Western dressage is just square dancing for horses!

Dressage basics are often taught while using and English bridle and western saddle. Just because your in a western saddle doesn’t mean the maneuvers are any different. You’re just schooling. Relax and enjoy the ride! It’s fun to think about it as a square dance performance. There’s a series of well executed steps and maneuvers which are also memorized in a pattern or sequence. These basics such as two- tracking, shoulder in and shoulder out, stopping at a halt while all four feet are square, meaning in line with the parallel leg. This shows balance and control. If you watch a horse and rider going through their pattern it’s as if they are dancing! Riding the pattern feels as if you’re communicating completely by mental telepathy! The feeling of being in sync with a horse 10x your size is unmatched! All horses can benefit from dressage basics to help gain better body control and balance. It’s a workout for both horse and rider so be ready! “I could have missed the pain but I would have missed the dance”- Garth Brooks

Some of my transformations over the years

I obtain all my horses through word of mouth. I never shop for horses they find their way to me. I specialize in rehabilitation with diet and fitness plans to achieve the highest level of health in a short time. There’s also training transformations. I often get horses people give up on, deem dangerous or have severe PTSD or depression. We work through these issues, find the cause of the problem and work together towards achieving their happiness. Horses can’t fully recover physically if they aren’t 100% mentally These photos are a mixture client owned horses and personal horses. Once my personal projects are rehabbed I help them find their forever homes. All these horses are living happy lives now.

Build a relationship not a dictatorship

With horses, at a young age, they learn teamwork, the value of family and looking out for each other is vital to their survival. Every aspect and member of the herd plays a key role in the safety of the herd as a whole. Training should be no different. Learn to first communicate with them as if they are a new found friend from another country whom of which you don’t speak the same language. Learn to listen, learn to see, be open to their culture and over time you’ll come to adapt to their ways and someday won’t be foreign any longer. With horses this same approach leads to success! They study us more than we study them. We are distracted by bills and money and our to do list, yet horses are not. They are more focussed then we are. They already know what we are about before we ever touch them. Just because one person can achieve a certain outcome from an animal doesn’t mean everyone can. Let me put it this way, if you see a happy married couple enjoying a nice dinner you would be crazy to think you could interrupt and take his wife thinking she would treat you the same she does to her husband right? So why do we expect any differently from a horse after we purchase it? The horse has no idea it’s been sold. Money isn’t a factor in a horses world. All it sees is that his herd dynamic has changed so now he will study you to see where you stand in the pecking order as does he. You are back to square one. It’s now time for you to build your very own relationship with this horse as if you never saw it in harmony with the trainer or previous owner. This is the biggest issue I see in the horse world. “Patience, understanding and a sense of humor” go a long way. “All good things come to those who wait”. And it will just have faith!

Hard work pays off!

In 2016-2018 I was sponsored by Horse Guard. I had the privilege of having a plethora of specialized products to better care for my clients horses, personal horses and most importantly my rescues! We are thankful for the generosity of this locally owned and operated company out of Redmond OR. Without them I couldn’t have helped the many horses I did the the fullest of my abilities. If you haven’t checked them out I highly suggest it! Horses love the products and they work wonders! Thank you Horse Guard!

Horse Guard the winning ingredient!

Ground work is more than elementary!

Did you know you can fully train a horse without ever throwing a leg over?! It’s true! Just takes more time and patience than most people want to invest. I’ve done it a few times and once you do put a leg over its amazing how responsive and untainted the horse is! Did you know most of our “issues” with horses are rider error and made in the saddle?! Therefore if you learn to better understand the horse from the ground at all stages of training you become a better partner and teacher to your horse. Take the time to “see the Forrest for the trees” instead of rushing into the saddle too soon. Your horse will thank you!

Rooster the horse who was deemed a “lost cause”

You’ve heard of him here’s the real story.

I took on this horse after his owner felt defeated with his care. If I didn’t take him home she was putting him down. I took him home. People said I was taking on the impossible. I’m well aware of the journey we had that faced us. I took in a horse everyone said to put down. Mind you I have never ridden this horse or never known him before this. Something in me just couldn’t turn away. Rooster was skinny, not eating, non weight bearing on his bad leg and infection had spread to his hip causing it to atrophy. The first week I got him home the vet took X-rays and doctored him up but prognosis was bleak. She said theres no injury to the bone but if he did heal he wouldn’t be a riding horse “a pasture pet at most”. The next day he was weight bearing for the first time! This alone gave me hope and I decided not to put him down. I saw him fighting so I promised him I’d fight as long as he did. He wouldn’t eat hay or grain just green grass. He was too weak to stand long so most of our days were spend grazing and napping under the juniper trees. I stayed with him. After two weeks with me his appetite started coming back! He was eating grain finally! Once he was eating grain I knew he was going to survive. I fed him a complete feed grain so he was getting all the nutrients needed and day by day his strength was returning! After three weeks he was eating hay and grain normally. He was walking better and using his bad leg more and more. The more he used it the stronger it got. I battled the infection for three months. The infection was So bad it ate almost all of his muscle in his hip. I drew out the infection with Manuka honey and treated him daily with sulfa tabs until the infection was gone. Many have told me I’m a fool for trying to heal him but I see something in Rooster they don’t. I saw hope in his eyes. I saw the strongest will to live. I still see it to this day he’s a fighter and giving up is not in his cards. We are a team. Once he knew he was loved that’s all the power he needed. It was around the clock monitoring and daily doctoring keeping it clean and was healing! Beautiful pink skin is in the place of what was a horrific open wound. It was finally closing and regrowing hair! Miracles do happen. Angels do exist. He’s my inspiration and strength, and I’m his. After a year of non stop bullying and bashing I decided to take the next step in his care to give him to a close friend of mine. His life was no longer on the line and he was healthy and able to be cared for and live like a normal horse. He was not taken from me I gave him to my close friend. I saved him now it was just a matter of time until he was completely healed.

