My love of horses started at the ripe age of four when my mom bought her first horse that I can remember, her name was Moki Bars. Since then, I have been infatuated with them. I absorbed everything horse related that I could get my hands on. By the time I was eight I started showing my mom’s horse in 4-H. At age 10 I trained that same horse for gymkhana events (games).
By the time Moki was 10 years old we had our first foal born, Sir Chance A Lot. (We had two other foals since, 1996, Moki Zan Dew, and 1998, Major Twist Moki.) I trained Chance for Western Pleasure and for games. We broke out Dew and sold her as a beginner’s horse for a neighbor. Major was broke out as a trail horse and is now enjoying retirement as a lesson horse and an EAGALA (Equine Assisted Guidance and Learning Association) horse.
When I lived with my parents, I rode horses daily. Once I moved out (2001) I took a small hiatus from riding on a regular basis. Fast forward about 12 years and Major was the only one left. It was at this time we bought a pony (JJ) for my kids in the spring of 2013.
In the fall of 2013, my family moved to River Falls so I could go to school for Equine Management at the University of Wisconsin River Falls (UWRF). During that first semester one of my assignments was to write a technical review of a peer reviewed article about horses. The article I chose was a clinical study on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. That article still sits with me today. It is because of this article I changed my major from Equine Management to Psychology and minored in Animal Science.
In the spring of 2014, I moved JJ out to River Falls for my kids. It was at that time I started to really teach my kids (mainly my daughter) how to ride. In fall of 2014 I was in the Advanced Horsemanship class at UWRF where we used the school horses to learn with. I taught all four horses at the barn I was boarding at how to do half pass, side pass, and leg yields. I also worked with some of my classmates outside of class to help them understand the mechanics of the half pass, side pass and leg yields. In 2015 I moved Major out River Falls as well. During this time, I taught a few people how to ride trained some horses, and did some groundwork with a few young horses as well. Through the course of my bachelor’s degree, I studied Equine health and nutrition, animal behavior, and pasture management to name a few. I graduated in the spring of 2017 with my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Animal Science.
In June of 2020 I quit my day job to pursue my passion of working with horses. I am now a certified Equine Specialist for EAGALA, trainer of Western Horsemanship, and owner of Horse Ways LLC.
Most people want that perfect relationship with their horse. The one where the horse seems to know exactly what their rider wants by the mere thought of it. Or when you are walking next to your horse and he is right next to you even though you do not have a lead rope, or anything attached to him. How does this happen? How do we get this relationship with our horses? This is done by listening to our horses and having that trusting relationship with them.
Take notice when they cannot do something that you ask them to do. Is it truly misbehavior, misunderstanding, or are they telling you they are in pain? Misbehavior is the horse’s way of talking if something is not right. It is up to us to help them through it. We are not the ones training them, they are training us to understand the ways of the horse better.