What We Can Do For You

So you are prob­a­bly ask­ing your­self, how are you dif­fer­ent than any oth­er train­er?  How is this going to change my life?

The dif­fer­ence, my hors­es are moti­vat­ed to make the right choic­es.

Horse train­ers, dog train­ers and even zoo train­ers are using this train­ing method to get results.  Their ani­mals are  bet­ter at com­pet­ing, stay­ing focused, enjoy­ing their work and learn­ing super fast.  Why?  All because they are moti­vat­ed.  How are they moti­vat­ed?  By rewards.

I want you to start notic­ing what you do every day.  Think about what you HAVE to do… laun­dry, work, clean­ing the house, errands.  Now think about what you want to do, what you real­ly enjoy… rid­ing, sun­shine, din­ner with friends, a good cup of cof­fee.  Which ones do you find your­self grav­i­tat­ing towards?  Which ones make you more ful­filled?

Our hors­es are no dif­fer­ent.  Plus they can learn that their life is reward­ing when they make good deci­sions.  Deci­sions that you want.

So pic­ture this, it’s a nice warm Sat­ur­day.  The sky is beau­ti­ful­ly blue with big white fluffy clouds.  You have the win­dows down as you dri­ve to the barn.  As you pull in your horse notices your car and comes to the gate, allows him­self to be caught, qui­et­ly walks in the barn and stands per­fect­ly in the cross ties.  You tack up, mount up and head off to the are­na.  You feel good, the horse feels good.  You work on some new tech­niques you learned in the last clin­ic and your horse fol­lows right along, a will­ing part­ner in the dance.  He’s hap­py to work.  He’s con­fi­dent.  And you?  You are kind, com­pas­sion­ate and trust­wor­thy.

Utopia?

More like two beings enjoy­ing their time togeth­er as a part­ner­ship where train­ing is built on trust, com­pas­sion and rewards.  Those tools.  The con­cepts.  That train­ing.  The rewards that will get you clos­er to Utopia?  That is Reflec­tions From The Sad­dle.

Philosophy

We need a teacher to show us how to see ourselves- not just with heightened objectivity but also with greater forgiveness. For that job, there is a master: a sage who can teach any willing student the way. That sage is the horse.” -Zen Mind, Zen Horse by Allan J. Hamilton

 

 

What I most desire, is for my horses to enjoy working with me.  For us to treat each other with mutual love and respect.  I want a spiritual path with my horses and not just use them for my gain.  I want to connect deeply with each and every one.  Rebecca Douglass

 

 

The Teachers/ My Horses

The Beginning

I’m not sure we can afford a horse” said Mom. “Please” I begged.

See, since I was very young I loved hors­es. Loved play­ing with my toy hors­es, loved horse pic­tures and loved the ani­mals on the farm. Of course it was the farm life that I grew up on that made me fall in love with hors­es to begin with. My sis­ter and I grew up on a small farm, 8 acres to be exact but it bor­dered Pat­ap­sco State Park so we always felt like we had a lot more. Our fam­i­ly was of lim­it­ed means. We weren’t poor, we always had some­thing to eat but most of that food was grown and raised right there on the farm. It was that farm life and my hard-work­ing par­ents that taught me what it means to have a work eth­ic. Nei­ther of my par­ents were col­lege edu­cat­ed but they came from the era that you work and make some­thing of your­self. That they did.

But when you are young you just don’t have the con­cept of mon­ey that helps you fore­tell the cost and labor involved with own­ing a horse. Much to my luck, I did in fact get a horse.  Well, even­tu­al­ly.

My mom went on “I just want to make sure you are real­ly seri­ous.  Hors­es are a lot of mon­ey and respon­si­bil­i­ty”.

