 3rd level
- Working Equitation (WE) and obstacle work
- Solid fundamentals for young horses
- Refresher training for older horses
- Coaching & support at shows
- Liberty training, in-hand work, correct lunging and ground work
“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom.”
~ Sharon Ralls Lemon
There are many equine disciplines out there and as many ways to train toward them…but I think we can all say, regardless of discipline, what makes a horse a pleasure to ride is one that is obedient, soft, supple and understands what we “ask”. This seems simple enough but I have seen many horses that don’t understand a rider’s aids, brace, fight, show fear, and move in terrible balance with many contractions…all from a lack of basic understanding, proper preparation, and the rider hindering their horse due to fear, tension, and incorrect rider position.
When I work with a horse or horse and rider pair, I break down what’s needed for both rider and horse, explaining why, then helping to develop the skills necessary for each of the team members so they can become a smoothy working pair. This can entail many different methods for each and sometimes it’s even necessary to work with the horse or rider separately such that the rider is put on a seasoned lesson horse and the horse spends time with me for consistent foundation work.
Horses, horses, horses oh my
My horse experience includes a wide range of disciplines and lots of riding under the tutelage of very talented horsemen and women. I strive for harmony, lightness and balance along with lots of fun in my horse interactions. I’ve spent countless hours with clinicians from all over the world, put in thousands of hours in detailed instruction, and have over 10 thousand hours of dedicated saddle time where I work to improve suppleness, flexibility, obedience, and understanding in mine and others’ horses as well as making the experience fun for both me and the horse.
I could list here all my years of horse experience, from working with wild horses to riding and training piaffe, and it would take pages as it’s hard to condense 50 years of knowing what a horse feels like under me and at least 30 years of figuring out how to make that horse understand what I ask, respond willingly, use correct muscles, strive towards lightness and self-carriage, maintain manners when out and about, and develop strength and mobility for high-end performance all while maintaining the joy of partnership. I have reached a point in my life where it’s not “riding” a horse, it’s about dancing with a horse. And I want to be a good dance partner.
What I’ll do instead is tell you the joy I get working with every horse that’s passed through my hands, the lessons each horse teaches me that helps to keep my heart humble, the bumps, bruises, and occasional broken bones I’ve gotten along the way that made me reflect on where I went wrong, and the deep happiness I feel when a horse finally understands what I ask because they want to understand.
I also invite you to come out and meet me and the many horses and riders I work with to see for yourself the magic that is taking place.
And lastly, I’ll leave you with pictures scattered throughout this website that I feel reflect the depth of my partnership with many horses doing many kinds of activities in many different environments.
But for those of you who would like some additional details about my equestrian background and the people, books, and experiences that helped shape it, click on the button below.
A bit more bio…
Many Horses, Many Years, Much Happiness
I’ve spent lots of hours and thousands of miles on trails ranging from groomed to extremely rugged. I’ve ridden 20 mile days over the span of several days and climbed 1000’s of feet into the mountains. I have always enjoyed making safe, nice trail mounts for myself and others. Later on, I became interested in Dressage, not only for the art of riding, but also the history of it’s development from the circus rings, haute ecole in Austria, to its use in the military. I dedicate myself to learning as much as I can and continue to this day to ride with top instructors and clinicians. Eventually I was introduced to classical French Dressage stemming from the likes of Baucher, Faverot, Beudant, L’Hotte, Nuno Oliveira, Philippe Karl and more. I was hooked on the beautiful art of balancing a horse in lightness with flexions, lateral work and lift of the shoulders while engaging the back and hind end for impulsion and mobility. I have shown up to 3rd level in USDF dressage and ridden the upper level movements.
I have been a certified BLM TIP trainer and have started a few wild mustangs and a few that were handled lightly. One of my mustangs I obtained through a mustang challenge auction. He had been a difficult horse and came to me with only a few skills such as leading, loading and being tied. After a little more than a year under saddle and 19 months out of the wild, he was borrowed by an Australian rider to compete in the Cross National WE competition in Eugene, OR. At Novice A level he placed 6th out of 36 entries and was an emergency substitute for another Australian rider whose horse threw a shoe right before her first WE phase. For her, he ended up placing Reserve Champion in the Intro division out of 39 entries.
Work at Liberty has always been intriguing to me so over the course of many years, and working with a sensitive and very large warmblood mare, I taught her a large repertoire of ‘at liberty’ tricks. I found that liberty work helps horses to connect with their people and provides a respite from the boredom of routine work. It also helps in cases with difficult and unfocused horses. I read many books on the subject, watched countless videos, spent long hours searching material online, and have done clinics with a third-generation circus trainer, Heidi Herriott, a five-star Parelli traner, David Lichman, and Francesca Carlson to learn the fundamentals of liberty training. I would like nothing more than to pass on my knowledge to others struggling with difficult horses or who are looking for some fun activities to do with their horses that don’t require riding.
A few years back I discovered Working Equitation (WE) which combines Dressage with precision obstacle work. I completed a certification in the the Pedro Torres Academy and have cliniced many times with various WE instructors from the US and Portugal. I participate in regular clinics, schooling shows, and recognized WE shows and have competed in 2 International WE shows. My mustang is ranked in the top nationally at level 5 and recognized internationally. I have earned my Bronze medal in WE and am halfway through earning my Silver medal.
“To understand the soul of a horse is the closest human beings can come to knowing perfection.”
~ Author Unknown