Updated July 2019:

Now after winning the battle to live and he’s been blessed with the second chance he deserves! Before I got him he was a kids ranch horse that took care of everyone who rode him. There’s no gentler horse than he. He never offered to kick me even changing his bandage or cleaning his would he is always Very respectful. At the young age of 11 this boy has been through a lot. Now our obstacle we face together are the horrible people who want him dead and they claim he’s “suffering” you wouldn’t believe that if you saw him running around in the pasture, happy to be strong again and have friends and living in a beautiful pasture with rolling hills nestled up to the forest. These people misrepresent old photos as current to gain attention and followers to continue to try to separate us. After all we’ve been through and fought side by side we refuse to be separated. They’ve called animal control on us and the officer noted there was nothing to report except a clean barn and happy animals. These bad people just won’t stop until they take him from me and kill him. We pray to God daily to give us strength to ride about the devil inside these people and let our loving light shine through. We have faith, he’s reminded us of our strength as long as we keep faith. God has saved my boy, he’s not going to let evil win. We are a team we will prevail. Rooster now lives a normal horse life and gives riding lessons to autistic girls. He brings joy to everyone who meets him. He’s my hero and I’m his.

Updated January 2020:

Even though he’s no longer with me I know I did my duty saving this boy when nobody else would now his life isn’t on the line and a rescue can finish what I started.

From wild to mild

I’ve had the pleasure of taking many wild horses from wild to mild. I was their first touch, I placed their first halter on their face, taught them about captivity all the way up to showing them how to be good citizens when riding. This is the most time consuming way of training but the most rewarding knowing they are the product of your knowledge, if you don’t have the tools and the know-how they can’t progress. I believe it takes a year this way to go from wild to mild and have a well rounded horse with an emphasis on NOT RUSHING them and matching their learning pace with your teaching pace. We’ve all seen or know those trainers that throw a saddle on within a month of obtaining a wild horse. Sure they got them riding but I prefer my foundation solid and not filled with holes like Swiss cheese. Riding isn’t about riding. It’s about communication and patience. Some days I strive to ride but the horse isn’t 100% there so, to avoid an issue we just do review on the ground. Horses have bad days and good days just like us but with short, successful training sessions you will achieve your solid foundation and a willing and steady partner you can trust because he, in turn trusts you. He knows you understand him. “Patience, understanding and a sense of humor go a long way” -Dave Tate (a close and beloved friend of mine said these words to me and I’ll forever remember them). Pictured is my horse Sebastian. He was wild, and heard headed but with patience, understanding and sense of humor we now have a bond and trust that is irreplaceable. It’s a great feeling well deserved by both parties.

To mild

Be wise, Desensitize !

All long lasting structures are built on solid foundations. You wouldn’t live in a house with no foundation so why ride a horse with limited ground work? You don’t have to! Ground work is fun and helps develop a stronger bond and understanding with its handler. Everything in the saddle should start on the ground! I personally do 80% of my schooling from the ground and 20% in the saddle. Saddle time for my horses, clients and myself are simply to check for understanding with the horse and review. I don’t start battles in the saddle I want saddle time to be the horses reward. Groundwork is where the “jesus meetings” happen. On the ground you’re your strongest self. On the ground there’s minimal chance of error and the horse doesn’t learn bad habits. Throw a leg over a horse too soon and you could be setting yourself back more than moving forward. I want my horses to look forward to saddle time. My horses are easy to catch and look forward to working and I like to keep it that way. A good partnership and solid foundation are built on successful training sessions sometimes only 20 minutes long but the horse realizes it doesn’t have to work hard to please you. “Work smarter not harder” applies to horse training as well! Go enjoy your horse and forget the stresses of the world. Let your horse be your paradise.

Working your horse in the winter

Some of us are lucky to have a lit barn on timers and double blanket our horses but most of us don’t have the luxury, nor the time so what do we do? We’ve got these woolly mammoth horses, ready for the next ice age. When you barely work them they are drenched, take forever to cool off and dry or they start to shiver on cold nights due to their workout. Is clipping the answer? Yes, but in moderation. I’ve found that clipping the chest and throat line up to the throat latch does the trick just fine. This way the horses skin can breathe but not cause a chill if the animal is just loafing outside with its turnout blanket on. In my experience I do not recommend clipping the horses belly. It’s the coldest part of the horse shielded from sun and not covered by a blanket. Many sport clips on horses include the belly. Yes it looks nicer by far but I noticed more horses with clipped bellies that were colder faster just standing in their paddocks. To each their own obviously but I personally don’t clip bellies until spring when I notice their flanks starting to sweat before they blow their winter coats. Also if you must hose your horse off in winter, please do so early in the afternoon so they have time to dry before the temperature drops. When hosing them off, do not wet their belly it’s the last to dry and if wet will cause a chill in the evening. Hose off mainly chest and neck then sweat scrape and cover the horse with a fleece cooler until mostly dry. If the horse appears cold, keep hay available for the horse. Eating helps increase body temp. Most importantly have fun, be safe and enjoy these beautiful animals they are a treasure.