So it was agreed, I would find a lease first just to make sure.  Our near­by neigh­bor and friend of my Mom had a pret­ty safe Appaloosa that she agreed to lease us. I was thrilled. Arrow and I did lessons, 4-H and small local shows togeth­er.  Mean­while my Mom real­ized how into hors­es I real­ly was. So at some point, she caved. Horse shop­ping began. The prob­lem was find­ing a horse suit­able for me that we could afford.  I clear­ly remem­ber always being the girl with the inex­pen­sive, untal­ent­ed horse.

So, while all my pro­fes­sion­al peers grew up rid­ing school mas­ters, par­tic­i­pat­ing in the USDF young rid­ers pro­gram and build­ing a sol­id resume on cen­ter­line scores, I was busy with part-time jobs, clean­ing stalls and par­tic­i­pat­ing in slave labor as a work­ing stu­dent.

Fast for­ward 30 years.  I real­ize what was my great­est weak­ness became my great­est strength. All those years of rid­ing hors­es of lim­it­ed tal­ent shaped me into the rid­er I am today. I worked hard. I stud­ied hard. I rode any­thing. And most impor­tant­ly I found a way to train those less tal­ent­ed hors­es. While I have not rid­den or trained 100 hors­es, I have learned immense­ly through the deep con­nec­tion I have had with each and every horse that I have owned.

My cur­rent string of hors­es I pur­chased at a very young age and trained them up through the lev­els.  I have my Sil­ver and Bronze Medal through USDF and have com­pet­ed through Grand Prix Dres­sage.  I’ve had the help of many great coach­es through­out my 30 years of rid­ing dres­sage along with help from won­der­ful clin­i­cians that reg­u­lar­ly vis­it the area.

Ten years ago, I start­ed using pos­i­tive rein­force­ment reg­u­lar­ly and it has made a huge dif­fer­ence in my train­ing.  I am still learn­ing and I strive to be the best train­er I can pos­si­bly be.  While reward based train­ing is my method, being a com­pas­sion­ate train­er is my goal.  

Besides the life long pur­suit of dres­sage, I also enjoy hack­ing out, work­ing at lib­er­ty, long lin­ing and just spend­ing time with my “ponies”.

I cur­rent­ly have 3 hors­es that I own and train:

  1. Spring Hol­low Rain­dancer, a 15 year old Mor­gan geld­ing now school­ing FEI includ­ing piaffe and pas­sage.
  2. JC Encan­ta­dor Rey, a 6 year old Andalu­sian show­ing 1st Lev­el and school­ing 2nd lev­el.
  3. Kodi­ak, the 2 year old, is just learn­ing how to be a sol­id cit­i­zen.

Recent Accomplishments

  • 2016 Com­pet­ed at Inter­me­di­are and Grand Prix (earn­ing half of my USDF Gold Medal)
  • 2016 USDF All Breeds IALHA Train­ing Lev­el 3rd Place
  • 2016 USDF Sil­ver Medal
  • 2015 MDA Schol­ar­ship Win­ner
  • 2015 AMHA Reserve Cham­pi­on 4th Lev­el
  • 2015 PVDA Reserve Cham­pi­on 4th Lev­el
  • 2014 AMHA Sil­ver Medal­lion Award
  • 2013 USDF Bronze Medal
  • 2013 Dover Award
  • 2013 AMHA 3rd Place Third Lev­el
  • 2007 USEF Horse of the Year, Morgan/Dressage/Training Lev­el
  • 2007 USEF Horse of the Year, Morgan/Dressage/First Lev­el
  • 2006 MDA Schol­ar­ship Win­ner
  • 2005 USEF Horse of the Year, Morgan/Dressage/Training Lev­el Region­al Cham­pi­on and Fourth Nation­al­ly
  • 2005 Mid A Dres­sage Cham­pi­on
  • 2004 Old Domin­ion Reserve Cham­pi­on Train­ing Lev­el

 

Rec­om­mend­ed Read­ing Next:

Teaching Horses To Love Learning

or

Why Reward Based Training Works

 

 

 

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