Here are two pictures of my first session with "Onyx", the mustang I trained for the 2009 Extreme Mustang Challenge.
I was an approved trainer for the 2009 Midwest Mustang Challenge, an Extreme Mustang Makeover event. A certain number of trainers were approved across the country and given a wild mustang from the Nevada range. We were all given about 90 days to gentle our mustangs and get them going under saddle. It was a wonderful experience and I look forward to doing it again sometime in the future. My mustang and I were featured in an article in the March 2009 issue of Today's Horse magazine and also on the KOTA Territory News in Rapid City, South Dakota. On her 5th ride she carried a beginning rider solo in the arena. For me that was one of the most rewarding moments of the whole journey.
In 2011 I was again selected to be a trainer for the Extreme Mustang Makeover, this time for the Fort Collins, CO event. The horse I was given was a big, coming 4-year-old gelding who was sorrel with a flaxen mane and tail. I named him Calen. Due to the EHV-1 scare around the time of the event, and the fact that I had an adopter already at my barn, I didn't go to the event. Calen found a new home with a nice guy at my barn and I still see him everyday!
Training horses has long been a passion of mine. It started when I worked with my first horse. I was 14, he was a 5-year-old 3/4 Arabian that had been started and then put away for a year. I got him going again, tuned up his groundwork, and re-started him under saddle. That was just the beginning of what grew into a lifelong passion. Since then I've done training work with many horses. I've mainly worked with my own, but have helped friends with their horses as well, all in the interest of learning as much as I could about working with different horse personalities. I have developed a specialty of working with horses on their early education. I can take a horse from wild and unhandled through the basics, on up to where they can be ridden out on the trail.
I have never believed in "breaking" a horse, but instead I work with them to create a willing and respectful partner. I believe in establishing a relationship and a solid foundation on the ground, before ever putting a leg over a horse’s back. Safety is at the top of the list, for me and for the horse - as well as anyone else who may handle the horse in the future. I think that, especially with the state of today's horse market, good training is essential to helping a horse find and keep a good home.
I believe we never stop learning and I am working on learning more about "finishing" a horse - though I believe a horse is never really finished either!
Here are a some pictures of me working with my horses over the last several years: